Our Week at Camp

1 07 2016

Katie and I recently had the opportunity to spend a week as “adult guests” at one of Young Life’s camps. Crooked Creek Ranch is located in the mountains just west of Fraser, Colorado. It’s only two and a half hours from Colorado Springs – but it feels like a whole different world.

CCR

For anyone that doesn’t know anything about Young Life camps… they’re nice. Really nice.

Young Life camps are designed to give kids the best week of their life (it’s actually their slogan)… from their lodging… to the food… to the activities. Everything about Young Life camp is intentionally designed to help the kids have an amazing week.

Why? Just so they have a fun week that they’ll never forget?

Not exactly. It’s so there are no obstacles to the kids hearing the gospel. It’s so that kids — “the furthest out kids,” as they might say — can hear that they are loved… they are important… they matter… and that their life doesn’t have to continue as it always has before. (Many struggle with addictions, suicidal thoughts, abandonment issues, etc., etc., etc.).

As the camp speaker put it, kids are told that many of the “nametags” they wear are false names: ‘addict’, ‘unloved’, ‘worthless’, ‘empty’, ‘unwanted.’ They are encouraged to pin those false names on the cross – where they die, so that they might rise with a new name: ‘free’, ‘loved’, ‘valuable’, ‘full’, ‘wanted’… etc.

Most of these kids will never come back to camp. They’re not supposed to (unless it is to serve on the work crew – washing dishes, cleaning bathroom, and taking care of the grounds). Young Life camps are designed for kids to come only once – and then to go back home and join a ‘campaigners’ group (that’s YL lingo for ‘Bible study’). The whole camp experience is focused on outreach… discipleship happens once you get home (and beyond).

As adult guests, Katie and I (and several other great folks) had the opportunity to observe the whole week, with no real responsibilities. (We did have to be referees for a volleyball tournament… and judges for a synchronized swimming competition – but we were supposedly from a different country and didn’t speak English – that way the campers couldn’t argue with us. Also, they were told, “The judges may not always be right – but they’re never wrong!”).

So, what’s makes it such a great week (apart from hearing the gospel)?

Well…

This is where the camp is located. Not a terrible view…

CampView

There are ridiculous skits and storylines happening throughout the week (which mimic the gospel). And, of course, these include ridiculous characters and costumes…

Characters

And there was a rodeo…

Rodeo

And a pool party…

Pool Party

And lots of crazy rides…

Swing1Swing2Swing3Swing4

(Yes, that’s me on the left… and then the right on the last picture).

And there’s the camp hike up the mountain…

Hike Break

…with a pretty good view…

Hike View

…and somehow, they even managed to have the brightest rainbow I have ever seen (the pictures don’t even begin to do it justice)…

Rainbow1  Rainbow Full

It was an amazing week. Katie and I had a great time, and it was amazing to see the way so many kids were changed over the week.

And this happens all over the world.

During the week we were at camp I was also following some DGL students’ and DGL grads’ pictures from their camps. Different locations, different landscapes, and different people – but same story, same God, and same resurrection being experienced… in Colorado… in Ukraine… in the Democratic Republic of the Congo…

As always, if you’d like to support me in my role with the DGL, you can do so here:

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