The Camp Swamp Culture is available within 300 miles (482 km) of any person on the planet, especially children, and every person within those 300 miles gets the opportunity to experience this culture, year after year.
- Trains competent camp leadership,
- Fosters life-long memories and relationships,
- Extends respect and hospitality bridging cultural differences,
- Builds godly character, and
- Creates a safe environment physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually,
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; thus you were known 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.