I’m just back from my annual pilgimage to church camp. The past couple of times I’ve been I’ve worked Senior High camp.
I first went to camp at Lakeview in winter 1978. It was a “Midwinter” weekend event. I don’t remember any details, but I think I liked it. That summer, and the next several summers I attended summer camp each year until I began college. I liked the fellowship of camp. I liked the people who were there. I didn’t care for the content & lessons so much. In my memory it was more the gospel of diversity and pluralism than the gospel of Jesus. There seemed to be an assumption that all the kids there were already Christians.
Camp has improved immensely in the past 25 years. Though there is still great variety from camp to camp, district to district, and year to year, in my experience working camp the gospel of Jesus is regularly preached, invitations to receive Christ given (and responded to). While the organization could be improved (Texas conference camps are still run by the pastors and laity in the districts who do the work on the side), all in all, I think they are a positive experience for the kids. You can hear the messages and devotionals from our camp at http://tridistrictcamp.blogspot.com
Attendance at our camp was up this year. There were about 940 in the four camps together – 240 in our camp alone. Logistics were a little difficult: we had to go back and forth across the property to get to meeting rooms for small groups. Normally the exercise would be gladly accepted, but with the temperatures over 100 every day, it was pretty hard.
Amen. I grew up in the Methodist church about the same time you did, and the gospel that was preached was more of being a good citizen than coming to know Jesus. I can’t testify to summer camps, but regular church wasn’t salvation-centric, to be sure.