The last thing teens want is another lecture, but the desire to learn and to be poured into is a consistent longing.
For the youth groups at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa, camp is often the place where those needs are met.
Bridget Purdy, youth and family ministry leader, at Lutheran Church of Hope’s Johnston-Grimes campus, values retreat and camping experiences because of the opportunity for students to build a deeper relationship with God. Each summer they bring kids to Hidden Acres in Dayton, Iowa, which provides an unparalleled environment to lead students to God and to invest in the lives of students.
“It’s a wonderful facility,” Purdy said. “They have great food, great activities for the kids. We have a great relationship with them.”
Teaching kids about faith and making it fun is one of Purdy’s visions for ministry. The curriculum she uses involves faith application, biblical foundations and catechism.
“I think it’s getting back to those basics and putting it into a light that’s not rigid or another class that they’re trying to get past to graduate,” Purdy said.
As Purdy teaches, she sees the depth her students possess and finds encouragement as they develop their faith.
Camp can help do that. It can create a time when students are out of their routine and are better able to listen to the Lord’s promptings. New friendships are forged, and those new friends can develop an understanding that despite different backgrounds, they are all seeking God.
“Hearing them say yes to a better life and seeing a transformation of their hearts in a couple day’s time at camp is absolutely amazing.”