Mobile church camp coming to Cedar Lakes
When most children attend church camp, they usually go away for several days to a fairly remote area. They learn Bible lessons, play games and complete crafts and spend time in nature.
One popular location in this area is Spring Heights Camp and Retreat Center. The Roane County facility has been the choice for many churches in the area for several years.
In 2017, the administrators and staff at Spring Heights were inspired to go mobile, to take the church camp experience to children rather than have them come to the Barrcut Run location.
“The flood that devastated Clendenin made us realize how much hurt and fear children were facing,” Amy Mullins, camp manager, said. “We knew they couldn’t come to us, so we decided to take ourselves on the road.”
DaySpring Mobile Camp brings all the elements a child might expect into local communities.
For Jackson County, DaySpring will be Aug. 9-12 at Cedar Lakes Conference Center. Open to children ages 5-12, the four-day camp will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. each day.
While Spring Heights DaySpring Mobile Camp is an outreach ministry of the United Methodist Church, Mullins said any child from any denomination is welcome to take part.
“Our curriculum is solely based on the Bible,” she said. “We are not teaching Methodist doctrine in any way. We just want kids to come and learn about the love of God, have fun and meet new friends.”
The cost of the camp for each child attending is being covered by four sponsoring Methodist churches in Jackson County including Epworth, First United in Ravenswood, Pleasant View and Sandyville. Each of these churches will provide breakfast, lunch and snacks for the campers, along with volunteers and pastors to lead the morning devotional. There will be a minimum of one chaperone per 10 children.
Paula Casto, a member of Epworth United Methodist, is helping to coordinate the event.
“After the pandemic, it has been difficult for families to come back to church,” she said. “This camp is a wonderful opportunity for parents and grandparents to bring children to a safe, outdoor event. We just want them to learn about the love of Jesus and being able to offer it free to every child is a true blessing.”
A typical day at the camp will include breakfast, games, morning devotion, activities, free time, lunch, Bible study, crafts and snacks.
“We have so many fun games for both the kids and the adult volunteers,” said Mullins. “There is something called a GaGa Pit that is hard to explain but kids love it. Adults do too. We will have archery and digglers which are mountain scooters. All of this is fun, but we really want those who come to either develop a relationship with God or become even closer to Him.”
One activity happens very quickly on the first day. Campers will learn the art of leather punching as they make their leather name tag.
The importance of camps such as DaySpring is vital, said Mullins.
“We really want to see our youth coming back to church,” she said. “Camp gives them a voice in a very comfortable environment. With their peers, they can share their feelings and grow in faith.”
Seeing churches working together is another benefit.
“Churches should have one goal in common which is leading people to the Lord,” said Mullins. “Working together we can reach far more people.”
To register for camp, visit www.springheights.org. For information, contact Casto at 304-532-1767.