I went to Windy Gap in July 2003 as a 16 year old girl needing Jesus and searching for a vision for my life. Going to summer camp in this incredible setting, surrounded by caring friends and my volunteer Young Life leaders, is something I will always cherish. It truly was the best week of my life. The conversations and experiences I had then altered the course of my path forever.
A few weeks after I got home from summer camp I was invited by my leaders to come back and volunteer in the dining hall as a work crew member for family camp. Those were the longest, most demanding days I’d experienced at that point in my life. However, they didn’t feel like work and proved to be the most rewarding. You see as a 16 year old girl I witnessed what it meant to live in the freedom only Christ can provide and pursue Him whole heartedly alongside your family. It became my deepest desire.
On my last night at Windy Gap, over 15 years ago, I prayed God would bring me back to this place with my family one day. I pleaded He would provide a husband who loves Jesus and this ministry as much as I do. I couldn’t see His plan then but I made some hard choices in obedience to His call and let Him work in my life.
And boy, did God ever come through for me and those prayer requests whispered in the night so long ago. I am just blown away by His provision to not only provide an incredible husband, two healthy children but also to bring me back to this place with blossoming friendships just seems like too much. He really is a good, good Father.
In celebration of those gifts and for your viewing pleasure, I’ve created my top 10 list of why you should bring your kids to Young Life Family Camp including my most memorable moments of the weekend. I hope you’ll enjoy my documentation. 🙂
Endless opportunities to build sandcastles, problem solve with new friends, and play your own kid version of volleyball.
9. Mealtime magic
You step out of the kitchen for the weekend and sit down to build community, create memories and be entertained with lots of laughs. Each table is perfectly set, covered in prayer and made possible by volunteers who chose to spend their weekend serving your family. Oh, and their giant chocolate chip cookie pie topped with an enormous scoop of vanilla ice cream is pretty much life. Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve had it.
8. Camp is beautiful
Young Life Camps are SO gorgeous. They are perfectly themed down to the last detail. I can promise it will exceed your expectations and actually make you believe you’re at a resort, not camp.
7. There’s something fun for the kids to find around every corner.
6. Unlimited coffee and opportunity for family time
Priceless. Young Life does not make a lot of money by offering this weekend to families. From a financial stand point family camp doesn’t make sense but they thankfully host it any way. I believe we were told over $600 was spent on coffee alone (impressive feat for only 2 mornings, parents!) so this is truly just a ministry for you and your family. Take advantage of it.
5. Cheerwine slushies at the Sippin’ Parlor
While delicious, this one is purely nostalgic for me. I can still remember being a 16 year old girl having life changing conversations with my Young Life leaders while sharing Cheerwine slushies together in this very place. It was very surreal to do the same with my husband and kids.
4. Horseback riding at Windy Gap Stables
If you’re 5 feet and under you can do a pony ride. If over 12 years old and tall enough, you can sign up for a full trail ride! Make new friends in line or spend a few minutes catching up with the old ones you came with. Climb the rails, skip rocks, chase each other in the grass; it will all be time well spent.
4. Adventure for the whole family
Young Life Camp offers something for everyone. Zip line into the lake, propel yourself into the water by jumping on the giant trampoline, play beach volleyball, wiffleball, basketball, or frisbee golf, go down the giant waterslide, swim in the pool or relax in the hot tub, or kick back in one of the Adirondack chairs. You really can’t go wrong here.
3. The Hoe Down
Twinkling lights, open air, costumes, a comedy show, and a dance party with all of camp. Enough said.
2. Young Life Club
If you’ve never experienced a YL club, I think your mind might actually be blown. Singing, ridiculous skits that will evoke deep belly laughs, and Gospel centered truth designed to break down barriers and build up your relationship with Christ. It’s as impactful for young kids, high school students and adults alike. Talks given and lessons learned in this room changed my life and helped lead me to where I am today. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience club with your kids.
1) Experience a taste of heaven by spending extended time with other believers.
Laugh together, share memories, and be reminded of the gift of rich community rooted in Christ. How sweet will it be to spend eternity with our good, good Father and experience a homecoming like no other.
If you’re still reading, I know you’re committed to the end. I am so excited to share with you that Andy and I have decided to step up, after a little push, and be the new co-chairs for South Charlotte’s committee. We have enormous shoes to fill but are so ecstatic to take on the opportunity and experiences these new roles will provide. I know He’s going to stretch and grow us through it but it will all be worth while.
We would love to have you come along beside us in our journey. Being a part of committee is only a once a month commitment but it will change you and your family forever. The community found in Young Life is unlike any other. It’s open to anyone who loves Jesus and wants to see his Gospel spread throughout our middle and high schools including students with special needs with Capernum or teen moms with YoungLives.
You were made for this,