This summer some of our youth fellowship were involved in Christian summer camps. Hanna B tells us about her time on camp in the Lakes…
Where and when was the camp?
The camp was held in Bassenfell Manor, a Christian centre near the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District. It’s around 8 miles from Keswick. There are four weeks of camp as well as a training week for people thinking of becoming camp leaders and current leaders to practice their activity and gain qualifications and know how to lead small group Bible studies.
What were your highlights of the camp?
The daytime activities were great, a mixture of mountain biking, walking, kayaking and sailing. The weather became better throughout the week and of course the scenery was beautiful which makes the activities all the more enjoyable. The food was amazing and the cooked breakfast was just the best. Another highlight was the showers not running out of hot water! Overall though, I think my favourite part of the day was the evening meeting where we got to hear updates from throughout the day, which once consisted of dad performing a solo, Gwen Stefani’s ‘No Doubt’. He was recommended by another leader as ‘Star of the Day’ for walking as he earlier performed on the side of a mountain in the pouring rain, mist and high winds when morale was low. The talks in the evening were really challenging and thought provoking.
What can you take from camp to everyday life?
I learnt so much in terms of our relationship with God. One evening, one of the cooks, Liz, did an amazing talk which was really thought provoking. The theme for the talks during the week were seven statements Jesus used to describe himself starting with ‘I am…’ in the gospel of John. Liz spoke on ‘I am the bread of life’. The main takeaway for me was completely handing over full control of your life to Jesus and taking up the cross. Liz talked about how since she’d done this her life hadn’t been easy and sometimes really hard, but she’d been blessed in so many different ways she’d never imagined. I attended a group on difficult issues with other campers where our questions were answered, covering abortion, creation, suffering etc. which was also extremely helpful.
How did it make you feel closer to God?
I think the fact that you were constantly immersed and encouraged to think deeper really made us feel closer to God. The evening talks really did this as well as the worship. The fact that the leaders were so ready to pray for us, encourage us, answer questions and show God’s love to us as well as encouraging us to think about these things during our daytime activities really helped.
What would you recommend to any friends thinking about attending a camp?
Go for it! It’s a great place to put things from normal life to the side and focus on God, it can put things into perspective and provide encouragement. If you’re not a Christian, go in with an open mind and be ready to think, it’s a good place to ask questions and explore. The venue and skills you attain are great too, even if you’ve never done them before.
Article published August 2023