Two of our middle school students, Evelyn and Bryan, share their summer camp experiences.
Crazy songs by the campfire. Team tug-of-war. Lots and lots of laughter and games. Summer camp is the highlight of the year for many kids. But for our Kids Create students, summer camp is the experience of a lifetime. They look forward to it all year long.
They usually come home a little sunburned and a whole lot exhausted, but our students also come home with hearts full of Jesus. They have bonded with friends and leaders through new experiences that have opened their hearts to God in new ways.
oday we want to share Evelyn’s and Bryan’s summer camp stories with you. This year they went to Oakbridge Young Life camp in Ramona, California, with eight other middle school students and the leaders. The Ciudad Nueva crew was joined by a couple of other Young Life groups from El Paso that caravanned together.
Evelyn is 14 and is going into ninth grade this fall. She has been involved in Kids Create and Launch Pad since she was in fifth grade. This year was her third time going to summer camp. Last year she went to Oakbridge, and the year before she went to Fort Lone Tree in New Mexico.
She really enjoyed learning about Jesus at camp before, so she was looking forward to that experience again this year.
“I was excited about getting closer to the leaders and to God,” Evelyn says. “I got really close to Jessica [one of our Kids Create volunteers]. I like to play games and talk to her.”
And this year’s summer camp did not disappoint! Of all the activities, she enjoyed the camp games and the water games the most.
“I also really liked club, which is singing songs and playing games,” she says. “A woman would get up and talk about Jesus and how He loves us and everything. Really, I learned how He loves us and He knew who we were before we were born. And how He sacrificed for our sins.”
Evelyn also enjoyed getting closer to her friends from Ciudad Nueva and the kids from the other schools that joined them. She loved learning more about God and how to talk to Him.
When asked about her most memorable experience, this is what Evelyn shared: “There was this night that they gave us a piece of paper, and we had to write down how we felt about God. That made me feel closer to God. We kept the piece of paper so that we would be reminded of how He loves us when we got home.”
Evelyn can’t wait for camp again next year!
Bryan is one of the newer students at Kids Create. He is also 14 and going into ninth grade.
He had only been involved for about seven months before going to camp. He heard about the program from his brother, who knew about some of the activities going on at Ciudad Nueva. However, he did not really have any faith or belief in God before coming.
He had also never been to summer camp before, so he was very excited about joining the group this year. He said he had heard about summer camp and thought it sounded cool, that it might be a distraction from normal life.
But when he first got to camp, he says, he didn’t really take it seriously. He kind of goofed off for the first two days.
“Then the songs really got to me, and the talks,” Bryan says. “When we had cabin time, the leaders were asking us questions and talking to us about Jesus. We actually memorized a verse and had 10 minutes to ourselves to talk to Jesus.”
That was the turning point for Bryan. He learned that God is not only his father, but also his best friend who will be there for him all the time.
“He is someone I can talk to when no one else is there,” Bryan says. “Since I came home, I have continued to do the 10 minutes of talking to Jesus at home.”
Of course, he had a lot of fun too!
“Everybody being together and doing fun activities was really cool,” he says. “Skateboarding was my favorite activity, but being with friends and meeting new people was also fun. We also did a lot of activities that taught us about teamwork.”
Camp made a big impact on Bryan’s life, and he is looking forward to being involved in Young Life throughout this school year to learn more about Jesus.
And he is definitely planning to go to summer camp again next year!