Children from First United Methodist Church in Chelsea, Michigan, enjoy both the water and the sand.~photo courtesy Chelsea 1st UMC/Courtney Aldrich
A member of Chelsea First UMC explains why they “are hooked” on spending time in the woods.
What better way to bust the “I’m-bored-and-I-don’t-have-anything-to-do” summer mantra of children everywhere than with a family camping trip?According to Kevin Witt, director of Camp and Retreat Ministries for Discipleship Ministries, camp and retreat experiences enable families to leave behind normal routines, responsibilities and environments for an intentional, temporary journey to a new place together.”Fresh environments heighten the senses,” Witt said, “allowing opportunities to grow together as a family to happen more readily. There is more time for building relationships and growing closer to God and each other because other distractions are minimalized.”
Research reveals that Christian camp experiences can be one major avenue for parents to teach and model to their children the importance of a connection with God.
Dennis, Jane and Michele relax and enjoy conversation during Chelsea First United Methodist Church’s Family Camp on a Lake Michigan beach. ~photo courtesy Chelsea 1st UMC/Courtney Aldrich
“Search Institute’s study on effective Christian education identified parents and family faith experiences as the number one factor in a lasting faith among children and youth,” said Witt. In addition, new research by Jake Sorenson, an outdoor ministry researcher with Sacred Playgrounds, notes that youth who attend a faith-based camp are three times more likely to continue a communal faith practice throughout their lives than those who never participate.
Each August, families from First United Methodist Church in Chelsea, Michigan, attend a family camp at an area campground. “Camp runs from Thursday through Sunday,” said Courtney Aldrich, director of Children and Family Ministries at First Church, “and families arrive and depart as their schedules permit.