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Life at Camp

A Taste of Miracle Camp

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Kids shout with echoes of delight. Boats hum with ecstatic tubers on the lake. The zipline whirs in the distance. Birds chatter in the trees near the archery, paintball station, and high ropes course. Worship music floats out the chapel door. What do these sounds have in common? They are all heard at Miracle Camp!

In today’s non-stop society running on caffeine and jam-packed schedules, you could describe Miracle Camp as an oasis. The camp’s layout perfectly complements the surrounding nature, resulting in a pleasant place of respite. The waterfront view, winding trails, and myriad of activities provide high-quality adventure. An aura of wonder fills the air, allowing space to slow down and enjoy life. What could be better than the small-town feel with the 100+ acres of land offering opportunities to play, relax, and wander?

Adding to the beauty, the sense of community at Miracle Camp is prominent. Joy radiates from the staff as you pass them within the comfort of Bankson Lodge. Their inclusiveness embodies the love of Jesus, and you will smile as the housekeepers greet you by name on your way to breakfast. The 45 Summer Staff and 11 Program Office leaders serve with a genuine sense of caring, leaving no one a stranger for long. One of the seven interns runs from one activity to the next, waving as you head to the beach for some kayaking. The top-notch hospitality creates a home away from home.

Prior to your arrival, each staff member is equipped with proper training, provided with opportunities for discipleship, and encouraged to employ a component of personal retreat. These elements are necessary as the teams prepare for a busy season hosting campers and guest groups. Organization is key, and arrangements for comfortable lodging, delicious food, and an exciting itinerary are drawn up to ensure the success of your stay.

While many roles of the staff are obvious, the behind-the-scenes people and work are just as important to the most efficient and successful functions of this camp. You may notice the cleanliness, but miss the woman diligently sweeping the room or the man power-washing the windows. You may observe the beautiful landscape, but not see the ones spending hours on their hands and knees planting flowers. Behind your enjoyable stay were hours spent on the phone and in the office in preparation. Frequently, the Friends of Camp, the regular volunteers, are onsite contributing to the work that plays a powerful role in the daily operations.

The whiff of a campfire drifts through the evening breeze, mixing with a hint of freshly mowed grass. From the interactions with the staff to pleasant accommodations to activity preparations, bringing glory to God is evident throughout every detail. The safe and relaxing atmosphere at Miracle Camp offers loads of laughter, stretches of rest, and opportunities to encounter Jesus. As you pass the lake on your way out, you will glance back at Miracle Camp in your rearview mirror with a renewed spirit, happy memories, and the anticipation of planning your return trip.

If you would like to find out more information about Miracle Camp, click the button below!

The Generator is Up and Running!

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Last year, as part of the Keeping Faith Campaign, we were able to purchase a generator that will power the Chapel, Evergreen, and the Lodge (including the Dining Hall) in case of a power outage. We are excited to share with you that this generator is now completely hooked up and up and running!

We want to say THANK YOU for all of your support towards the Keeping Faith campaign. The generator is a huge addition to camp because, not only will it keep lights on when the power goes out, but it will also eliminate any potential distractions during power outages during chapel sessions and while guests are on campus. One of the most important roles the generator will play, though, is supplying power to our dining hall and the large refrigerators and freezers we have on campus. On any given weekend, we could have thousands of dollars worth of food in our kitchen. With the generator, we now won’t have to worry about having to throw out food due to the power being out.

We appreciate your support in helping us continue to improve Camp’s resources. We are very excited with what the future of Miracle Camp looks like and would love to have you partner with us in our mission to glorify God and share the Good News of Jesus with more and more people every year. If you would like more information on the Keeping Faith Campaign, or if you would like to help support us with a financial gift, visit www.miraclecamp.com/keepingfaith/!

Evergreen Update: $300,000 Match Reached!

By | Giving, Life at Camp, Updates | No Comments

We are excited to announce that we have officially reached our $300,000 matching goal on the Evergreen Project! Thank you for your help in funding this project, which will allow us to serve more guests for Summer Camp, Man Camp, Women’s Retreat, Ice Camp, and Marriage Retreat. The addition of the 4,000 square foot meeting space will also provide the opportunity to host at least 10 more guest groups every year.

Construction on the Evergreen Project is already underway! We are anxiously waiting for weather to improve, so construction on the foundation can continue!

We want to say THANK YOU for all of your support of the Evergreen Project and the Keeping Faith campaign. Because of your help, we have been able to completely fund the Evergreen Project and serve our guests to the best of our ability every year. We love seeing more and more people come through our doors and hear the message of Christ preached. It is because of your generosity the Miracle Camp exists and can serve the local Church!

Our Mission: Affordable Quality

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Miracle Camp desires to give our guests the best bang for their buck. We long to provide excellent service and facilities at a reasonable price to the people who come on campus. There are many ways that we as a camp offer exceptional quality at an affordable rate, including our housing, the food we serve, and the activities we provide. We are always looking to continue to improve our facilities, activities, and programming while keeping costs low for our guests.

To continue to provide affordable quality for those who come to camp, we have implemented a price freeze for all of our 2018 programmed events! This means the price that you paid in 2017 for summer camp, man camp, women’s retreat, and any of our other programmed retreats will not increase in 2018! Affordable quality shows that our staff has a passion to be good stewards of the things that God has given us. We want to put our guests first and serve them with humility and excellence. We hope that more and more people can come through our doors to hear the message of Jesus Christ preached while also being able to enjoy a time of fellowship with those around them.

Our Mission: Creative Programming

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In all of our retreats, we are continually trying to find the balance of providing new and unique activities for our guests while also continuing to implement the things that people love and look forward to every year. We love seeing guests come back to a retreat year after year, so we are always looking for the best ways to serve them and help them enjoy their time. From adding new activities to our Man Camps, Women’s Retreats, and Parent/Child Retreats to completely changing the look and schedule of Summer Camp, we always want to keep improving the things we do while also sticking to the things that make Miracle Camp the place it is.

We hope that by adding new activities like archery battle, treasure hunts, and trivia, we can appeal to more and more people and bring them to a place where they will hear the message of Jesus preached. As we said before, our greatest desire is to facilitate life change by helping people grow closer to God and to glorify Jesus. Every part of our mission, from affordable quality to church partnerships, plays into this goal. We want the Good News of Christ Jesus to be heard, and Miracle Camp will be a place where that happens.

2017 Was a Great Year!!

By | Life at Camp | No Comments

What a year 2017 has been! We are so grateful for the many things God did in this place throughout this year and we look forward to what He will do in the future. We want to say THANK YOU! Through your continued support, we were able to see 10,360 guests come through our doors and we are excited that so many people were able to hear the message of Jesus Christ preached. Thank you for your committed prayers for God to continue to work in this place and for your financial support to allow us to keep providing the best experience for our guests. This year, we were able to break ground on the Evergreen Project and begin the renovation of this building. The renovation will allow us to keep serving more guests every year, as well as, provide excellent housing and meeting spaces for the people who come onto campus. As we look ahead to 2018 and the years to come, our mission of preaching the message of Jesus Christ and serving our guests to the best of our ability has not changed. Prayerfully consider partnering with us through prayer or with a financial gift to help us continue to serve guests to the best of our ability. Your contributions go to more than the construction of buildings and keeping the lights on; they impact each and every man, woman, and child that comes and experiences the love of Christ. If you would like to make a donation, click here!

Only $10,000 To Go!

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We are excited to announce that we are only $10,000 away from reaching our $300,000 match for the Evergreen Project! We have until the end of December to raise the final $10,000 in order to completely fund the renovation of the Evergreen building!

As always, we can’t say thank you enough for all of your gifts, prayers, and support as we continue to improve camp and look ahead to the message of Jesus Christ being shared with more and more people every year. We are close to reaching our $300,000 matching opportunity, but we need your help to get there! Donations of any size go a long way to help the ministry here at Miracle Camp.

If you would like more information on the Evergreen Project, click here and check out everything that is included in this renovation! If you would like to come alongside us and make a donation, head to www.miraclecamp.com/giving!

Our Mission: Gracious Hospitality

By | Life at Camp, MC Squared | No Comments

Since camp began, we have aspired to serve our guests with gracious hospitality. This means that we look to put the guests above ourselves and help them enjoy their time at camp. Our staff works diligently to provide the best week or weekend possible for the people who are on our campus. We want you to be free of anything that would distract from the time your group has to relax, worship together, and get away from the business of your daily life.

Gracious hospitality is an essential part of our mission because it shows our heart for the people that come to camp. We want to serve our guests in humility and show the love of Christ to anyone that is on our campus. Ultimately, we hope that the attitude of our staff will point people towards Christ and that He will be praised as a result.

Our Mission: Church Partnerships

By | Life at Camp, MC Squared | No Comments

Here at Miracle Camp one of our greatest desires is serve the local Church. We want to be able to come alongside Churches and be a place where members of the Church can come together, build relationships, and study God’s Word together while continuing these conversations after camp is over. However, we know that camp cannot replace the Church, nor would we want it to. We know that a healthy relationship with Christ must consist of more than just one week or weekend a year at camp so we want to prepare others for life after camp. We want to show our guests how to read the bible as well as help them get plugged in with a Church in their community.

Camp’s mission is to help people grow closer to God and glorify Christ Jesus and we are convinced that Church partnerships are a major part of fulfilling our mission. We believe that the local Church is the hope of the world and that regular community with other believes can lead to a healthy relationship with Christ Jesus.

Why is Working at Camp the Best Summer Job Ever?

By | Life at Camp, MC Squared, Staff, Summer Camp | No Comments

Hey! My name is Rob Haworth. I am a recent graduate of Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois and I am currently a youth pastor in Omaha, Nebraska. During my years at Olivet, I spent three summers at Miracle Camp (two as a Counselor, one as Head Male Counselor). I still cherish the relationships I built there and count those as some of the most incredible, God-filled times of my life. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll try to describe just what Miracle Camp means to me. It’s an impossible task, really. Try fitting Miracle Camp’s one and only Bankson Lake into a water bottle and you’ll know the struggle; but, as many before me have done, I will try my best to do justice to this amazing place.

The word that comes to mind when I think of camp is “impact.” In almost every testimonial, from staffers and campers alike, the word is everywhere. Miracle Camp’s own mission statement is completely focused on “facilitating life change.” That impact is reflected by the vast majority of summer staff that work at camp because they’ve spent their lives there. The counselors they’ve had, the friendships they’ve made, the messages they’ve heard: it all contributes to a deep desire to invest in that same kind of change in the lives of students. The memories they have and the culture in which they’ve grown up motivate them to serve. I love those stories. But that is not my story.

I was 18 years old, a freshman at Olivet, and I had no clue there was a place called Miracle Camp. I met a guy on my floor, now a good friend of mine, who had worked there before. He talked about it so much, almost like it was a dream. I know what he was feeling now, but back then it kind of freaked me out! He ended up showing me the staff video and, although it looked different than anything I had ever experienced before, it also seemed like a ton of fun. With Christmas break over and the summer looming on the horizon, my search for a job intensified. I knew God was calling me to work with youth, but I didn’t know where. Finally I submitted my application and, long story short, I got the job. I was a counselor at this mystery Christian camp in Michigan.

Staff training arrives and I pull up to camp. The grounds were beautiful and it was all very impressive, but the staff was what blew me away. Immediately I was accepted. I was supported, cared for, and taken into the family. As staff training went on, I began to learn more about what Miracle Camp does, the mission behind it, and the goals it seeks to achieve. Every week during my first two summers as a counselor, I was able to touch the lives of campers and learned more about what Miracle Camp is. Every single day this last summer as head male counselor that I tried to lay down my rights, comfort, and time for the staff so that they could show love painted a clearer picture of camp’s purpose.

The main way camp helped me grow was that it brought 1 John 3:16 to life. I thought I understood the verse, which reads, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters,” before I worked at camp. Looking back, I had no idea what it meant, but I quickly grew in my understanding, prompted by a mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that brought me to the end of myself. Even now, as I continue striving to look more like Christ , I view that lesson as one of the most valuable that I have ever learned.

Sitting here racking my brain for the words to express everything camp that is into a neat concluding paragraph, I understand that this is an impossible task. I can’t think of words or phrases to sum it up. This isn’t writer’s block, though. My mind is anything but blank. The issue is that when I think of camp, I don’t think of words; I see faces. The people serving next to me all summer; the campers having a blast in a game or experiencing God in a chapel service; the laughter, the exhaustion, the tears: they all come flooding back bringing with them memories that perfectly describe what Miracle Camp is. What make Miracle Camp special are the people. It’s a staff united by one faith, energized by one Spirit, striving towards one mission. It’s God working through His servants to bring joy, show love, and build His Kingdom. That’s what Miracle Camp is. That’s Bankson in a bottle.

Check out this video from my first summer at camp to see a tiny glimpse of some of the things that I’ve experienced here at Miracle Camp and Retreat Center.