Residential camps have some distinct advantages. They have key tools that can make the outcome of whatever event tremendously effective.
Before talking about the tools, let’s mention that fact that a camp without clear vision, philosophy, and stated goals is floating on choppy waters. Operating on each staff member’s perspective of what should be done in any given circumstance results in instability and confusion. These issues should be refreshed in the mind of the staff yearly.
Even though we are a more rustic residential camp at L’Arcada, many groups choose to come here instead of going to a much more established facility. Churches, groups or individual campers that come once usually come back. They have said many times to us, “Wow, you do a lot with little.”
We believe this is due to several factors:
- A ready and willing godly staff who are clear on and wholeheartedly agree with the mission, the philosophy, and the goals of the camp. A staff that starts on the same page should see a growing impact over the years.
- Planned living facilities to make the most impact in lives; in other words, being purposeful about the number of children, youth, or adults per cabin. Many of the secular camps in Spain will house 20 campers with one counselor. A better ratio would be seven or eight to one counselor. At L’Arcada we endeavor to put eight campers with a counselor along with a young person learning to become a counselor because our goal is to love and serve each camper.
- Activity options that are fun but also used as outdoor classrooms. These activities need to be kept up and renewed regularly. This encourages campers to return.
- Planned communication zones—benches, etc.—where people can sit and talk about life’s challenges and scriptural answers. Time together creates relationships that lead to life decisions.
- Well-equipped meeting areas that are varied in size to meet varied needs. At our camp these are tents of different sizes—but well-equipped tents.
- Food service that is planned for the particular group, culture, or program. Flexible and quality food service adds greatly to a flexible and quality program.
- Quality is very important in a residential camp. And quality is in the details and in hard work. Lazy staff members do not invest well eternally and will never produce quality programs.
Overall, residential camps have many tools that help them challenge the people they minister to for the glory of God.
David and Debbie have lived in Spain for 37 years working in church planting ministries with the L’Arcada Foundation Camps in the Pyrenees Mountains. They are leaders and teachers in their local church in Girona, Spain. David also serves with CCI-SPAIN and the board of CCI Worldwide.