Seventy-two campers and staff joined forces to make the December 2022 South Africa summer camp a tremendous success. The two dozen teens hailed from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), and Zambia, from where some of our campers and staff braved very difficult bus journeys to reach camp and return home. Thankfully, God provided powerful protection along the way. We welcomed staff from these nations, as well as from Ghana and the United States.
The camp was again held on the Western Cape at the Bergkroon Faith Centre, nestled at the base of the majestic Hawekwa Mountains. Camp director Lawdi Ferreira began the camp by reminding all in attendance that this was God’s camp and that we must remember this reality throughout our time there. And God was certainly present! He blessed the weather with unseasonably cool temperatures most days—so overheating was not an issue—and He richly blessed the attitudes of all in attendance. The theme of the daily Christian Living classes this year was “What Are You Doing with Your Life?” Ministers Lawdi Ferreira, Patrick Wallace, Ryan van der Watt, and Scott Winnail presented daily interactive classes that included “What Lies Behind Your Comfort Zone?,” “Learn All You Can,” “Build a Relationship with God,” and “Do You, like God.”
The focus of the camp was reinforced daily as activity directors ended every activity with a discussion of the spiritual lessons the campers had learned. The Evening Reflection each night also circled back to the camp theme and Christian Living class topic of the day. Campers (both teen and preteen) were encouraged to focus on teamwork and avoid creating cliques, and as a result, an inspiring degree of unity and camaraderie ensued.
Camp activities were wide-ranging, including horseback riding, noodle hockey, soccer, water polo, team building, and a very challenging obstacle course. Arts and crafts, woodworking, a speech and journalism class, and a dance class rounded out the curriculum. One highlight was a Zoom presentation from Charlotte, North Carolina, by Mr. Gerald Weston. Another was a team braai (BBQ) cook-off, for which campers were paired with a minister to prepare and present a meal to a panel of judges (ministers’ wives), and the entire camp enjoyed these meals during the lunch hour. The final activity of camp was an awards banquet and dance.
In my years of attending Church summer camps, many of which have been outstanding, this South Africa camp was the most spiritual I have experienced. The focus on God’s way of life was present throughout the camp; each day began with a staff meeting before breakfast, and it ended at night with a spiritually oriented Evening Reflection and hymn singing. Not only were the campers excited, spiritually moved, and motivated by the experience, but so too were the staff. Plans are underway for the South Africa summer camp of 2023, so for those interested in attending as campers or as staff, be sure to contact Mr. Lawdi Ferreira.