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Beyond the camp gates

DAVIS—Since it was created in 2008 by combining the programs of the former boys’ Camp Hudgens and girls’ Camp Nunny-Cha-ha, CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp has provided opportunities for children to interact with missionaries.

This summer, the camp opened in a new location near Davis. The relocation of CrossTimbers includes many changes, but the mission mindset and Gospel presentation have not been forgotten.

Throughout the day, children take part in many activities, including a ropes course complete with a zip-line, climbing on inflatables during water activities and shooting arrows and paintballs during target sports. While these activities are a way to entertain the children, the staff also uses them as teaching opportunities.

“To sin in archery is to miss the mark,” said Colby Sorenson, CrossTimbers program assistant. “Curtis, the  target sports leader, explains how we all miss the mark in our lives and provides a decision time.

“There have been several children who have made decisions because of this spiritual application time,” Sorenson said.

“You plan and pray for decisions to happen during chapel,” said Glenn Barber, CrossTimbers program director and Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma childhood ministry specialist, “but when you have decisions at other sites, those are like little bonuses.”

During the first week of camp, there were a total of 40 decisions. There were 12 rededications, three assurance of salvation decisions, and 25 who gave their life to Christ for the first time.

“At every one of our activities our staff is trained to share a specific lesson and give a time for the kids to respond,” said Barber. “All of the staff members are trained on how to talk to a child about salvation.”

The staff come mainly from various Baptist Collegiate Ministries. The registration process includes a written application and an interview.

“The staff is expected to be fully engaged with the kids,” said Barber. “There is consistent hands-on interaction between the staff and the kids.”

The staff has a full schedule, with 10 camps in an eight-week period. Each camp lasts four days, and in between camps, a staff member may have one or two days off before the next camp begins.

To pour back into the staff and keep them from burning out, Barber tries to present a trophy to a staff member each night.

“When we took over the camp, we found boxes of trophies,” he said. “The other night, we had a staff member give away her Bible because one of her girls did not have one. I found the biggest trophy I could find to recognize her.”

“Our staff this year has been incredible,” Barber added. “There is a great friendship and team spirit throughout the staff.”

With a new location and new staff members, there are many goals and dreams for CrossTimbers to grow.

“I would like to see every staff member have the chance to lead a child to Christ,” Sorenson said. “A lot of them have already had that chance, so I am excited to see more of them.”

Being constantly involved with the children provides many opportunities for the Gospel to be shared and foundations to be built.

“One of the goals of CrossTimbers every year is to see kids do things they have never done before,” said Barber, “Whether that is jumping off a tower to soar down a zip line, or walk down the aisle and receive Christ.”

June 25 and July 18 will provide two opportunities for Southern Baptists to experience the mission of CrossTimbers through preview days. For more information, visit www.bgco.org/crosstimberspreview and sign-up to visit CrossTimbers.

“The best way for Baptists to understand what we do at CrossTimbers is for them to see camp in action,” said Kassie Sweeney, BGCO childhood ministry assistant. “We want to give church members the opportunity to see first-hand how we do camp differently.“

Annie Corser

Author: Annie Corser

Annie is an Office Assistant & Writer for the Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Annie Corser.

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