What should you expect when you send your child to camp? Like any parent, we know you expect the very best. At Stronghold, we are strongly committed to meeting your expectation. Here are some of the things we provide for your child during their week at Stronghold.
Safety is our number one goal and highest priority. Physical safety is just one facet of safety that we concern ourselves with when it comes to taking care of your children; we also take many measures to ensure your child is safe mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For this reason, we run a camp in which campers are placed in small groups—usually 10-15, with a minimum of two adult counselors at all times. Our counselors are trained to recognize and assess all four facets of safety to protect all of the children entrusted to our care.
When you look back on your childhood, it may be difficult to recall certain lessons learned in school, crafts you made, or meals you ate… but what you likely do remember is who your best friends were in class, who helped you with that project, and that one hilarious conversation you had with a close friend during a meal. At Stronghold, we know that archery, swimming, the castle, the challenge course, cookouts, and games are all fun… but our true goal is for your child to make friends. During a week at camp, campers spend their time with their small “family” groups whom they share a living space with, while also interacting with other groups at various times throughout the week. The counselors intentionally provide time for both guided and free conversation to allow time and space for campers to develop friendships on their own. Furthermore, the counselors are able to facilitate conversations which break down barriers and draw people together.
Learn Social Interaction
Making friends is not easy for everyone. We know that. We hope that through your child’s experience at camp, he or she will develop social skills which will benefit him or her making friends and communicating at school, in extra-curricular activities, and in collaborative workgroups. To achieve this we take a two step effort; one, we lead by example, and two, we provide your child with the “tools” and confidence he or she needs to be successful in social situations. If you were to walk in on any group game, announcement, or activity led by our counselors, you will hear the counselor introducing him or herself, smiling, showing respect with words and body language, and always using “please” and “thank you.” Counselors also seek to find information about each camper in their group; when they find campers with common interests, they encourage one to talk to the other, and if necessary, even helping them figure out what to say in case they are unsure about how to start a conversation. We want your child to have positive social experiences at camp.
We live in a world of diversity—diversity of people, languages, dialects, ways of thinking, culture, habits, ability. During your child’s week at camp, he or she will be immersed into our diverse camp culture. Our campers may come largely from this state, but our counselors come from around the world. This year we have counselors from England, Scotland, South Africa, and Mexico! No matter where in the world a member of our camp community is from, each is different in his or her own respects. We facilitate an atmosphere of inclusion and respect.
Not only do we ensure that your child lives in a respectful environment at Stronghold, but we also want to ensure that they respect themselves. When a child is working on a project, he or she will often hear compliments. “I really like the way you use the paint brush to bring out the texture of the castle!” or “The way you explained that Bible verse really helped me understand what God was saying.” are the type of praise we like to give. We like to go one step further than simply saying “Nice job;” we want to make sure that your child knows why his or her work and effort is valuable. We want your child to see why he or she is a valuable, knowledgeable, respectful, and lovable person of God.
Take and Learn Responsibility
As a valuable, knowledgeable, respectful, and lovable person of God, we believe that your child is also capable. As members of society, we must participate and take responsibility to make things work and make things happen. For this reason, we involve our campers in everything! All activities encourage 100% participation (adaptations are often made when applicable). The fun doesn’t just happen; they need to be a part of making it happen! One of the ways we give campers responsibility is through our weekly cookouts. For cookouts, campers are responsible for collecting firewood, building a fire, and preparing and cooking their own meal! They learn that for something to be a success, everyone needs to demonstrate responsibility.
Challenge Him or Herself to Take Safe Risks
Have you ever heard of the “giraffe” award? A giraffe award is given to a person who demonstrates great courage and strength by “sticking his or her neck out.” “Sticking your neck out” is a metaphor for taking a risk. Risk-taking is what gets us out of bed each morning and prepares us for everything that life throws our way. At Stronghold, we encourage safe risk-taking. In order for your child to successfully handle the risks that he or she might face, we believe that he or she should have experience with risks in a safe environment. By experiencing our team building course, high ropes course, and leap of faith challenges, your child will experience a perceived risk in a truly safe atmosphere—protected by one of our trained facilitators. He or she will practice imagining an outcome and finding strategies to achieve success, working with others, giving a receiving encouragement, and identifying personal strengths to overcome challenges. By taking safe risks at Stronghold, your child will develop his or her ability to take on the real challenges of life.
Critical thinking is arguably the greatest determining factor to success in life. Critical thinking means thinking deeper and wider than a simple “yes” and “no,” but analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating. Through all experiences at camp—Bible study, challenge course, mealtime conversations, and games to name a few—your child will be challenged by his or her counselor to think beyond the here and now. “I can see how you feel that way. How do you think what you said makes someone else feel?” “You’re right, it is dark outside. What kinds of things can you do/see/hear outside in the nighttime that you can’t during the day?” “We have used all of our matches to light the fire but the fire hasn’t started yet. How else can we go about lighting a fire?” When committed adults spend twenty-four hours a day, five days in a row with children, the opportunities to extend thinking through intentional conversation are immeasurable. We seek to find those opportunities during your child’s week at Stronghold and take advantage of them to help him or her grow as a critical thinker.
Open Doors to Learning
Through both teachable moments and programmed activities, Stronghold Camps opens the door for your child to learn. While teachable moments occur during mealtime conversations and while hiking the trails, lessons are learned during our programmed activities. Your children will learn skills such as how to properly aim a bow and arrow, how to tell the difference between a shooting star and a satellite, and how to locate books in the Bible. He or she also will experience an astronomy lesson, nature study lesson, arts and crafts lesson, or other various lessons we offer through free choice programming. Our goal is to open the door for your child to pick up a new interest, hobby, or skill by providing accessible educational programming that maximizes the fun and natural curiosity of learning.
Learning at Stronghold takes place in God’s great classroom—nature. While at Stronghold we will encourage your child to notice and experience many of the things he or she may overlook or take for granted in everyday life. Did you know that the bark of each species of tree feels different when you touch it? It is difficult to notice…unless you try it blindfolded! Did you know that the UV rays of the sun bend, so the rays can even touch you when you are indoors? That’s hard to see unless you test it with UV color-changing beads. We provide nature study lessons for our campers so that they can learn about God’s creation and how it works. But the experience of nature doesn’t end there. Campers embrace the outdoors as they nestle under a shady tree for Bible study, hike to the quarry, and camp in the woods. We want your child to see the inexplicable awesomeness of our God through experiencing it firsthand.
Explore and Grow in Their Faith in Christ
Most committed to our hearts and our mission at Stronghold Camps, we want your child to explore and grow in his or her faith in Christ. We are an intentional Christian community. We pray. We read and discuss the word. And we find ways to live it. We aren’t afraid to talk about our undeniable faith in the One True God. While at camp, your child will participate in a small group Bible study each day. Within this small group setting, campers are able to ask questions and find answers in the Bible and through personal prayer. Our goal is that your child will leave on Friday knowing that he or she has had an interaction with God—whether that be through reading the Word, prayer, reflection, discussion, friendship, or the loving guidance of a counselor. We, at Stronghold, are God’s vessel; He leads us as we minister to His Good Name.
Be a Kid
Lastly, while at Stronghold, you can expect that your kid can be a kid. Sometimes the joy and innocence of childhood can get lost in the business of afterschool activities and homework. We want to give your child a week of magic. Stronghold is a place where it is okay to do something silly, it is okay to laugh, and it is okay to do something just because it is fun. It is a place for kids, no matter what their age.
We hope that this page has been useful to you. At Stronghold, we truly believe in the power of camp ministry to change lives. If there is anything you have questions about, please do not hesitate to ask. As Christ came not to be served, but to serve, so do we. Let us know how we can best be Christ-like servants to you.
For further inquiries, you may contact Ryan Anderson at email@example.com or (815) 732-6111 x609