A Summer of Relationships and Camps

Did you go to summer camps when you were a kid? I went to plenty. Summer camps seem like a staple of a child’s life. But sadly, summer camp is out of reach for many kids.

When your parent works part-time for minimum wage, even a relatively low $25-per-week registration fee can be too much. And this is even more true for sleep-away camps (about $50-75 per night), football camp ($300 for 4 days), and science camps ($600-800 for a week).

But kids need the experiences of camp. They need to play. They need to be with friends, and to make new ones. They need to see a world outside of the streets that they usually walk on. They need to learn how to handle being in new places, around new people, and exposed to new ideas. It is good to be uncomfortable, because those are the experiences that stretch your minds.

Before the summer started, a family had the idea to raise money to help kids from Allendale go to camp. (If you missed it, you can read about it in Crafting for the Cause of Camp.) And because of their initiative, other individuals, families, and organizations joined in.

All in all, over $2000 was donated for the sake of children in Allendale.

The Numbers

Yes, I’m a numbers guy, so we’ll start with that. Here is how your donations went to work:

  • 2 children went to an art camp in Allendale.
  • 6 teenage boys attended Furman’s football camp. And it was about more than just football, as we arranged for them to have a tour of campus.
  • 5 children attended the Elementary Camp by Grace Church.
  • 5 kids from Allendale went to a week-long sleep-away 4H camp in Aiken.

Beyond the Numbers

If we just gave 18 kids an enriching experience (especially for the 16 out-of-town) for a few days, that would be good. I feel like their lives would have been shaped in a positive way.

But the events were never just about the events. What made them especially meaningful was that they all involved building and deepening relationships.

When one boy from Allendale arrived at Grace Church to check-in for camp, he saw his leaders that had come down from Greenville for Elevate Camp. He ran up to that dad and gave him a big hug.

After that first afternoon and evening of camp, and after he made new friends, another boy said, “This is the best night of my life!” I knew he said this because one of our financial supporters was a leader at camp, and was in the same cabin.

And you may have already read about the Lessons from Football Camp. But did you know that these football players from Allendale want to go back to Greenville and see their host families again? Or that the hosts from Greenville are planning to come down for a football game?

This shows that while events (like camps) are important, they must never be the goal. The goal is to build and strengthen relationships. The events serve as springboards to build relationships, or as celebrations of the relationships that already exist.

For those who have been a part of these springboards and celebrations, know that your labor and your gifts have not been in vain.

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