Campers catch a fire
Campers are catching a fire for God at South Mountain Christian Camp this summer.
"That's what makes us different from other camps. It's not just doing activities with the kids, it's doing ministry," said Steve Collins, executive director of SMCC.
The theme for summer camp this year is Catch a Fire: Hunger for God, based on the hit book and movie series "The Hunger Games." The camp aims to help campers respond in faith to the call of God on their lives.
"The movies and books are so popular with the kids and it really lends itself to spiritual application and fits in perfectly with the camp setting," Collins said. "The whole idea is to take things from the Bible and make it relevant for the kids."
Camp began at the end of June and continues until the first week of August. Campers ages 7-15 spend a week at the camp and enjoy many activities along with chapel services every night.
"My favorite part of camp is the chapel services. We use skits, video clips and stories to keep kids engaged in it. A lot of kids look forward to it and I love teaching kids the Bible," Collins said. "Kids think about God as hard to understand because they can't see him. We want to convey the truths of the Bible in a way kids can relate to."
Cost for the camp is $165 per camper for the week. Collins said that the camp has been at capacity, which is 100 campers, every week so far this summer.
"We have a scholarship program, so any family that needs help paying for summer camp, we can provide assistance. We have individuals and business that sponsor kids," Collins said. "We've never turned a child away and we won't. We continue to let the kids come and trust that God will provide the funds."
This summer camp has been a little different because of the rainy weather. Collins said that the campers have had to do more indoor activities than usual.
"We couldn't do the high ropes course or go to the petting farm that our neighbors have. But those are the only two things we couldn't do," Collins said. "We have enough indoor facilities that we can keep things running pretty smoothly."
Activities at the camp include basketball, volleyball, softball, foosball, an indoor climbing wall, fishing, canoeing and the 18-hole disc golf course. Dale Sollars, who designed the course, also conducts a disc golf seminar with campers on Thursdays. He works with them on how to putt and drive and then plays four holes with them.
"Hopefully once they do it, they will want to keep going. Some of them do really good and some of them start out not so well and by the end are heaving it," Sollars said. "We want to get them introduced to this sport."
Collins said that one of the best parts of camp is seeing the campers build relationships with each other. Many of the campers continue to return year after year. Spencer Watts, 12, is spending his fourth year at the summer camp.
"I've learned a lot about Jesus and God. I learned if you give your life to God, he'll use you in ways you never thought he would," Watts said.
Others, like Stephen Moss, come back to work as cabin counselors. Moss, 17, has been coming to the camp since he was 6.
"I like spending time with the kids and enjoy teaching them to follow God in everything they do," Moss said. "They have a lot of fun and learn about God doing it."
Collins said he still has former campers contact him and say that being at SMCC was always the highlight of their summer.
"Some come at the beginning of the week and are grumpy about it and then they are crying about having to leave at the end. They build relationships with the kids in their cabin and that's what camp is all about, getting kids out of their normal routine and doing something different," Collins said. "It's a growing experience for a lot of kids. People email me all the time and say it was some of the best times of their childhood."
For more information about SMCC summer camp visit www.southmountainchristiancamp.org or call 828-245-3322. There is still space for campers during the July 21-16 session and the July 28- Aug. 2 session.