Another summer of camp has come to an end. Programs have concluded and campers have all gone home. Even our summer staff have said "good-bye for now." All three camps are still and quiet, yet the energy from a Spirit-filled summer still buzzes.
I wanted to tell you about something special Crossways has been a part of this year, called The Effective Camp Research Project. Under the umbrella of Vibrant Faith Ministries, The Effective Camp Research Project is seeking to understand the how the week-long Christian summer camp experience affects young people and their faith development.
I mean, we know camp has an impact. We KNOW this, like feel-it-in-our-gut know this. The neat thing about this project is that they are taking what we know to be true from our own experience and gathering data - evidence! - to teach us even more. Research began in the summer of 2015 and led researchers to the following observation/jumping-off point...
"The Christian summer camp experience directly impacted the participants in empirically recognizable ways, and these impacts extended to their supporting networks."
The ECRP also identified five fundamental characteristics of camp:
Reading those characteristics, I personally feel they nailed it. I have valued camp for all of those reasons. Maybe you can identify and recognize the impact and importance of those characteristics as you recall your own experiences of camp.
Summer 2016's research was all about testing the impact and longevity of these characteristics and camp's overall effectiveness. This is where Crossways' comes in - we were one of the camps invited to participate in this summer's research! We are very excited to read The ECRP research team's findings when they are released. We'll post an update when it becomes available.
In the mean time, we here at Crossways are feeling grateful for being able to have experienced another summer of ministry with children, youth, families, and adults from all over the nation. Yes, nation! We had campers come from as far away as Arizona, and staff from as far away as England, Ireland, and Jamaica. We spent the summer learning about what it means to live our lives as imitators of Christ, in the image of God. As we await The ECRP results we rest assured that the Spirit was moving and working in the lives of everyone who was present at camp this summer. To all our campers, staff, and volunteers, THANK YOU. And check back to see updates about this important research project!
To learn more, click here: The Effective Camp Research Project.