There are a lot of reasons why an experience at Portage Lake is valuable to your child, or maybe even you! We asked parents of campers for some of the top reasons they want their kids to experience camp summer after summer, and here are the top five things reasons “why camp” is an experience that’s worth it:
1. Spiritual Connection
Everything that happens at camp – the silly, the crazy, the fun, the high energy, the low energy, the staff, the grounds, the schedule, EVERYTHING! – is centered around the love and joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every camper, parent, and staff member at camp is wonderfully made by Jesus, and He loves them more than we could ever understand, and camp is a celebration of that love! Every Wednesday evening chapel, the Gospel of Jesus is presented, and campers are invited to accept the free gift of eternal, meaningful, impactful life that Jesus gave us by dying on the cross and rising again, and it is amazing to watch campers young and old run to Jesus week after week. And Wednesday is not the only night Jesus works in the hearts of campers! Every cabin devotion, every game, every conversation is all in His glory, and he works in incredible ways in the obvious and less obvious times throughout the week. Many call camp a “thin” place, where the gap between Heaven and earth seems a bit more thin than usual, and that feeling of closeness to our creator is because at camp, all the focus, energy, and glory goes to him! Last summer, 89 campers gave their lives to Jesus Christ at camp, and more than 300 recommitted their lives! These life-changes are not directly a product of the programs, chapels, messages, worship, and games at camp, but all those things lead campers to the God who loves them, and summer after summer camp becomes a place where Jesus encounters the lives of campers and changes them forever. The video below features Wes, a Sr. High camper, who gave his life to Jesus at camp. Wes’ story is a perfect example of how the culture and community of PLCBC allows Jesus to work in incredible ways.
2. Life-long, life-giving friendships
Wes talks about this a bit in his video, but the community at Portage Lake an amazing family of people who love Jesus and love each other. Camp is a community, not just a place. Campers arrive on a Sunday afternoon, and by Sunday evening they already have met new people who usually become close friends by breakfast the next day! There is something special about relationships that happen in a place where fun, love, and joy (from Jesus) is at the center of all of it. Whether it is a kids camp or family camp, the bonds that are created last a life-time, and that is so important when the camp experience is only a few days long. Having that support, that love, and that joy from one another keeps the spirit of camp running even if they are thousands of miles away from Michigan.
3. Experiencing Nature
Northern Michigan is BEAUTIFUL! God’s design is on display at camp day after day. Even when it rains and storms, the reminder of God’s power and authority is only further proven. There is something special about being outside in nature trying new things, playing new games, meeting new people, and just living! Being on the lake, being on the dunes, being in the woods, watching the sunrise or sunset, and just being immersed in God’s incredible creation further creates connection between us and the Master Builder that put it all -even our ourselves- together.
4. Positive Christian Role Models
Each camper that experiences Portage Lake has a counselor that loves Jesus and pays attention to him or her. The connection between campers and counselors happens almost instantly, and lasts far beyond the summer! Our world is in great need for more young adults that live as a witness to Jesus Christ, and camp is very fortunate to be a place where genuine, well trained, fun, passionate young people give their summers to love the children of God and help them have a week full of fun, learning, and connection with Christ. Year after year, the staff is one of the biggest reasons (but not the biggest) campers want to return as soon as they can! To learn more about PLCBC’s hiring process, check out our Parent Guide where Executive Director, Dave Nesburg explains how Portage Lake hires only the best.
5. Being Unplugged
No phones or electronics at summer camp! Real life is WAY better. Campers spend a week experiencing creation and relationships rather than a screen. In a society where more and more people use the lens of a phone or tablet, it is immensely important that we remember to use the lens of Jesus Christ, and that is relational, distraction-free community. A lot of campers start the week struggling without having their device with them all the time, but by the end of the week they realize they no longer miss their phone! Instead of getting plugged into a wall charger, the whole week is spend getting plugged into each other, Jesus, and his love and mission for us as followers of Him.
Those are just five short examples of the limitless reasons why camp is a place of incredible value for you and your family. Camp is a place where children thrive in the joy and love of community, nature, and Jesus. We can’t wait for next summer!