How “High-point” experiences unlock learning
Often the way Church works is that the focus is on the pastor. He or she is the source of information, sharing expertise through sermons and directing you to certain passages of the Bible. While participating in a Sunday worship gathering is good, how many sermons have you heard that you really remember? Things we hear, we may remember, but things we experience, we know.
Christian summer camp has long been a place where people of all ages come to know God more fully through experience. Campers learn in ways that are practical and hands-on, in both structured and self-guided times, and the counselor acts as a guide to help identify lessons they can apply to future experiences. One of the key reasons camp works is because it pairs physical activities with biblical metaphors allowing campers to experience God in powerful ways. These physical activities unlock learning and help the lessons to be “sticky;” easily remembered whenever the activity is recalled.Camp is a place where campers can stretch their comfort zones by experimenting with new activities, roles, ideas and behaviors. They can try new things, fail, succeed and learn in a supportive environment free from distractions. Camp gives campers the chance to do things that are uncomfortable and see that discomfort doesn’t mean something is bad. All of this new learning is cemented in us through real experiences, “high points” that are remembered for years and allow us to easily recall all we’ve learned.
Here’s how it works:
As a camper during the cabin morning devotion time you discuss as a group what it means to have a rugged faith– one that is tough and determined. You discuss new ideas together and look at the Bible for inspiration and truth. Later that day during cabin activity time your whole cabin has the opportunity to ride the zip line together. The zip line looks scary, spanning over 1200ft and soaring over 200ft above the valley floor. You’re scared to step off the platform, but the caring support of your counselor and cabin gives you the courage to do it– and once you step off the platform it’s one of the best feelings you’ve had all year: fun, exhilaration, confidence, success. You’re proud of yourself, glad you did it, and thankful you shared it with new friends. This is a “high point” moment.
Now, several weeks later when you’re back home you run into a friend who asks you, “how was camp?” Immediately the first image that pops into your brain is your trip on the zip line and you feel the same things you felt then: fun, exhilaration, confidence, success. The story of the zip line comes tumbling out, but then it is followed by a recollection of what you talked about earlier that day – what it means to have a rugged faith. At that point you decide to take the path of determination and share with your friend other things you learned at camp: that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. This is the power of a “high point” experience.
At Kidder Creek we build in “high point” experiences for every camper– something new and memorable that will help them remember their week of camp forever.
Nate Pfefferkorn, Vice President of Strategy