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  1. Jim Hamstra
    04 June 2015 @ 10:16 am

    This is indeed a great experience for the “attenders” as you wrote.

    It is also a great experience for the (mostly college) young adults who are the staff. For them also being staff at a summer camp can be a transformational experience. Someone should do a study on their attitudes before and after working at summer camp.

    It is more blessed to give than to receive.

    Win! – Win!

  2. EM
    05 June 2015 @ 8:10 pm

    So nice to read a positive report for a change.

  3. Lara
    06 June 2015 @ 6:43 pm

    Why does the article refer to youth camps starting in the 1950s? Does this refer to what we think of today as youth camps, with cabins, formal buildings, etc? I ask because both my parents attended summer camp way before the 1950s, although I believe both of their experiences involved tents.

  4. Bill Wood
    07 June 2015 @ 7:08 pm

    Thank you for a very find article on SDA Christian camping. The article was very postive and informative. However, just a few comments. The research conducted by the John Hancock Center was commissioned by the NAD Camp Ministries Committee and much of the planning and organization was done by members of the NAD Camp Committee. Funding was provided by the NAD. This was the first study of its kind by any denomination. Results have been published and shared with all church administrators. I would have wished that someone one from our committee would have been interviewed by your writers to get a more completed picture of the scope of SDA camping in North American. We could have provided some other interesting facts and info. For example we found that 60% of those who work on summer staff make positive decisions to work for the church as a result of the summer camp experience. Praise God. Thanks again, however, for writing a very fine article highlightin one of our most successful evangelistic efforts of the church.
    Bill Wood
    NAD Camp Ministries

  5. Roger Metzger
    08 June 2015 @ 8:08 am

    As I was thinking about how–or even whether–to respond, I thought many people will probably think my primary suggestion is hopelessly out-of-date. Times have changed. Or maybe even something about attracting a “different demographic”. I also know there are some disadvantages to “camping” and one of them is the difficulty of providing adequate supervision. I still think, however, that camping (and yes, I mean in tents) is the best setting for evangelism.

    There is nothing wrong, of course, with the word, “tradition”. Anything we do repeatedly can be considered a tradition. During the first few decades of my life, however, I never heard anyone refer to anything as an “Adventist tradition” and there was a good reason for that. Avoiding that language was a way of encouraging people to realize that true Christianity is not based on tradition.

    It is sad but true that some things have been done so long and some language has been used so long that those things have come to be regarded by members of our denomination in much the same way that members of other denominations appeal to their traditions in support of religious beliefs and religious practices. Maybe it is time for a “camp” the purpose of which is for adventist young people to explore “traditional” Adventist language with the goal of developing language and methods that encourage a kind of evangelism that has (in my opinion) practically been lost in our denomination.

    Some years ago, I attended a series of meetings in an SdA church building. The pastor was the primary speaker. One of the laymen was asked to make short presentations about health principles at the beginning of each meeting.

    In the course of one of the meetings, the layman used the phrase, “the church” during the presentation of a health principle. He used that word in a way that has come to be an “Adventist tradition”, namely, in reference to the Seventh-day Adventist organization.

    After the visitors had left the building, the pastor asked the layman to avoid using the word, “the church”, in that way during the meetings. Why? Because protestants are accustomed to thinking of believers as constituting the church. It isn’t wise, in the context of a lecture about health principles, to introduce a different definition of “church” than that to which protestants are accustomed.

    If we are ever going to be successful in encouraging people to question THEIR traditions about a weekly holy day or the state of the dead, it will be because we have been willing to reexamine our own “traditions”.

    What is “the faith”? What is “Evangelism”? Do we “attend worship” or do we worship? Do we refer to the building as “the church”? Compared to those of us who are older, young people who are passionate about encouraging faith in the creator are more likely to be able to overcome the disadvantages of some “Adventist traditions”. We don’t need to control the young people. We need to unleash them.

    • Jim Hamstra
      08 June 2015 @ 8:47 am

      In my Summer Camp years we stayed in both tents and in cabins.

      Tents for summer camps have fallen out-of-favor for several reasons, including the fire and storm safety issues and the large amount of labor involved in set-up, take-down and maintenance, which in my student labor years I performed.

      Yet one feels closer to nature in a tent (for better and for worse 8-). I still treasure the times I shared a tent with my boys when they were young.