Summer is a few months away, but now’s the time to make plans for your child to attend one of Xenos’ summer camps—camps that are fun, but can also serve as a spiritual turning point in their lives.
TNT Camp is for 4th and 5th graders and runs from June 22nd-26th. Middle-schoolers can go to Blowout Camp July 1st-6th. And Epic is for high-schoolers, and runs June 28th-July 4th. Registration is open now for Epic and Blowout Camp, and registration for TNT Camp will open later this month.
Student Ministries Director Joe Botti says getting kids away from distractions helps them turn their focus more completely on God and consider His role in their life. As kids hear challenging Bible teachings, there’s time for them to think and respond, and they’re given the chance to trust their lives to God.
Joe says the camps also offer a great opportunity to build healthy relationships with their peers. Because they spend a lot of time together, new friendships have a chance to start and existing friendships have a chance to deepen. Sometimes the time together creates conflicts, and kids learn to work these conflicts out.
TNT Camp, for 4th and 5th graders, is built around discovering what God is doing around the world--with a unique focus on world missions. It’s a full-day program at Building X, including one optional overnight.
Camp Director Amy Cooksey says each year they pick a region—this year Cambodia—and explore what life is like there and how God is working to reach people there. TNT Camp is both spiritually and educationally stimulating. Each day includes Bible teaching, memory verse challenges and small group discussions on spiritual content. Amy says, "At the same time, students also get to learn about life in another country, hear stories from short-term and long term missionaries and try foods from the country! Our hope is that kids gain new understanding about how God is moving around the world, and see that following Him is a blast."
Amy says they pay close attention to the needs of this age group, offering stimulating content and extra time for friendship building, fitting for their maturity level. “Our hope is to provide kids with a step-up from VBS that will prepare them for Blowout Camp in their middle school years.”
Blowout Camp is for middle-schoolers, and this year is at a new location: Camp Michindoh in Hillsdale, Michigan. Students will be transported from Columbus to the camp by commercial bus (as opposed to parents taking them), with the cost included in the fee. You can see a video preview of the camp here.
Junior High Assistant Director Brad Dufault says students often have the highest quality and quantity of Christian fellowship while at camp. “Many students who are familiar with the ideas of building spiritual friendships, spending time with God, and serving in the church actually experience those things in a new way at camp.” They also deepen their understanding of the Bible, with kids memorizing a number of verses throughout their time at camp.
One of the most significant aspects of Blowout Camp is that it’s so much fun. Brad says, “It banishes the idea that God is lame, which is the number one misconception junior high kids face.”
Hundreds of high schoolers will take part in Epic at Spring Hill Camp in Indiana this summer. Because they are older their time is much less structured. They can enjoy a variety of camp activities like swimming, canoeing, and zip-lining. They stay in cabins with other people from their home church, offering them great time to build their friendships and enjoy time discussing the things they’re learning in evening teachings and personal time in the Bible.
Camp Director Brian Adams says the camp is truly a spiritual turning point for many who attend. “We see several students come to Christ at Epic each year. And living in fellowship has a dramatic impact on many students’ view of the Christian life, bringing a lot of excitement.” Here's a look at what to expect.
Brian says the camp also opens the door to new adventures. “I see kids from broken homes getting first-time experiences they might otherwise never have, like kayaking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.”
High School Central Teaching teacher Nick Hetrick says he's seen Epic accelerate the spiritual growth of students, since they are living with their home church leaders for a week. "For students, it's a chance to see their leaders, whom they often view as role models, live out their spirituality for a whole week, not just for a few hours on a home church or a CT night. For leaders, it's a chance to share a full week of fellowship where they can build memories, invest lots of extra time, and have quality spiritual interactions with their students."
He says Epic is fortunate to have high school leaders who consider it a privilege to go on the trip. "That's not just something that makes the week run smoothly--it's a key reason God is able to accomplish so much at Epic."
While each of these three camps is tailored to the ages they serve, there is an overarching goal to offer a spiritually refreshing and challenging time, helping both younger and older students begin a relationship with God and entrust their lives to Him.
Joe Botti says these camps are not only for kids who are Christians. He says the teachings are purposefully relevant for all students. “Many non-Christian kids attend and many put their faith in Christ at these camps—literally dozens each year.”
For families who cannot afford the cost, there are scholarships available. All students receiving aid are required to participate in fund-raisers and community service projects, which ensures they are earning the help they're receiving.
Here are links if you want to learn more or register your son or daughter:
- 4th and 5th grade: June 22nd-26th TNT Camp (registration coming soon)
- Middle School: July 1st-6th Blowout Camp
- High School: June 28th-July 4th Epic