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In the Word
Photo by Laura Akins

Camp is canceled, but 2020 isn’t

When I was in second or third grade, I attended Iron Springs Christian Camp in Whitney, Texas. 

I missed my mom so much, I made myself sick. My parents came to pick me up early, and as soon as I got home, I was miraculously better.

Laura and Travis Akins

Laura and Travis Akins

Despite my separation anxiety, my mom sent me back the next year and the next year and the next. 

When I turned 13, she sent me to Sooner Youth Camp in Ardmore, Okla. I camped there every year until I was 19. And at 21, I came back as a counselor and fell in love with Travis, a fellow staff person who is now my husband. Here I am 24 years and four kids later, still camping at SYC. 

Thanks for sending me to camp, Mom! 

Because of her desire for me to grow in Christ (or her desire to have a week to herself), I have many special camp memories. I made lifelong friends at camp, had my first kiss as a teenager at camp, told my husband I was pregnant with our first child at camp and fell deeper in love with Jesus at camp.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.”

— Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5, New International Version

To say Christian camping is a huge part of my year would be an understatement. But due to the pandemic, I and thousands of others may not have these camp experiences this summer. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe COVID-19 is real and scary, and many are suffering and dying from it. Staying home as a safety precaution is not the worst that could happen to me or to you.

But what if it’s the best that could happen to us?

“What if 2020 isn’t canceled?” wrote Leslie Dwight, a 23-year old aspiring writer, in a now-viral Instagram post. “What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for? A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw that it finally forces us to grow.” 


Maybe this pause — in the middle of our busy lives — is exactly what we need. Maybe it’s time to stop waiting for summer camp to refuel and refresh us for another year. Maybe it’s time to do some growing on our own: 

• Instead of family-style meals with friends, let’s reintroduce family-style meals at home. 

• Instead of midnight devotionals with people we just met, let’s engage in Bible study with family members. 

• Instead of team sports, let’s get off Netflix and play with our kids. Instead of living for one week of fun, let’s spend our summer growing relationships with those closest to us.

“2020 isn’t cancelled,” Dwight concluded. It is, rather, “the most important year of them all.”

Sure, I’ll miss everything about church camp (and I’ll be one of the first in the camp gates next year), but I’m not going to waste this time at home. Besides, my husband would pass out if I made another pregnancy announcement this summer. 

LAURA AKINS is Reviews Editor for The Christian Chronicle. She is youth ministry director for the Heritage Church of Christ in Edmond, Okla., where her husband, Travis, serves as minister. Contact [email protected]. 

Filed under: 2020 Bible camp camp canceled camp cancelled church camp Church of Christ Coronavirus COVID-19 covid19 In the Word Opinion pandemic Top Stories

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