June 22, 2018
Can you even have camp in a conference room?
So began the debate among camp supporters, probably a decade ago now. You can play games indoors, you could roll out sleeping bags on the floor, and there are certainly fewer mosquitoes. But do you lose something important about the nature of camp (see what I did there?) if you move it into a space designed for indoor meetings?
We started experimenting with where camp happens in 2016 when we introduced Camp in the Community. Counselors packed up totes of their best equipment, then went out to a United Methodist congregation to hold day camp for one week. All of our locations had outdoor spaces, but urban nature isn’t the same as living in the woods.
This summer, the counselors brought their totes to the hotel where Annual Conference happens, and they provided a camp experience for elementary-age kids while their parents were in session. Between a scorching heat index, a busy parking lot, and several downpours, the experience was nearly completely inside. In a conference room designed for indoor meetings.
But when I stopped by for a quick visit, I saw that one thing was identical, no matter whether camp was at Lucerne, Pine Lake, a church, or the Marriott. As we read in 1 Corinthians, “faith, hope, and love remain.” Love remains. Campers care for one another, counselors care about their kiddos, and everyone practices loving God.