In this day and age, a label doesn’t mean much. Politicians often adopt labels just to amass votes; middle school students use them just to create social boundaries; and many businesses still claim to be “Christian” just to lure in customers. Having an ichthys fish on a realtor’s sign doesn’t have much to do with faith, but that doesn’t mean everything with a Christian label is a sham. For a camp to call itself a Christian summer camp is a powerful statement, not a simple marketing ploy. It means something: that at its core, the entire focus of the camp is concentrated on God. Fun, adventure, and learning might all happen too, but they’re secondary to faith—which is a priority few businesses truly have.
From the outside, a Christian summer camp looks just like any other camp. With smiling campers, nearby wilderness trails, and an assortment of recreational facilities, it would seem to operate no differently than a secular summer camp. The difference, though, is in what’s unseen. While other camps exist primarily to foster fun or learning or creativity, a Christian camp exists to help campers draw closer to God. From the selection of counselors to the lessons taught and songs sung each night, campers learn about the majesty of God and grow in their faith as a result. It isn’t a church, but it possesses similar goals. And while fun, learning, and friendship are all important parts of a Christian camp, they’re not the end goal; they’re used to help bring campers closer to God. That’s rarely seen in a business, even a business that uses the Christian label, but it’s a real and sincere priority of a Christian summer camp.