Everything else comes secondary. Camp is an exciting experience for all that attend, but the adrenaline rush isn’t why we set out each summer.
Our church camps in Missouri are not just for the children in attendance, however. At each of our day camps and Christian sleepaway camps, we teach our church partners how to create opportunities and how best to develop their leaders. We put the tools in others’ hands to continue this good work in camping and beyond.
The Missouri Annual Conference requires that any adult who will be working with children and youth to be Safe Sanctuary Certified. The provision of Safe Sanctuary Certification applies to all staff and volunteers, clergy or lay, who have direct or indirect contact with children or youth in conference and/or district sponsored events.
Certification is valid for 4 years from the date of your training.
Training is provided to counselors and camp directors in a variety of programs. For Christian sleepaway camps, directors are given the curriculum and trained on policies of the conference. They are then directly responsible for the training and supervision of their counselors. Ignite Day Camp counselors are trained by Eagle Lake or Heartland staff with supervision from Conference Employees.
For 60 years, the Missouri Conference has fostered a rich legacy of camping ministry. Throughout our history we have operated church camps in Missouri through several residential properties spread across the great state. While the camping program has changed in many ways over time, the heart of the Missouri Conference has always been to create opportunities for children, youth, and young adults to encounter God.
Most recently, the camping ministry has embarked on mobile camping adventures, a cutting-edge style of traveling camp programs. Our wide range of camping opportunities now include: IGNITE, INFUSE, IMPACT and INTREPID.
The number one question we received at camp was “What about this Bible?” We gave away over 20 Bibles at camp. We had on little girl who came, and her friend’s mom came and talked to me. She said that her daughter was embarrassed because she had to borrow her grandmother’s bible for camp, and it was awful because it had all these old words in it. Not only did we give her a Bible, but we gave her little brother a Bible as well. And I just loved it because they had been coming to Upward Basketball but had never come to church. It wasn’t until after camp that they felt confident in doing that.
(A particular child that attended camp) probably has emotional defiant behavior issues. Because of that he gets picked on a lot and is bullied a lot. So, that week he was getting bullied a lot and was causing behavioral issues for their group. Daily, I would have to talk to him and talk to the counselors to try to figure out what to do. But one afternoon near the end of the day, something had happened. I and a counselor sat down and talked with the child about this tree in our playground. We talked to him and we talked about God. I can’t even remember what was said, but since then he has come back every Sunday. And nights (Saturdays) when his mom works, he asks to come spend the night with us. His mom told us that “he had never experienced God like that.” He still always wants to go back to that one tree.