The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.
Travel anxieties and the excitement of meeting new people can be overwhelming for anyone. While owning a personal faith and stepping out of our comfort zone is part of what makes camp special, homesickness or reporting some anxiety about the week is common. What is also common in working out our salvation are the feelings of anxiety and fear we sometimes experience. Letting campers learn how to pray and trust God in their preparation is a great opportunity to apply the gospel.
Thankfully God’s Word is profitable and practical. Paul tells us that giving our requests in prayer to a God who is powerful, loving and knowing the future can remedy our anxiety. While we know this, it still takes some intentionality (and courage!) for a camper to leave home for a week with new people away from parents. The best way for parents to pass prayer along to their kids is to model it with them the week before leaving for camp.
It is also helpful to prepare your camper for the tech-free policy for 2019. Connectedness and anxiety too often go hand in hand in the digitally seamless world we have built. For many campers, keeping up with the goings on of daily social media “streaks” is like having hundreds of friends in your pocket at all times to share instantly what is happening. That kind of power can have a draining and pressurizing effect. In a study reported by the CCCA, of camps who implemented a no-device policy, 80% of kids were less stressed and anxious without the expectation to keep up with social media. Our hope is that a week of camp will help kids unplug so they can reconnect to God in prayer.
Something special happens when we pause to unload our anxious heart before God—we become more aware that He is at hand. Parents can talk with their campers, help them pack and pray for them specifically to be sure the time away from home draws them closer to Jesus.