Playing for a Purpose
For more than seventy years Hume Lake Christian Camps has consistently held the gospel of Jesus Christ as the ultimate purpose for existing. Clearly presenting the gospel and providing an opportunity for individuals to respond is a non-negotiable in all camps and retreats. While the gospel is at the center of our mission, there are several other distinctives that define the programs at Hume. Exceptional speakers, meaningful worship, engaging themes, unique adventures, and high-energy recreation are some of the experiences our guests look forward to.
We have two types of recreation. Free time recreation is where campers choose how active or adventuresome they want to be. This would include things like boating, swimming, volleyball, ice-skating, snowboarding, paintball, ropes courses, and many more options depending on the season. The other type is our competitive recreation. Competitive recreation takes place primarily in our junior high and high school summer camps. As with every moment of camp, from the excited anticipation upon arrival, to the sad goodbyes, there is a purpose. For example, the purpose for quality meals is to provide necessary nutrition, facilitate fellowship, and provide a mental, emotional and physical break between other components of the camp experience. There is purpose in chapel, seminars, worship, cabin time, free time, and yes, there is purpose in competitive recreation.
One might ask, “Why would you want students to compete, producing winners and losers? Why would you want students to get so worked up and intense, only to claim victory for themselves and defeat another?” I’m glad you asked.
Campers are divided into two major teams composed of many sub teams. Each day following morning chapel and a reflective breakout time, campers change into their recreation t-shirts and head into rec-chapel for a loud, high-energy rally of sorts. This is where our rec-leaders energize and challenge campers to compete with sportsmanship and spirit. Teams are awarded points for winning, for spirit (enthusiasm), for memorizing Bible verses, and for sportsmanship. At the end of the week the team with the highest total wins the coveted championship t-shirt.
That covers the mechanics of recreation, but I have yet to explain the purpose. We understand there are differences between campers. Some are athletic, some are not, some are loud and some are quiet, some have a multitude of friends and some do not. Our goal is for every camper to not only participate, but to feel they contributed to their team. A variety of competitive games require various skills; it’s not all about speed or strength, although that can help. It often comes down to strategy, intellect, enthusiasm and Scripture memorization. Working together as a team builds relationships as they cheer each other on, it builds self confidence as unexpected heroes make big plays and it’s an opportunity for kids to be kids. It burns excess energy making meaningful chapel times possible. Recreation provides an opportunity for youth leaders to engage with their students. Participating in recreation can profoundly impact a student in many ways.
So the next time you see hundreds of screaming campers dressed in colorful recreation shirts blocking the streets as they move from chapel to recreation, please pray that God will use every experience of camp to reveal Himself and transform lives.
Enjoy videos from this summer’s camps at youtube.com/humelake