DAVIS—Sending children off to camp brings to mind the early morning bus departure time, when sponsors and kids wave good-bye to their parents for a week. The Hill family is an exception to this image.

Since 2012, parents Zeke and Lindsey, along with their youngest daughter, Jerica, have attended CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp as a family.

“My husband, Zeke, and I first decided to take off work to be CrossTimbers sponsors in 2012,” Lindsey said. “It turned out (our church) needed both a male and female sponsor for the group we were taking, so we decided to go to camp as a family.  We loved it, and have gone as a family the past three years.”

Throughout those three years, Lindsey has watched her daughter, Jerica, grow up in more than one way.

“One thing that stood out to me this year at camp was how much Jerica had grown,” Lindsey said. “Of course she had grown physically, but what stood out to me is how she had grown spiritually.  She went from being a shy and quiet third grader, who had to be very encouraged to try the ropes course, or even answer questions in a group setting, to a fourth grader who was awarded with a tribal flag for standing out among her tribe, to a fifth grader who was sharing her testimony with a group of kids she had just met,  and who was encouraging the younger kids to have the courage to try new things.”

Working at a mission adventure camp, CrossTimbers staff members are trained and well-equipped to teach kids about world missions.

“The staff at CrossTimbers does an awesome job of teaching the kids about missions,” Zeke said. “It is really eye-opening for (the kids) as they hear stories of missionaries, learn about different cultures, and have the opportunity to do hands-on activities that relate to what they are learning.”

Missions’ time is just one of many teaching opportunities CrossTimbers offers. Other teaching times include activities such as the ropes course,  waterfront, worship times and Tribal Time.

“One of my best memories from camp is Tribal Time,” Jerica said. “It is a time of meeting new people and coming together as a small group to dig a little deeper into what was learned that day.”

Each camper is assigned to a Tribal group for the week with which they meet to discuss various key messages heard throughout the day.

Another way the Hills see camp as a ministry opportunity is the ability to demonstrate a happy, healthy marriage.

“It is an opportunity to model for the kids what it looks like to have God at the center of your marriage, and what it is like for a husband and a wife to worship together, serve together, pray together and have lots of fun,” Lindsey explained.

The Hill family has loved attending camp together and would encourage other families to try it.

“Experiencing camp together as a family the past three years has been incredible,” Zeke said. “We have such great memories of worshiping, learning, and serving together.”

Lindsey agreed that camp has blessed their family.

“It has been a time of bonding for our family, a time of major growth for our daughter, and it has blessed our marriage to serve together in this way,” Lindsey said.

Jerica said she thinks it’s “just fun to come together as a family.”

The next time you sign your child up for camp, take time to consider going together to grow together.

CrossTimbers, which is designed to reach and equip children in 3rd through 6th grade,  is owned and operated by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. For more information on CrossTimbers, visit www.bgco.org/crosstimbers.