Christian Summer Camps: A Wide Range to Choose From

Christian summer camps are one of the most popular and common types of camps in the United States, but many don’t realize the wide variety of Christian summer camps that are available to young people.  Knowing the different kinds of Christian summer camps is a great place to start as you work to find the very best option for your kids.
1. Traditional Christian Summer Camps
With camps, “traditional” can mean that the camp and its recreational offerings are what most consider a typical summer camp experience.  Water recreation, sports, eating camp food, crafts, archery, horseback riding and other activities are the focus of each day, but this traditional camp is offered by staff who are Christians and leadership and staff hope to model and pass on Christian values in everything they do.
Another meaning of a traditional camp is that the camping experience uses a Bible Camp model.  Bible Camps emphasize Bible teachings, helping young people know God’s word, memorizing scripture, and practicing spiritual discipleship.  There are still times for recreation, but a religious emphasis is greater in these camps.  Times of small group Bible study or discussion and individual quiet times are also common activities with Bible Camps.
2. Church Camp Christian Summer Camps
Many people will talk about all the memories they have from going to “Church Camp” while they were growing up.  Church Camp usually means that kids will attend Christian summer camps with their own church youth group, and many times the whole camp is comprised of youth from one church or from one church denomination.  One of the unique advantages to these kinds of Christian summer camps is that kids can attend camp with friends from their own home town and home church.  Getting away for a week like this allows these friendships to grow and deepen, and the neat part is that these friendships don’t end after camp.
Another advantage of Church Camps is that youth group leaders, church leadership, and possibly parents come along to staff the camp, so the camping experience can be more tailored than other Christian summer camps.
3. Specialized Christian Summer Camps
Specialized camps can have some great and unique strengths.  Camps that are designed to serve disabled youth will have great accommodations, specially trained staff, and programs designed to meet the needs of these kids.  Other camps also welcome disabled youth, but they may not be equipped as well as specialized camps. 
There are specialized camps that focus on drama, or the arts, or sports, or horses, or outdoor adventure opportunities, and these specialized Christian summer camps are located all over the country.  Your kids could experience anything from the mountains of Colorado or Montana, to the deserts of Utah, to an amazing camp by the sea, depending on their needs, what they love to do, how adventurous they are, and how far from home they are comfortable being.  You should also make sure you know what the total costs for specialized camps are, including fees for elective activities.

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About Mark

Mark Dubler has been a leader, host, and participant in camps and retreats for the last twenty years. He holds an M.A. in Educational Ministries from Wheaton College and is the Executive Director of Otyokwah Camp and Retreat Center, a Christian facility with a rich history of providing personal, life-changing experiences.

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