This year, Adelle, Rory, and I (Ellie) were able to attend the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) national conference in Palm Springs, California.
The theme of the conference was BOLD. As far as I know, this is the largest gathering of Christian camps in the United States, so attending the conference means you will learn from the best and have amazing times of worship and the opportunity to fellowship with numerous camps. We did all of this and more!
At a conference, you can always expect to learn something and with three of us attending, we spread out to a variety of sessions over the three days. My most favorite session was one from Camp Cho-Yeh in Texas on “Going from Surviving to Thriving.” In this session, the director talked about how he turned a camp around from having over $1M in debt to being a thriving (and financially sound) ministry! I was inspired by his story and that fact that we are already doing a lot of the things he mentioned to ensure ministry viability. While our goal as a camp is not to make a profit, it’s helpful to have sound business and financial principles; otherwise, we couldn’t be able to operate!
CCCA does an excellent job facilitating worship amongst Christians from a variety of backgrounds. Each day we had an opportunity to hear from God’s word and worship our creator. It was a great time of refreshment and refocusing on why we do the work that we do. In one time of worship at women’s event before the conference officially started, I was given a vision from the Lord of the Holy Spirit permeating Camp Cedarbrook and covering the property and our ministry with the protection of the Lord. This was an amazing gift for me as I seek to lead camp and made the entire conference worth it!
At the first national conference we went to, Rory said, “This is the most Christians I’ve ever seen in one place in my life!” Being surrounded by other believers who are in the camping industry definitely reinforces the fact that we are not alone and that we are all striving to impact lives for Jesus through camp. We were able to connect with friends from the Northeast, Wheaton College alumni, and Cedarbrook alumni, and we randomly sat at a table with two staff members from Camp Cherith in Minnesota! The underlying theme among these connections was not competition, but that we are all working hard to run the best camps possible and reach the next generation for Christ.
And we had fun too! We are friends as well as co-workers, so we took some time to explore the beauty of God’s creation at Joshua Tree National Park and celebrate Adelle’s birthday.
Amy “Ellie” Culhane is the Director of Camp Cedarbrook in the Adirondacks. She started as a Pathfinder camper and finished Camper-in-Leadership Training in 2002. When she’s not at camp, she lives with her husband and son in Illinois.