After just coming through Daylight Savings weekend I was reminded of this saying, “Fall Back, Spring Ahead”. This is a change that we look forward to, when we once again have a little more daylight to enjoy the evenings. We also feel the warmth from the sun as it works against the cold snow. If you are from New England this is also the time when the sap buckets go up and the pancakes get sweeter. But I digress, this phrase has also brought something else to my mind.
Over the past few months, I’ve been meeting and having conversations with pastors, friends, volunteers etc. In those discussions we have often “fallen back” in time as we share stories of the past, funny stories of camp antics, pranks, and just good fun. We have also reflected on lives changed. The spiritual growth of a camper, staff member and even ourselves. I think that when we look back we often times forget about the challenges, failures and trials. Life has a way of letting those difficulties fade and we are able to reflect more clearly on the good things that took place.
But something else happens when we “fall back” and reflect on life and in particular, life at Pine Brook Camp. We realize that God was at work. We saw His provision. We saw how He worked out the details of various situations that we were deeply concerned and worried about. When we look back we see how God weaves all things together like a beautiful tapestry. And in those times we can see hope for the “spring ahead”.
However, one of the dangers of reflection is that we can fall into the trap of feeling like the best of days have passed us, especially in light of the today’s challenges. As I have spoken with various people involved in ministry it seems like things are harder than ever. Ministry has always been a challenge, because we face an adversary that loathes our efforts and will do anything he can to thwart the good work that we seek to accomplish. Is it harder today than it was in the past? It feels that way, but I’m not sure. In some ways it probably is, but I dare say it isn’t the hardest that it has ever been. This is because, once again, as we “fall back” we can see how God has always been and continues to always be faithful. Therein is how we “spring forward”.
Ahead of us are great opportunities. As this world continues to decay socially, economically and morally, people will have the opportunity to see a bright contrast between this world and those who place their faith and hope in Christ. God has placed us here on Earth to be His witnesses to this generation. Because He is faithful, we can know that He has provided us everything that we need to reach this generation. While there are times that I want to stop and only reflect and “fall back” to the past, I know that God has a great and exciting plan for us. I would like to invite you to join us at Pine Brook Camp as we “Spring Ahead” in ministry.
SPRING AHEAD WITH A NEW GENERATION
Bouncing back and forth between the thoughts of the past and the future brings us right to where Christian Camping is so fitting. There is so much value in camping as a venue to bring about changed lives. Camping allows people the opportunity to step back a bit, to experience the presence of God in the natural classroom of the outdoors. It allows people to move forward with a different perspective on life.
If you are a parent, I’d like to share a few reasons why you should consider a Christian Camp experience for your children. First, camp takes your child out of their normal routine. This opens them up to new friendships, new experiences and new ways of looking at life. Camp also places your child in an environment where Christ is loved and shared. If you are reading this newsletter, I will assume that Christ is loved in your home as well. But is that enough?
As I reflect on my life, I was raised in a Christian home, with parents who loved the Lord. But I also had camp, youth
group, Christian mentors etc. My parents went out of their way to be sure that I had many different experiences where God was celebrated and my Christian walk was encouraged. They encouraged opportunities for other people (who loved the Lord) to speak into my life. Because of this, I grew in my love for the Lord and developed a heart to help others discover Gods plan for their lives.
Camp also brings a sense of freedom for your kids. We live in a generation that hovers over their kids, also known as “helicopter parents.” There is mounting evidence that this approach isn’t necessarily beneficial for our kids. Children need to learn to succeed and fail. To have times where mom and dad aren’t there to “fix it”. It’s in these times they find ways to adapt and overcome difficulties. This is essential in the development of young people. At camp they are in a safe environment where they can be supported and encouraged, but also experience independence. Camp is a place where kids can safely learn independence and responsibility.
When Janet and I were in college we both worked at a nursing home. One of the residents shared a “secret to life”. She said, “Don’t raise your children to be good children, raise them to be good adults” One part of raising good adults is for them to learn responsibility and independence. Camp is a place where young people can do both through attending as campers and then volunteering as staff. I share this because I’ve seen the power of the camp experience in hundreds of young people. Even today, I hear from those that recount how they grew up at camp. It was the place where they learned how to lead others, take chances, develop new skills, make lifelong relationships and most important learned to love and serve Jesus Christ.
As we look to “Spring Ahead” in a new generation, I encourage you to have your young people play a part in this great adventure. They will grow to be the next generation of life giving change.
OPPORTUNITIES TO BE INVOLVED
Springing ahead leads us into summer. This summer we have multiple ways that you and your family can be a part of the next generation of campers, staff and ministry.
An ongoing conversation among the staff and our board members have been along the lines of seeing families come and serve at Pine Brook Camp. Over the years we have had times where the whole family was a part of serving and participating in the summer ministry. Parents would serve as volunteer staff and their children would participate in the program at whatever capacity they were able. This allowed the entire family to be immersed in the wonder of camp. Having this experience together deepened their time as a family and gave them the chance to experience the presence of God together.
Another opportunity to experience some family time, is in our Family Camping program. Pine Brook Camp developed our Family Camping program to allow the whole family to come to camp for an individual family adventure. This is perfect for the family looking for an affordable way to get away together. Parents have the option of signing their kids up for Day Camp while they rest, take a hike, swim at the lake or take to the road and go on a quiet drive and explore Western MA or Southern New Hampshire and Vermont. Families can then come back together in the evening and spend some quality time around a campfire or hang out in the game room. It’s also a fun way to connect with new families and/or bring some family friends along to share the adventure with.
For the kids we have Day Camp, Junior overnight camp and our Teen Camp program. Each of these programs are staffed with our trained volunteers who have a heart to see young people have fun and grow in their relationship with Christ. Many of our volunteers have made serving at camp a lifestyle and come back year after year to share their experience with others.
We are always looking for additional students and adults that have a love for Jesus and a concern for the health and growth of the next generation of children. If you feel that God is leading you to be a part of Pine Brook Camp, please take some time to visit our website and see how you and your family can partner with us this summer.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We are looking forward to seeing you this summer!