Caraway offers first coed children’s campby C. Walter Overman
Camp Caraway has a long and distinguished history as a fun, Christ-centered, mission focused summer camp for boys. Since 1963, more than 65,000 boys have enjoyed a summer week at Caraway learning about missions and what it means to be a Christ-follower.
Mark Moore, Caraway summer camp director, was one of those boys. As a pastor’s son, Moore spent at least one week most summers during his childhood at Caraway. His experience as a young camper was influential in his call to vocational ministry.
“Growing up at camp was one of the few places where I could truly be myself,” Moore said. “It was exciting to live a fun life and be a Christ-follower at the same time.”
Camp Caraway for Boys began as a Royal Ambassador camp, but all boys are welcome and do not have to be active in a particular church to attend.
The weeklong camp is offered during four weeks throughout the summer. Campers engage in daily Bible study with a camp pastor, learn from missionaries and participate in numerous activities including team building games, swimming in the lake or pool, zip line and paintball.
The camp experience is designed to show boys that the Christian life is exciting.
“We use fun, first of all, to share the love of Jesus, to develop healthy relationships, to share the importance of missions and to create lasting, teachable moments,” Moore said.
This summer, for the first time in its 50-year history, Caraway opened its camp experience to girls through Camp Caraway for Children, a weeklong Christian children’s camp for boys and girls who have completed grades 1-6.
“There are great reasons to do single gender camping,” Moore said. “But if you look at the trends in ministry, most churches are strictly doing coed camps because that is what is typically done in public schools and Sunday School. There is a great trend toward coed camping.”
Moore said the coed camp was well received and is a step in the right direction for future coed camps. The children’s camp is designed around the same programming as the camp for boys, the only difference being the addition of girls and female leaders.
“We are allowing girls the opportunity to come experience things at Caraway that at one point only boys could do during the summer. That opens up a new avenue for us to minister,” Moore said.
In addition to the four camps for boys and one coed children’s camp, Caraway offered three father-son camps, one angel tree camp and all total hosted more than 700 children this summer.
The goal for each camp is the same – to point children to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
“We want to reach boys and girls where they are. Camp is one of the places where they can be themselves,” Moore said. “We want to put them in a non-threatening environment away from home, away from church, away from school, where they can be themselves, where they can have fun and where they can have an opportunity for God to speak to them.”
Next summer Camp Caraway for Children will be held July 28-Aug. 1, 2014. For more information about the coed children’s camp, visit www.campcaraway.org/children. For more information about Camp Caraway, visit www.caraway.org/camp.