Summer Camps Were Back In Business

Students from Quail Springs Baptist Church being baptized at Falls Creek Conference Center. Source: Baptist Press

Student ministers like Dylan Bone of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City were excited to return to in-person summer camp this year. After a year of virtual camp activities and Zoom meetings, the return to a modified in-person format seemed like a return to normalcy.

He said, “While you’re thankful for those tools like Zoom, there’s something special about seeing each other face-to-face in the same room.”

When Falls Creek Conference Center – the camp Dylan worked at – canceled its camps due to the pandemic in 2020, churches like Quail Springs were forced to find alternatives. Quail Spring decided to have a weeklong conference, with students going home each night.

“They thanked us for having it, even if it wasn’t what they were used to at Falls Creek,” Bone said. “It was just good for them to get out of the house and be with their friends. Learning about Christ in a personal setting made a huge difference.”

Shane Pruitt, the national Next Gen director for the North American Mission Board, said the return to traditional summer camps this year has been greeted with “expectancy.” 

He remarked, “I kept seeing that again and again, not just from students but leaders. They’re all excited to be together again and while some churches held their own camps and gatherings last summer, it’s different this year. Camps came back and there’s an excitement I haven’t seen before.”

Most summer camps follow a traditional rhythm consisting of introductions the first night, settling into a routine of worship, breakout sessions, and day activities with capstone closing worship service, Pruitt called a “meet the Lord” event.

“At every single camp I spoke, students were at the altar on the first night,” he said. “There have been massive responses to God’s call not only for salvation, but to pursue a calling in His service and for baptism.”

Averaging about 4,000 campers per week this summer, Dylan and Falls Creek Summer Camp were back in action igniting life-long passions for Christ that will be nurtured by local congregations after the week of activities ends.

Reflecting on his experiences as the summer concluded, Dylan said, “It’s different when you’re together. You can feel it and see it. Something clicks.”

Source: Baptist Press