Beyond my relationship with Jesus and the five people that I live with, there are three other things that have a special place in my heart. They are the local church, Michigan Football and Lake Ann Camp.
Throughout the past several years, many people have asked why Lake Ann? It actually has very little to do with what people think. Yes, I arrived at Lake Ann Camp for the first time in 1985. My first counselor’s name was Beaker and I failed my swim test. Beyond that, I don’t remember much about camp in 5th grade. My most significant spiritual moments came later in life at two other camps. Yes, Lake Ann Camp is in Michigan. I would take kids to Lake Ann Camp if it was in Texas! The location is not why Lake Ann Camp is so special to me.
Let me take you back to 2002. I was a relatively new youth pastor and had the task of finding a camp for elementary kids at our church in Spring Lake, Michigan. I visited a handful of camps during that year and none of them gave me what I was looking for. The fact is I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I know I didn’t find it.
In January 2002, I took a handful of high school students on a winter retreat. This was my first return to Lake Ann since I was a kid. I was curious. There was a presence that I didn’t find any place else. I remember walking down a path on that cold winter day (it was 5 degrees) talking to God about this task that I had. I will never forget what took place next. I heard these words very clearly, “This is the place, Chris. I don’t want you to just bring kids here, I want you to have a relationship with this camp. This place will become significant in your life.” I don’t have many moments like that, but I never forget them.
Throughout the past 15 years, God has used Lake Ann Camp in some amazing ways that I could never have imagined. In 2006, we moved to Indiana and to a “non Lake Ann” church. We took 3 kids to camp in 2007. In 2015, we took a charter bus with almost 40 kids.
Bridget and I have some strong opinions about Lake Ann Camp as we have watched dozens of kids, including our own embrace Jesus. I have had conversations with campers from all over country that God has melted and molded during a week of camp. My eyes tear up even as I write this. A couple thoughts for you.
- If you send your kids to Lake Ann, they will be confronted by the Holy Spirit. They will have to decide what they want to do with Jesus.
- If you send your kids to Lake Ann, they will have more fun and gain deeper friendships than any other thing they did that summer.
- If you send your kids to Lake Ann, they will receive almost two years of spiritual growth in one week. It is so intentional.
Final story. Last summer, I was walking away from a Sunday night counselor meeting when I saw a couple walking through camp. After a bit of small talk, they were brand new and needed some direction about camper check-in the next morning. I answered their questions and asked how they found Lake Ann. They ran across the camp on “Fox and Friends”. They said if this camp is good enough for a national news program, it’s good enough for our family. Lake Ann Camp has a reputation that goes beyond the midwest. Lake Ann is a place that will assist you, as parents, in shaping your kids to follow Jesus Christ for many years to come.
You can learn more about Lake Ann Camp by visiting www.lakeanncamp.com.