How camp shaped my faith journey

We love sharing stories from camp. Read one camper’s reflections about the role CYC camps played in their faith journey.

We often reference the ‘power of camp’, which refers to a lot of different things. It’s about the community, the fun, the adventure, the personal growth, and much more. One part of what makes camp such an impactful experience for young people is the elements of Christian input involved – but saying that we think our camps can help young people discover more about Christianity doesn’t give that much insight into how our programs encourage campers in their faith.

So, let’s dive into just one camper’s story. I can confidently say that camp was the foundation of my faith journey when I was growing up – and here are a few reasons why.

To ask any questions about our upcoming Family Camp programs, contact CYC Ministries today.

Finding Independence on Camp

For plenty of campers, camp is the first place they really hear about who God is. For others, however, the idea of ‘God’ is extremely familiar. Maybe they’ve heard Bible stories throughout their childhood, at school or at church, and going on a Christian camp feels natural. I’ve been lucky enough to witness countless campers from both groups come to grow in their faith from camp.

Personally, I was in the second. Sundays at church had taught me all the basics of Christianity. My family said grace over dinner, my school had several chapel services throughout the week, and it all felt natural to me. When I went on my first primary camp, I was at an age where I was starting to find a sense of independent thought. I had questions about God, and I had never actually made a conscious decision myself to believe – until then, it had just been what was expected of me.

On that very first camp, I felt like I was finally exploring my faith ‘on my own’. It wasn’t because my parents were there or my school or church had nudged me in that direction. Being on camp gave me the chance to step back and really consider what mattered most to me, and on that very first camp, I began to ask questions and participate in meaningful discussions with others my age.

For the first time in my life, I made my faith my own. And I owe that to the community and atmosphere that comes with a week spent on a faith-based camp.

Learning From Guest Speakers

Perhaps the most memorable part of the Christian input on camp is the guest speakers. As I go through all the camps I went on as a kid and teenager, I can distinguish each week of camp by remembering who the speaker was. I never got tired of coming back to hear from a new camp speaker, because the environment of those sessions on camp is incredibly meaningful.

A CYC camp speaker always comes with their own background in church or another ministry. The cool part about camp is that the speaker is there for the whole week. They aren’t just there during their allotted time to teach us about who God is. They were there during games and activities, there to roam during free time and build relationships with all the different campers. I can remember that speaker from my first camp coming to sit with my cabin as we each had turns on the mountain boards, more than happy to have a group of curious twelve-year-olds tossing her question after question about her faith and story.

The camp community is tight-knit. For me, that sense of building relationships was key to helping me understand and explore my own faith.

Connection with Leaders

When I think about why CYC Camps were so impactful for me as I was growing up, the first thing I think about is my leaders.

On each and every camp I went on, I was led by passionate and caring volunteer leaders who quickly became role models for me. They took the time to get to know me across camp, encouraging me and taking the time to talk about life and faith. My leaders played a huge role in my faith journey, and seeing the impact their care had on me is why I decided I wanted to lead on camp.

Oddly, more than ten years later, I caught up with one of my leaders from my very first primary camp. Getting the chance to talk to them as an adult in my early twenties really made me realise just how crazy the camp experience is; after one week spent together when I was twelve years old, this leader had made a lifelong impact on my life. And it was all because they took the time to get to know me, encourage me to think more deeply, and step into who I am.

A Place to Explore Faith

The coolest thing about camp is the community that is built over the course of a handful of days. Leaders and campers all come from different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. But during camp, everyone comes together to build meaningful friendships and learn from each other. There are people I met on camp that I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. I heard different opinions and stories, broadening my perspective on life and faith.

As someone whose family wasn’t attending church throughout my teenage years, camp became my space to intentionally learn about God and explore my faith. It was a safe place for me to ask questions and consider what I believe, with total freedom to grow at my own pace. Camp was fundamental to my ongoing faith journey – and I looked forward to exploring more about my beliefs every camp just as much as I looked forward to the adventure activities!

Place a Camp Application Today

This is just one glimpse of one camper’s experience. No matter where a young person stands with the idea of faith, CYC Ministries runs camps that offer intentional opportunities for discussion and exploration. And it all happens alongside a jam-packed program of fun and games!

If there is a young person in your life who could benefit from the experience of camp, we would love to have them come along. We run several camps across Victoria every school holidays. Spots can fill up quickly, so check out our upcoming camps today and sign up your camper.

Check out more great STORIES FROM CAMP at our blog here