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Swartz Creek, Unity Christian Church
5255 S Linden Rd
Swartz Creek, MI 48473
(810) 655-2675

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On the Shore of Crystal Lake

Posted on August 18, 2011

I have gone to eight church camps in four states.  The Crystal Conference Center on the south shore of Crystal Lake is the best I have seen.  Its facilities, programs and staff are first rate, and the lake itself is a jewel.  This year my wife and I volunteered at a three day mini-camp for incoming first, second, and third graders.  Eight children registered, but only five came, compared to 18 last year.  The ones who came were great kids, but it was sad to have only five enjoying Bible lessons, crafts, games, swimming, and nutritious meals in the dining hall. Camps earlier in the summer had more children, thankfully, but our sparse number left us feeling deflated, wondering why so few.


There are obstacles in sending a child to camp, but there are solutions too.  Money is an issue, but scholarships are available, and churches can hold fund raisers.  For mini-camp, a Tuesday pick up is tough for working parents, but there are retired couples in churches who can pick up children on a weekday.  These issues are important, but they only lie on the surface, a deeper problem is a lack of vision, an inability to see that sending a child to camp is vital to spiritual growth.  For churches who say they have no children, it’s time to think beyond the walls.  What a life-changing thing it would be for a neighborhood child to receive the gift of an unexpected trip to camp.


One Bible lesson this year focused on Jesus’ image of the vine and the branches.  My wife led this session and let the children handle a grapevine found on the shore of Crystal Lake. (The area is known for vineyards and orchards.)  When asked later what they had learned, a blond girl of six said, “We should stay hooked into God.”  She heard Jesus’ message. Sending a child to camp is one of the best ways to help them get hooked into God.  What they learn stays with them for the rest of their lives.


There is no reason a mini-camp should not have 25 children, or even 50, and they would be excited then to attend longer camps when they are older.  Children deserve more than the latest electronic gadgets, which will be obsolete in a year.  They deserve to have their lives changed by God’s grace.  They can find God on the shore of Crystal Lake.


Chris Brundage