We are pleased to report another successful season at Strong Rock Camp!

On Aug. 2, 2015, 80 campers and 53 staff opened our session with excitement and enthusiasm! Campers from 14 states and three from the United Kingdom were presented with an activity schedule consisting of new unique challenges and old favorites.

By way of introduction, a camp mixer was held Sunday night to allow the campers to get acquainted with one another through a variety of fun and instructional activities. When asked what their favorite book of the Bible was, each camper shouted aloud the name of the book and went in search of other campers and staff who also favored the same book! Once you found a like-minded friend, you linked arms and continued your search for others. The mixer provided a wonderful opportunity to interact and meet new potential friends.

Each morning began with a Christian Living class that focused on our theme, “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It!” Our ministers presented a wide variety of messages focusing upon the importance of not just obtaining the pearl but also protecting it and refraining from tarnishing this valuable treasure.

In the afternoon, the campers had a 15-minute Compass Check to help them refocus on the value of camp and the part they can play in creating an environment where all have opportunity for physical and spiritual growth.

To drive this point home, pearls were given to those campers who went beyond what was simply expected of them. Each day before meals, the camp met outside the dining hall for announcements, which included the handing out of pearls to those campers who excelled in an area or overcame a challenge. One camper received a pearl for overcoming her fear of the blob from a year ago. Having refused to leap onto the blob a year earlier, the camper, with encouragement from her peers, finally overcame her fears and leaped onto the blob surrounded by cheers and celebration from both campers and counselors!

The highly addictive game of gaga ball was officially introduced as an activity this year at Strong Rock, and the pit was rarely vacant. Even during fellowship time, the gaga ball was in motion with campers of all ages participating. Even the ministry got involved, and our very own Jim Haeffele, managed to defeat the campers in an exciting game!

Campers also enjoyed rock climbing, archery, flag football, volleyball, swimming and other exciting activities.

The weather this year was a little on the warm side, with temps getting into the mid-90s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hydration was the word as our campers consumed water and Gatorade in order to keep themselves “liquidated” so they could participate in our outdoor activities.

We had our share of sprained ankles and sore muscles, but our campers kept moving forward. We only had one afternoon with rain, so we halted outdoor activities for two hours and went inside and played Bible trivia and “Name that Tune.” When the sun returned, we cranked up several of the outdoor activities again.  

On Friday evening we welcomed the Sabbath with a group Bible study. Each dorm was given a Bible question to research and then assumed the role of writer for our Personal Correspondence Department and wrote a reply answering the question. 

Like all weeks at camp, the time simply flew! Before we knew it, we were at the final dance Saturday night saying our goodbyes and asking people what Feast site they would be attending! In addition, the phrases Let’s do it again next year  and I’ll be back  were being echoed by campers and staff. 

We asked our campers to be like the merchant of Matthew 13 and seek the ultimate pearl. While they searched for the pearl of great price, God also provided them with other pearls in the form of new friends who have the same goal in mind.

With tearful good-byes and hopes to return next year, we rejoice over a successful year at Strong Rock.

Todd Carey, director