Many camps are perfect for sissies.  The experience they offer is shallow, hollow, bland, and comfortable.  At the end of each session, campers leave with little more than a nice memory.  Such a waste of time.

As most of you know, I have been the Executive Director of Ministries for Pine Cove for quite some time now.  As I announced months ago, I am in the last few months of my time here…as a staffer.

This summer begins a new place for me.  I will – for the first time ever – be a parent of a camper.  As I laughingly told our board of directors in my last meeting with them, “I’ve been working for 15 years to get everything in place to make my son’s first experience at camp an awesome one.”

Bottom line:  I want my son to have the best week of his entire year while at camp.  

If this is going to happen, the experience can’t be too easy.


Kids need to be challenged, not coddled.  Deep down, they are craving for someone to expect more out of them, but also to show them how to get there.  They need to feel the pangs of insecurity as they meet other kids, and the thrill of confidence when they realize they have “what it takes.”

So parents, can I give you a little “insider” tip?  Here it is…

Let them.

Let your kids put down their video games and spend some time in the woods this summer.  Let them feel a little uncomfortable as they meet their counselor for the first time.  Let them find out how good they are at shooting a BB gun, or riding a horse.  Most of all, let them consider who God is and who they are.

Believe me, I’ll be that parent this summer staring through the pool gate as my son does his swim check on the first day of camp.  I’ll be checking out the staff to see how sharp they look.  I’ll look for trash on the property, to see if the staff are on top of the small things.  Most of all, I’ll be shaking the hand of my son’s counselor, staring him square in the eyes and reminding him how much my son means to me.

But at the end of the day, my son will be at camp.

Are you concerned that the dynamics of camp are too much for your child?  You ought to check out this article by Michael Ungar, Ph.D.  In it, he gives some great reasons why camp makes kids more resilient.  I agree with most of what he says.

If you are looking to send your child to a summer camp this summer, I’d encourage you to look for one that is Christ-centered, and safely dangerous.  You’d be amazed at what God does in the hearts of people during a short stint at summer camp.

To celebrate the ending of my time at Pine Cove, I will be giving away one free week of camp on this blog every week during the month of May.  That is a $900 prize!  In order to enter your child into this random drawing, you need to:

As part of this original post, I gave away a free week of camp at Pine Cove.  Dede Ramirez was picked randomly from the people who commented below.  Once she finished jumping up and down, she let her son know he would be a camper this summer.  Keep watching as I give away spots to camp periodically.

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