Lakeview Conference Center Debuts New Model for Summer Camp
Campers give two thumbs up to the improved camp features and Wesley-inspired curriculum.
Goodbye homework, hello sleeping bags and sunshine! On arrival day for the first two summer sessions at Lakeview, some 1,400 campers came to the piney woods of Palestine by motor coach and car. Students rekindled old friendships and formed new ones as a key part of this annual tradition. “The summer camp staff finally got to meet the campers they’ve been hearing about for weeks,” shares President Rev. Matt Idom. After checking students in, helping unload luggage and conducting health checks, Lakeview leaders hosted the first-ever Sunday arrival cookout with burgers and all the trimmings.
“When I dropped off the campers on arrival day, they were able to see the layout of Lakeview and be part of the check-in process,” shares Ruth Ann Person, a parent volunteer from First UMC Conroe.
For the past year, the Lakeview staff has been gearing up for Transformed – the theme for summer camp 2017. To make this summer extra special, Lakeview is introducing new curriculum for all age levels, and in all sessions to create consistency. The curriculum, a mix of hands-on learning, discussion, journaling and instruction, is tailored for four basic age groupings from elementary to high school. According to camp leaders and youth directors, the new material is solidly grounded in Wesley’s teachings of sanctifying, prevenient, and justifying grace.
College aged camp lifeguards, program specialists and coordinators began training and staff orientation ahead of camp. Summer Program Specialist Kyle Garbs, Texas A&M student, shares, “My counselors had such an impact on my life over the many years I came to to Lakeview. Now I’m getting to impact many children over the four weeks I am on staff. I am also helping build relationships via games and activities, and assist with day-to-day camp operations so volunteer staff can have more time with their campers.”
The summer staff has been adding some new traditions with the campers in mind. “Staff development was an intense week of hard work and relationship building that fostered teamwork. That team spirit helped us lead an unbelievable first two weeks of camp,” states Lori Fowler, Jr. High Program Coordinator, Texas A&M Wesley Foundation. “We could hardly wait for the kids to get coated in colors during the paintball challenge -- one of our newest traditions, and one that is creating lots of smiles, laughter and memories.”
Some of the newest programs include Lakeview Olympics, a County Fair, Messy Games and Aquafest. According to Hospitality Director Breezy Lake-Wolfe, the different age groups are also having a blast with new activities such as a jump pillow, a rock throwing range, fowling, and bazooka ball.
“It’s been wonderful to have the college staff help with our evening activities and games,” adds Ruth. “In addition to all the new improvements to Lakeview, the food has been great.” Camp photo accessibility is one of the new camp components created for parents. Lakeview’s media specialists are taking hundreds of shots each day to give parents a sneak peak at their camper in action. Parents now have the capability of logging onto an online portal and viewing photos daily. The on-line portal can be accessed at www.lakeviewmcc.org. Additional information is available in the parent guide.
“Being a Fish Camp alum and now being part of the Christian camp experience at Lakeview has been a whole new journey for me,” notes Kaylyn Knight, Sr. High Program Coordinator from Texas A&M University. “Having the opportunity to impact kids in a positive way, introducing them to new relationships, and helping them develop a stronger faith has been an incredible experience so far.”