“I think it’s really crucial that people understand the impact we’re having at Redwood Camp this summer.”
A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Naomie Bragado, our Director of Children’s Ministries, to ask how things are going with our Redwood Day Camps, and that is the first thing she told me.
I sat in amazement for the next twenty minutes as she recounted story after story of how God is working at Redwood Camp in ways that we have never seen.
Andrew: Can you tell us what some of the biggest differences are between our traditional overnight camps and this year’s Day Camps?
Naomie: Most kids who come to overnight camps either come from Christian homes or have already had exposure to church. This year, the exact opposite is true. Most of the campers who are attending Redwood Day Camps this year do not come from Christian homes. In fact, many of them have literally never heard of Jesus!
Andrew: Is that changing the way you craft the program?
Naomie: This year our whole strategy is to break down the gospel message in a way that kids can hear it for the first time and understand it. On Day 1 we talk about creation. On Day 2 we talk about how sin entered the world. On Day 3 we talk about how Jesus died for our sins. But what we weren’t anticipating was for so many kids to say things like: “Wait…who is Jesus?” and “You mean God came to earth?” We had to shift gears and incorporate the Christmas story into the curriculum so that kids would be able to fully understand who Jesus is and what He came to do!
Andrew: How have you seen God working in these campers’ lives?
Naomie: It has been truly incredible. This summer we have fewer campers than we normally do, and yet we are seeing almost twice as many kids make decisions to follow Jesus as we normally do! The first week we had 40 kids make that decision and the second week it was 33.
There was one girl who asked her counselor if she would pray with her under the Trinity Trees to accept Jesus, so she did. One of the other girls in her group then told her, “You know today is your second birthday, right?” “It is?” the girl asked. “Yes! You should go make a button with today’s date on it so that you can always remember this day!” So she went and made a button. Now she has that as a souvenir of when she decided to follow Jesus. And we have so many more stories like that. We have counselors every week who are teary-eyed because of how many kids are committing their lives to God!
Andrew: Why do you think kids are so ready to receive the gospel message this summer?
Naomie: Our local community has been really hard hit by the past year. We have had very strict regulations and kids only did in-person school for a few weeks, so most have had a very small amount of interaction with friends. The majority of their year was spent on screens, indoors, and in isolation and out of relationship with people. On top of that, the fire from last summer was devastating for so many residents in our area.
At camp, kids get the chance to build relationships with and hear the gospel message from counselors who are cool, and these campers are hungry for community. Camp has offered them exactly what they needed, but also more. They came for fun and community, but they found the One who truly fills their hearts. They are known and they are loved.
Andrew: How can we be praying for these campers?
Naomie: Please pray that the relationships they have built at camp would continue through the year. Since all of the kids are local, they will have new relationships where they can see their new friends at school every day! I think we should also be praying for their families, that they would be impacted by their kids’ experience at camp, and that they would come back to Mount Hermon, maybe for a Family Camp, weekend retreat, or After School Adventures.
Thank you so much for your prayers and your financial support of Mount Hermon. As you can see, God is having an impact far beyond what we could ever have imagined, and we couldn’t do it without you!