Lakeview Upgrades Camp for 2012
“In one week alone this summer we had 44 young people that checked the box that said God may be calling me into ordained ministry,” noted Lakeview Director Matt Idom. “One week - one district camp. That’s amazing!” he continued.
Lakeview’s mission is very clear – to be a setting where people come close to Christ, and Idom’s passion and vision for Lakeview are just as clear. While he and his staff are dedicated to enhancing the camp’s facilities for future generations, they see their role as not only hosting camp, but providing an opportunity to be a training ground for young folks going into the ministry in the future.
In the five weeks of district camp during summer 2012, a total of 3,493 people attended Lakeview. “Easily 80 percent of that number are teenagers and children,” Idom said. The other 20 percent are adult counselors – mostly volunteers. Conference Camping Coordinator Dr. Jonathan Bynum said making camp an effective ministry takes a lot of support. “Some volunteers are clergy and some are youth directors, but a lot of it is laity who love kids and want to help them grow… They take off a week from work or a week from their lives to make that happen.”
The Ministry of Camping
Thera Freeman, Texas Annual Conference Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director said “camping ministry is really important, because it pulls kids and adults into a focused time of reflection and of scripture and focus on personal faith walk... Fun is a really important part of camp, but I think the biggest thing is that it allows for a space of learning how to pattern life with worship and with scripture and in community and with people we didn’t know before.”
A camper’s activities typically include times for worship, large and small group activities and devotionals as well as recreation and crafts. They swim, water slide, kayak and ride bikes and grab a quick energy boost from the snack shack. They also spend time at some of the latest enhancements including the shaved ice cabana, ga-ga pits (a safe version of dodgeball) and the revamped gift shop, which Idom says has substantially improved and has more items youth want. “There is always some kind of group activity or competitions,” added Bynum. “Then there’s the primary worship experience designed for the kids. A lot of times that’s a different kind of worship than they’re used to.”
“There are several opportunities for each camp at each age level to worship,” Freeman added – describing her first trip to Lakeview. “I saw many different styles there from student lead worship to groups that were brought in to lead music, which was fantastic… and all over camp from Peace Chapel to the Tabernacle to the Copeland Building… Seeing passion in the people who were teaching the kids – they were just passionate about what they were speaking about and the kids were right along with them.”
Bynum said they had a focused theme for 2012 of ‘Covenant’ which was aligned across all camps, including mid-winter. He added that “the biggest thing this year was packing over 250,000 meals that will very soon be shipped to Liberia, supporting the work that Stop Hunger Now does all over the world.”
Another addition for 2012 is the Lakeview Bucks program. “Parents don’t just send money with kids anymore,” Idom noted. “They send money on a special card to be used at the gift shop, the snack shack, and the shaved ice cabana - with the understanding that any money left on that card at the end of the week is donated to a scholarship program for next year to help kids go to camp.”
Other New Additions include:
· A Director of Programming in charge of the challenge course, aquatics, and summer program staff
· Better food and enhanced food service
· $140,000 worth of technology upgrades (Primarily A/V equipment in Copeland Center)
· A $50,000 horticulture grant is going toward trees, flower beds and other landscaping
· Additional behind-the-scenes projects are focused on revamping procedures and efficiency
· For the first time in two decades, program staff are residential – including eight college students – who are members of United Methodist congregations throughout the conference
Cost of Camp
A week at camp costs about $250 for the week at Lakeview. “Because we’re at $250, any pastor can walk into any adult Sunday school class in any church in this conference and say ‘I have two kids that can’t afford to go to camp’ and they’ll walk out of there with that money.” Idom added. “And because of that, a large number of the kids that participate in our camp are on some sort of assistance and may not even know it.” Idom was quick to point out that the price doesn’t reflect the quality of the experience and noted that children attending Lakeview came from all economic backgrounds.
“Camp is always really good at impacting youth, because it takes them out of their usual routine and puts them in a different kind of setting, Bynum noted. “It gives them the opportunity to really focus… We want the churches to feel like they want the kids to go because it’s going to really empower their ministry. We want the kids to feel like they want to go there because they can experience something special – something unlike what they experience anywhere else or at any other time.”
Lakeview has recently completed a Master Plan and is finalizing a Strategic plan scheduled to be given to the board later in fall 2012. Learn more about future improvements scheduled at Lakeview.
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