Teen Retreats at Camp Arcadia are more that just a week of fun. They have proven to be life-changing and often life-giving time for teens. Many of you can attest to that first hand!
When we start to think about teen weeks at Camp Arcadia, many thoughts go immediately to the fun: crazy games, goofy leaders, and fun time with friends; and all those things are true and meaningful to the experience. But as we continue to get to know this generation of teens, we start to really understand the impact this time at Camp can really have.
In the most recent edition of Christian Camp and Conference Association’s InSite magazine, I had the chance to read about some of the latest Barna research about this Gen Z (teen) population. These are the three main findings:
- These kids are “Screenagers” – they don’t remember a time before the internet or know how to do many things without using the internet. This exposure isn’t all good.
33% have been bullied on social media
39% say that looking at other’s posts on social media make them feel worse about themselves
Many admit to real anxiety any time they are separated from their mobile devices
- They are Anxious – they don’t really know a time characterized by peace; but instead of war, financial unrest, and widely varied cultural expectations.
Mental health disorders are now among the most common pediatric illnesses
- Their Worldview is Post-Christian – they aren’t connected the church and don’t see value in it.
13% identify as atheist
You can read the whole article here: https://www.ccca.org/ccca/Who_are_your_campers.asp
The great blessing is that camp in general and Camp Arcadia in particular can do so much to influence and care for these teens. Here are just three ways that impact happens everyday at Camp:
Unplug – We take away the phone and intentionally fill time with personal interactions and conversations, hands on time in God’s creation, and lots of silly fun. We live life directly instead of through a screen. It’s a week without stress to impress or living up to the facebook, Snapchat, Instagram life. For many teens, this is the hardest part of the week but also the most rewarding!
“Camp is about getting away from my phone, having fun, and learning about Jesus. It’s amazing!”
Experience Creation – The creation that surrounds Camp Arcadia is pretty incredible. Whether it’s the beautiful blues of Lake Michigan or the green of the trees around the Chief trail, God’s creation is on display everyday. Teens have time throughout their stay to interact, play, meditate, and just enjoy all of it. For many, this is the only chance to hike a sand dune, sit on the beach, experience team-building on our challenge course in the woods, or go on a canoe trip. Time away at Camp and in God’s creation around it is key to creating a peaceful and restful experience for every teen.
“Camp Arcadia is a beautiful place to spend time with God and others. Listening to the waves at night is so peaceful.”
Live Christ – During a Teen Retreat, we have the opportunity to live in Christian community. Many, but not all, of the teens who participate in Alpha and Omega Retreats have some faith background. The reality is that even those kids face pressure to validate their faith life and often pressure to set it aside as they navigate school, sports, friends, jobs, and all the other responsibilities of being a teen. This time together at Camp provides safe space to ask tough questions, encouraging support for faith development, and engaging and meaningful opportunities to participate in worship, Bible Study, and prayer with peers. These few days together build friendships that are accessed all year long, share practical ways to live your faith, provide Christian mentors, and strengthen teens for the journey that lies ahead.
“This week gave me an opportunity to reconnect with God and be open with my faith”
“It means a lot to me because I got to praise God with my new and old friends.”
Teen Retreats are only a week long part of the ministry at Camp Arcadia, but what a difference a week can make! There is still room for the teens in your life to spend a week with us!
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