EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” – I Corinthians 2:9 NKJV
Sidney & Alice Anderson. Ray Anderson. Earl Matteson. Herb & Millie Hazzard. Irving Larson. Harris Hanson. Archie Anderson. Roy Larson. Harvey Nelson. John & Verna LaBarre. John Siemens. Ivar Blomberg. Paul Pegors. Charles Curtis. Florence Carlson.
Heroes, all of them, in Camp Lebanon’s founding years. They had big dreams, no doubt, but did any of these “giants” envision what God was going to accomplish for His glory over these past seventy years? The 46-acre property they purchased for $7000 back in 1947 was a wooded, private getaway for the local banker. Through incredible efforts beginning with the founders and continuing to our day, a rustic summer youth camp is now a year-round ministry to youth, families, and adults that served a record 10,595 guests in 2016. All glory to God!
Like our forefathers, we, too, have big dreams. In the works is a multi-purpose gym and lodge on the North 4, as well as a small retreat facility to replace the Pine Cottage. On the ministry front, a new outreach to young adults is just taking flight. Can a vital ministry to the growing Hispanic populations in Camp’s fifty-mile fly zone be next?
But, who among us would dare to predict all that God wants to do in and through Camp Lebanon over the second seventy years? If the first seventy offer any clues, the Almighty’s work is going to be faith-stretching, costly, and way beyond our wildest dreams! Of course, not many of us will be around to see the final results, but all of us can have a part in helping Camp get to where God wants Camp to go.
Culturally and politically, the years ahead will be vastly different than the era that birthed Camp’s ministries. In recent years, we’ve seen marriage redesigned, genders redefined, and civilities disintegrate. Christians are becoming less welcome in the “Public Square” of ideas, and Bible knowledge is waning across all age spans. The face colors and languages of our neighbors are changing, too, as is our ability to communicate with the masses through a mind-boggling assortment of media. All of a sudden, it seems like we’re riding the zipline to the future while spinning around and hanging upside down!
So, what is a camp ministry to do? The Master’s Call is clear. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” For Camp, this means a rededication to the founding vision, which the original constitution declared to be “reaching boys and girls in Minnesota for Christ.” Only now, the opportunities of our day include reaching all ages in a multi-state region. Indeed, the need to help the Church fulfill the Great Commission has never been more urgent or more opportunistic.
Going forward, Camp will need to work harder and harder to make new connections with churches, for there is much we can do as partners. We can preach the Gospel and help win kids to Jesus. We can illustrate in full living color the truth of the Scriptures. We can train young leaders and encourage burned out “old” ones. We can host leadership planning sessions and facilitate church retreats. We can connect churches in common causes and glue together families in God’s love. And, we can demonstrate how to experience God’s “funnest fun!”
When we gather for Camp’s big 70th Homecoming Party on Monday, May 29, there will be much to celebrate. Over the years, God has sent us 72,033 summer youth campers to love in His name. We’ve also seen Him expand our campus with new property for a residence (1991), Eagle Ridge (1992), Sunset Cove (1999), Bass Point (2000), and the North 40 (2006). What’s more, we’ve witnessed the Almighty expand Camp’s calendar to include events for families and parent-child, retreats for men and women, winter sessions for youth, and more recently, ministries for quilters, senior adults, and young adults.
Lord willing, we’ll have exciting announcements about Camp’s future to make on May 29 and a brand new wiffleball stadium to dedicate for God’s glory. Plan now to attend! And in the meantime, please pray with and for us as we ramp up to spring ministries and another full summer of abundant laughter, great fun, and powerful, life-changing ministry to kids. Just as the founders envisioned it!