"One Week Can Change the World"
We noticed character changes on return from the camp - a totally different attitude.
My child was greatly impacted by last year's trip. It was a chance for her to be out of herself, and other's centered.
I learned that all humans are the same no matter what color or where they live.
Swamp Corps is the generative arm of Swamp Camp Services, Inc., the year-round retreat, conference and overnight camp facility affectionately known as Camp Swamp. Swamp Corps’ overarching purpose is to replicate Camp Swamp's camp culture by training Host Communities around the world how to plan, organize, and direct overnight summer camps for 9 to 18-year-old children.
Our objectives are:
- To establish a perennial camp wholeheartedly endorsed and supported by the Host Community
- To extend service-learning and leadership training opportunities to students 14+ years of age
- To offer Host Community participants an overnight camp training process designed to teach and instill character in a memorable, fun-filled fashion.
We go where we are invited. Once an invitation is accepted, Swamp Corps will dedicate resources such as training, planning, experienced campers, competent counselors, an established registration process, and seasoned leadership for three (3) successive years, with each year representing a new stage in the process described as follows:
- PHASE I: Swamp Corps will totally run the camp, establishing expectations and planting the initial seed of culture.
- PHASE II: Swamp Corps will co-lead the camp while training and coaching new leaders, re-affirming expectations, and cultivating the camp culture as stated in the mission.
- PHASE III: Swamp Corps will provide support and evaluation of the host-led event and provide a detailed plan to fill identified gaps.
We are a group of genuine child-enthusiasts existing to train a Host Community how to plan, organize, and lead camp experiences in a way that:
- Creates a safe environment mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually,
- Promises extreme fun and life-long memories,
- Trains future servant-leaders and Host Community camp leaders,
- Fosters long-term, mutually beneficial relationships,
- Respects diversity and bridges cultural differences,
- Champions instruction and expectations for good character and citizenship, and
- Instills the key pillars of character as modeled in the Bible: service, gratitude, humility, encouragement and forgiveness;
Truly, these concepts epitomize the heart of camp and the essence of the Camp Swamp culture.
Everyone (parents, volunteers, counselors, and campers) has to feel mentally, physically, and emotionally safe in order for the spiritual self to be realized. Set an environment of respect; deal with bullies of all kinds, and create a culture of love. (Imagine an atmosphere where last names weren’t important; you were known simply for who you are and not all the ties to your parents, brother, sister, money, position, etc.) Thus our motto: “Besides your home, the safest place on the planet.”
Everyone from the directors to the volunteers to the campers to the head dishwasher has to feel valued; each has the right to feel like somebody. The culture of the camp is to make everyone feel like they are important.
Everyone needs to know their role, being defined and understood by all parties. If so, then each person will know if he is fulfilling it or not. Each can feel the success of fulfilling it and personal accountability if not.
The food needs to be good. People—especially kids—will remember the food one way or another…and talk about it.
Everyone needs to have FUN! If it is not fun, no one will want to come back. The cooks, nurses, campers, counselors all need to have a great time. Allow camp to host a wide age range, like 9-18 for summer camp. You will be amazed at the results and live the words of Dr. Seuss, "Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
The rules need to be clear and few with someone who is in charge to enforce them. They must be enforced or everything will spin out of control and no one will have much fun.
Have a spiritual camp not a religious camp. There is a huge difference between the two. Trust God to work on the young hearts that are open. If great sermons and convicting preachers always converted people, all of our kids would be disciples. Trust the process and the Spirit.
God, Jehovah, has to be made real. We need to forget trying to indoctrinate kids into the church; let God reveal himself through the stars, the people, the Bible, nature, relationships, and through the spiritual culture that is created; the rest will follow.
Celebrate differences! Whether you are an athlete, scholar, musician, or domino expert, your color, talents, interests, and quirks are accepted and celebrated…each tremendously adds to the cultural tapestry; then the words of Desmond Tutu come alive, “Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people.”
Pour all the resources you have into making a perennial camp…one that allows for generations to experience. If you give half your resources, you will get 50% of the results. If you only focus on one year, you may forego the next decade.