Life-changing summer

July 27, 2020

When was your life-changing summer?

We can all remember that holiday, music festival or summer camp that did something to us that meant our life, or our perspective on life, was changed enough to mean we would not be the same person. It might have been that friend we met, that moment when we did something we never thought we could, or being smitten by that raw awe-inspiring beauty of water and landscape merging with a sunset backdrop.

For me, I was fortunate to have many of those summer experiences. My parents needing a break from me and my siblings sent us off to summer camp each year. And it changed my life over and over again. And still does in my adult life as I volunteer on the camp’s staff.

Your life-changing summer may have been that summer camp experience too? For me summer camps have been the best American export – a week or two of adventure, awkward hellos, adrenaline-fuelled challenges, and life-long friends. These were the magic ingredients that made my summers a jab of motivation and self-discovery.

So have you thought about passing this gift of challenge and change onto your son or daughter, or that young person you know?

Of course, this summer is a washout for most of us. For me, it would have been this weekend that started another one of those character-stretching summer camps. But Covid had other ideas! So that chance to do something different will have to wait until next year. But I wanted to share with you the kind of experiences I’ve had over the years, and maybe if you like the look of them, you too might think about giving yourself a break from the kids next summer and give them that life-changing summer.

Here is the Instagram, Facebook page (with tons of fun pics and videos) and website of the summer camp that has changed my life for the better in so many ways.

Richard Fowler

Richard is editorial assistant at Because

A bit like life

July 29, 2016

Sailing at sepEvery year for well over 40 years, our church has hosted a summer educational programme (SEP) on the eastern bank of bonnie Loch Lomond in Scotland.

This great Christian activity camp has about 80 young people from different churches and from none, who participate in a variety of sports, games and classes in a Christian atmosphere of love and compassion.

When the Setup team arrive, they find the field empty but for the roaming sheep. Everything we use is stored away like spillikins in the large kitchen. What is a hive of activity for two weeks eventually reverts to the sheep, and who would know that we have been there?

It occurs to me that this is a bit like the Christian life…our bodily accommodation for us is like old caravans and tents, perfectly adequate for the duration but diminishing year by year!

And, we are in this world and we love serving in this world, but our citizenship is elsewhere, and we look for a city whose builder and maker is the Lord.

When SEP ends in a week and the take down crew will have done their sterling work, it will be as if we had never been here, and who will know?

The campers and staff who have lived in a Christian society for a few weeks will know.

And, of course, God will know.

A bit like life, actually.

Tony Goudie

Blocking out the Son?

August 1, 2014

Are we our own blocking factor?

For the past week our church has run a Christian Activity Camp by the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland. It has been a great atmosphere, and has provided teenagers with a safe environment in which to relax, develop friendships, learn new skills, and also understand Christianity from the example of those around them.

The weather has been variable with both rain and sunshine. At times the sun was so strong that we all reached for high factor sun creams and lotions in order to protect ourselves from the negative effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

In the Bible the prophet Malachi compares the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the sun, and says that the Messiah’s rays would heal, not hurt. He phrases it this way: “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays” (4:2 NIV UK). As a result, people will rejoice, frolicking like young calves in a field.

As I applied my sun cream, it occurred to me: is my attitude sometimes like a cream that I apply to block out the effect of Jesus Christ? Do I try to shield myself from Jesus and thus rob myself of the joy he brings?

Of course we must protect ourselves from the harmful rays of the sun.

But let’s not block out Jesus, the Righteous One.

Let the warmth of his rays heal and restore us.