United Youth Camps are a constant beehive of activity. From the morning wake-up call until lights-out, the seven days at camp are scheduled and organized for the benefit of everyone. Even fellowship and relaxation time are built into a schedule that keeps everything going smoothly. Beginning with the first person to arrive at camp until the last one leaves and the gate is shut, the biblical admonition to have all things done decently and in order is put into practice.
The Zone element of structure provides many important lessons and principles for the camp environment. The first and foremost is safety. While at camp, our UYC program is designed to help campers “challenge their limits” instead of “limiting their challenges.”
Each camp provides a wide range of challenging activities for the campers. Many of these activities, such as arts and crafts, volleyball, softball, or field games, are not inherently dangerous. What few injuries occur in those activities are often minor, perhaps mildly sprained ankles.
In other activities, such as rock climbing or any sport on or in the water, safety must be our primary concern. We make sure that each activity is fully staffed, plus the staff coordinator is certified to teach the activity and prepared for any safety concerns that might arise. As an illustration, at Northwest Camp we have activities at an ocean beach, two lakes, and a river. Our staff for 2014 included 11 certified lifeguards. The safety training and activity organization are just two examples of the benefits of structure at UYC.
Structure also prevents chaos or confusion and provides the boundaries necessary for a successful summer camp. This is in keeping with 1 Corinthians 14:33 1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
American King James Version×: “For God is not the
author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
Psalm 19 tells us that we can learn about God by observing the perfect motion of the earth, moon, and stars. It’s easy to see that our Creator God is the author of perfect structure. At camp, operating according to standards everyone has agreed to provides a sense of security.
Some observers (such as this past year the director of summer camps for the United Methodist Churches of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who visited and participated in our camp for two days) have noted that our camps run like a fine-tuned watch. Staff and campers know where they should be at each hour of the day. The daily Christian living themes and memory verses provide a spiritual emphasis and framework for the day. The daily lessons are reinforced in the various activities, campfire stories, and discussions with dorm parents.
One of the many lessons that campers learn by attending a UYC is that life works best when it works smoothly, according to a structure built upon the Ten Commandments and other important principles in God’s Word.