Conference: I don’t want to be your Camp Best Friend…

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Written by Pam Murphy, Director of Visual Outreach: PNW UMC Camping Ministry,


Last Fall I created a little contest that showed the best bits of each of our camps (read here). It didn’t feel right to do that again…partly because so many people were upset that they didn’t win the taco bar category. My apologies…never again will I judge taco bar 😉 I do however feel morally obligated to say that three of the camps really stepped up their bacon game this year! I won’t say which camps but you know who you are!


One of the best things that came out of this summer was making a new friend. During FOB (Feet on Bunk) time he and I were sitting on the couch coloring (like adults do) and he says to me “you are my camp best friend”. I chuckled and probably blushed and then we went back to our colored pencil masterpieces.  


He didn’t mean it this way but Camp Best Friend seems to have the connotation of getting really close really fast at camp with no intention to continue the friendship outside of camp. That sort of connection breaks my heart a little bit. I crave more than that. I want real, genuine connection with people inside AND outside of camp.


I don’t want to be your camp best friend because I want to be your real friend whom you happened to meet at camp.


This summer our theme was The Way. The title passage being Ephesians 5:1-2, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” That’s The Message interpretation…thank you Eugene.


My takeaway from this summer was that it IS possible to take camp home with you.


To the individual:

A little bit goes a long way in making people feel loved and accepted. Small things like smiling at someone when you pass them on the street or picking something up that someone dropped are both meaningful acts. In an effort to go deeper with people though, invite a new friend over for dinner, or sit as a family around the table. Get out of your comfort zone and ask people questions that you have been timid to ask. Try to get to know people who are different from you; learn about them and what makes them think the way they do.


To the church:

Even though they may not show it, people really want to go deeper. Provide spaces for that. Camp is only one week out of the year for most people, they need your support the other 51 weeks. Check in with your members as much as possible. Continue to challenge your members in ways that spark growth.


A lot of people think of their camp life and their regular life as two separate things. Camp life is the idealistic version and regular life tends to be harder. Whether or not you went to camp this summer I’d urge you to try and apply some of these actions to your day to day. “Actions” is the key word there…go, and ACT in love towards others.


Tell us how you bring your camp life into your daily life?

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