Summer, Summer, Summertime!
School’s out, the temperature outside is rising, and our staff is busy at work to make sure this summer is full of opportunities for our students to hear the Gospel and continue to grow, learn and explore!
Earlier this month we spent five days at Stoney Creek Ranch in New Ulm, Texas, participating in their Summer Urban Initiative Camp! Early Saturday morning we said goodbye to our loved ones, boarded two charter buses, and began our trek to camp. This year we had six adult chaperones attending. We love taking our kids off property and exposing them to new places, new people, and new ways of thinking. Thanks to our many supporters, we were blessed to be able to take 62 students ranging from ages 9-17 out of the inner city of Dallas and give them opportunities to have fun, learn more about God and make new friends!
In camp lingo it was, “super, super, mad, mad, crazy, crazy hype!”
Our students were able to participate in a few activities that just aren’t possible in the middle of a city! We participated in fun activities such as archery, zip lining from 50-foot towers, completing rope courses 40 feet in the air, fishing, rock climbing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Cierra Cotton our Community Director said “It was a joy as a leader to see so many of our students conquer their fears and be encouraged and celebrated by their peers in the process. It was also pretty amazing to witness our students break out of their shells and learn new skills.” Camp allows our students to fully embrace what it means to be a kid!
In addition to participating in a fun activities, they also spent time in prayer, worship and discussion groups surrounding the Gospel and Bible studies. A few of our students even said that learning more about God was their favorite part of camp! On the third night all of the campers, staff, counselors, and chaperones gathered together for CrossTalk, which is a time when the Gospel is portrayed through the performing arts as a visual reenactment of what Jesus went through at the cross for us. This year the staff and counselors used the story of the woman at the well in John 4, shared personal testimonies, and ministered through a beautiful praise dance. The Lord’s presence was definitely in that place! At the end of it, a Gospel invitation went forth and about three-quarters of our students decided to either follow Christ for the first time or rededicate their lives back to God. Hallelujah!
Camp ended on Wednesday morning with an awards ceremony where our kids won in six categories! One of our young men, Amarion, won the Servant Leader award, which is the highest award that a camper can win at camp! We are so proud of our students and their growth!
Saying goodbye to our new camp friends was hard, but we will carry the memories in our hearts forever. On the way home we stopped at Buc-ees’s for lunch and had a life lesson in what it means to spend money on a budget! This proved to be harder for some than others.
When we asked what they learned by being at camp we got a variety of answers from the concept of repentance, learning how to forgive others, how to be fearless, how to make new friends, and what it means to follow Christ. Some of their favorite moments were zip lining for the first time, giving their lives to Christ, Bible study in their cabins, falling into the lake while kayaking, and dancing in the dining hall! Needless to say, we arrived back to Dallas that evening exhausted but super inspired to walk out our faith.
This was our second year in a row attending Stoney Creek Ranch’s Urban Initiative Summer Camp and we are already counting down the days until next summer!
You can learn more about our mission HERE.
Did you know we turn TEN YEARS OLD this year? Watch our video to find out what we’ve been up to HERE.
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