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White Mountain Ranch - overnight Christian summer camp in New Hampshire

White Mountain Ranch - overnight Christian summer camp in New Hampshire

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

Summer camps have been around for a very long time and have proven to be popular and successful. However, there has been a recent downturn in quality administration of, particularly, Christian camps. In the new trend of striving to be relevant, many camps have either gone to the extreme of trying to be flashy, showy and offer the "coolest" things to the detriment of depth and quality or they've failed to adjust at all.

 

GOALS

 

The goals of White Mountain Ranch (as well as many Christian summer camps) are multifaceted. A fun escape and opportunity to worship and fellowship with other believers is, of course at the top of the list. But the Ranch also seeks to incorporate learning: new skills as well as Biblical truths. Speakers come to challenge youth to think about their lives the decisions they make, the friends they have, the activities they engage in—and what it means to frame all of that in a Christian worldview.

 

METHODS

 

White Mountain Ranch has a beautiful facility located on a lake on the side of a mountain in New Hampshire. The fun activities are virtually endless: water skiing, tubing, sailing, canoeing, fishing, swimming, "the blob," mountain biking, archery, arts and crafts (pottery, basket weaving, etc.), skate park, hiking, rock climbing, theater, and more! The schedule provides special events such as theme weeks, all-camp games, talent shows and banquets. Furthermore, there are two daily meetings in which youth hear from a Biblical teacher as well as have an opportunity to worship through music and song. Additionally, the Ranch offers a Wilderness Camp and a Soccer Camp.

 

OPERATION

 

Running a camp takes a great deal of monetary resources as well as committed people. Trained staff for the summer, equipment, insurance and maintenance of grounds and buildings (as well as the cost of utilities) is needed. Typically, camps are founded by larger organizations that help to support and sustain them. Of utmost importance (and often neglected), is the fact that these resources must be accompanied by a visionary who is given the freedom to implement the ideas.

 

TESTIMONIES

 

Personally, I can attest to this camp being life-changing for me! I grew up in the city without Christian friends. Not only did this provide a vastly different and beautiful environment for me but it also provided me with very close friends and a greater desire to know and live for Christ. Over the years, I have heard several similar stories from young people who, like me, went back year after year.

IMPLICATIONS
Camp can be a powerful and positive experience for young people. However, of late, I have heard far too many stories of Christian camp administrators losing their vision for reaching out to today's youth (who need it now, possibly more than ever) or not allowing those with a passion and vision for youth to develop good programs! In turn, some of these camps are losing money and popularity as participants (both staff and campers) lose interest and look to other activities. It means very little to have all of the coolest games and "toys" but not a caring, committed staff or well-planned curriculum. Far too many less beneficial activities are vying for our youth's attention. Therefore, we must give more serious consideration to how we might restructure our camp programs and recognize the power they hold in the lives of teenagers!

Erika Gorgenyi cCYS