Why Camp?


We have kids from all walks of life—those who are fully churched and live upper or middle-class lifestyles and those who are in foster care or whom we literally bring off the streets. These kids are struggling with ugly divorces, abuse in their homes, recovering from the traumas of the pandemic, and all other kinds of situations.

They need a real encounter with the real, living God!

Every year kids come to camp who do not attend church. Every year there are salvations, kids filled with the Holy Spirit, and a number of baptisms.

We normally do not put a lot of emphasis on water baptism at children’s camps, because we want to ensure we are respecting the relationships with their caregivers. However, we felt very deeply that we needed to speak about it at our second children’s camp. This led to 7 children making a decision to become baptized, and 2 parents joined on the day of the baptism!

One child who wanted to be baptized at camp was later able to do it in Regina with us, and with many of his unsaved relatives in attendance. THIS—the extension of camp into our year-round lives— is our goal. These are lasting works.

When we speak to the kids about God, we are real. There will be struggles and life does not always work out perfectly, but God never let’s go.

The focus at camp remains on the work of God because everyone on the grounds carries the vision that this is real and it works.

We saw real physical healing. We saw salvations. We saw kids learn to hear accurately from Jesus and prophecy over one another. It is the coolest thing to see kids realize this is real.

I saw a big shift in how deep and personal the words got and that spoke to me about how safe the Camp atmosphere is, and honestly, how hungry the hearts of those young people were. Brand new Christians hear directly from the heart of God for each other, and understand that they are in fact hearing from God. 

One of the first things a teen said to me at camp was, “What do I have to do in order to get baptized around here?” We had 4 baptisms. There are no words for how powerful those commitments were. We know that many of these young people do not go home to safe, Christian homes. Camp is a lifeline for them.

One of the most exciting things that happened pre-camp was that we put a call out to our camp community to help us sponsor 17 children and youth. These young people are often from lower-income homes, and in some cases are from homes where they have just been reunified out of foster care—and their families really need support.

We have committed that it is important for every person to be able to come to camp and encounter God, and we were astounded that within 24 hours all the money had been donated! We were given so much above and beyond that when campers showed up without shoes or sleeping bags, we could purchase those items immediately and help meet those needs.

One mother absolutely wept at the generosity and grace being shown to her family, and several of the children in that family made a commitment to Christ for the very first time!

I could really go on and on. This ministry is so very dear to my heart. I’ve been a part of the camp for over 20 years. My children have grown up there, brought friends who have given their lives to Christ and now work there, and our foster children have also met Jesus and been baptized on the grounds. This is the place where our former foster children come and reconnect with the family of God every year, with the full blessing of their parents.

It is so much more than just camp: this is literally saving lives!

Written by April Howard, Director of Children and Teen Camps at Trossachs Gospel Camp.