Posts Tagged: Summer Camp

A Life Transformed at Kidder Creek

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Stories of Ministry, Youth.

by Andy Warken, Director of Kidder Creek

Almost 1,500 campers joined one of our camps or came as part of a guest group in 2018 and another 1,200 visited and volunteered during Fall Festival.  Campers came to raft, ride, and hike, and God used these outdoor adventures to help them grow personally, in community and in their faith. Nearly 200 said they made a first time decisions to follow Jesus!

When asked how they grew closer to Jesus campers said:
“By learning how much God loves me”
 “That God knows me and made me and that He has given me purpose.”
“By praying, reading the Bible, through worship, hearing the counselor testimonies and through campfire talks.”

The following is a story that was given to me, by a camper after summer, about a Thursday night Chapel Hill Campfire during Week Two Ranch Camp last summer.  

A Campfire Miracle 

“Around a campfire on the top of Chapel Hill a miracle happened. Maddie, a spunky hilarious Ranch Camper, sang the words of Reckless Love. Her heart was beating faster than usual and for some reason tears were rising in her eyes. As the last words of ‘Reckless Love’ were sung, Christina, the Ranch Camp lead, got up and shared her testimony of how God had changed her life. Maddie listened intently as Christina told her story. Something was different about tonight. As Christina finished her story Maddie blinked away tears. A cabin mate sitting beside her, asked, ‘Are you okay, Maddie?’  ‘I don’t know, I feel something in here,” Maddie muttered and pointed to her chest.  ‘Hmm, I don’t know what that means. I think you should go talk to a counselor,’ the other girl whispered.  Maddie agreed, got up, and went to speak with her counselor who was able to help her understand the gospel and lead her to Jesus.”

Maddie was one of eight girls that gave their lives to Jesus that night. Under the stars and amidst the smoke the Lord touched their hearts. The Lord performs miraculous things like this all the time at Kidder.

We saw many miracles, large and small, happen in 2018, we look forward to many more stories of lives transformed in 2019! 

Andy Warken, Director of Kidder Creek

Let’s Re-Wild Our Kids

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Parents, Youth.

by Nate Pfefferkorn, Vice President of Strategy

As a parent we all want our kids to be resilient; to be able to rise up to challenges and respond well to difficulties. The problem is we see our kids living life tethered to a screen, indoors and highly scheduled moving swiftly from one activity to the next. Their lives have been scrubbed of danger, risks and obstacles have been removed and in this sanitized life everything is scripted for them. This is not the wild life God has in mind for any of us.

Risk and challenge are vital parts of a balanced childhood. Exposure to healthy risk, particularly physical, enables children to experience fear, and learn the strengths and limitations of their own body, make smart choices for themselves and develop resilience. Yet as parents, many of us are unaccustomed to allowing even the tiniest degree of danger to enter the lives of our children. That’s why roaming distance (how far children play from home) has decreased by 90% in the past 30 years. It’s no wonder that the simulated risk of video games is so compelling and addictive – the real world seems rather tame in comparison. 

So how can we put some of that danger and excitement back into the lives of our kids?

The answer is step-by-step and in an age-appropriate way. First, the outdoors is key. Time outside in God’s creation every day is essential, and not just in the neat and controlled environment of the play area. Encourage young ones to poke around under logs and permit your primary-age children to leave your sight. Unsupervised time, even just in the yard, might lead to more cuts and scrapes or fights between siblings, but it is what many of us did as children and it teaches them how to make risk-related decisions for themselves.

Learning to light a fire is a rite of passage for most children, and from the age of three they can be actively involved in feeding and managing a small campfire. Of course make sure they’re not wearing flammable clothing and show them how to behave safely, but you will be astonished by the respect they show the flames.

Swimming and understanding water is an essential and healthy risk. Let them climb in streams and fall over in the lake wearing all their clothes, let them slide in mud on a salt marsh or go wild swimming in a river. Your job as an adult is to manage the risk not eliminate it – checking the tides before venturing on to a salt marsh or researching good swimming rivers, then stepping back to allow them to make their own decisions.

Risky sports are a reasonably controlled way to allow your children to feel fear. Horse riding or skiing might be expensive, but what about biking, tree-climbing or rock-climbing? Your child will fall at some stage, and they will probably feel out of control – but wow, they’ll feel alive.

Re-wilding your kids and introducing them to risk and joy in God’s creation doesn’t have to just be your responsibility.

A summer camp experience away from you can develop confidence and self-assurance like nothing else. Alongside excellently trained young adult staff, Kidder Creek campers ride horses, raft rivers, jump off cliffs, climb trees and get dirty while exploring God’s wild love for them.

Nate Pfefferkorn, Vice President of Strategy

High Adventure Camp

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Youth.

by Nate Pfefferkorn, Vice President of Strategy

Kidder Creek Adventure Camp is the perfect place for middle school and high school students to develop grit; strength of character. At summer camp youth take on simple challenges like going on a hike, conquering a high ropes course or shooting a bow and arrow and encounter more complex challenges like getting along with a new group of peers, learning how to ask for help from others, and taking appropriate risks without parents nearby.

Cliff Jumping at Kidder Creek High Adventure Camp

The best summer camp experiences offer chances for youth to take manageable amounts of risk and responsibility under the guidance of loving staff and counselors while addressing the big questions of where do we come from, what’s our purpose and where are we going. Kidder Creek Adventure Camp has been intentionally designed from the ground up to engage and challenge youth on a journey to adulthood that includes making a faith in Jesus their own. 

Adventure Camp starts and ends at Kidder, but journeys beyond for rafting on the Klamath River, sleeping under the stars and hiking to spectacular waterfalls. At Kidder Creek campers enjoy pond time, bmx bikes, laser tag and the high ropes course. Lessons flow naturally from the many teachable moments embedded in the high adventure experience while daily devotions, and counselor-led discussions are geared to help 7-12th grade students go deeper spiritually.

At Adventure Camp every camper will come home having experienced these 5 things:
  1. New relationships. with peers and amazing young adults that point them toward a relationship with Jesus. They’ll gain practice in negotiating their own growth in relationships.
  2. A new identity. Camp is a place to try new things and new ways of behavior. Our staff will help every camper find something they can proud of and do well. 
  3. Self-assurance. Campers will have new experiences and face challenges which they’ll overcome. Youth who experience themselves as competent in the face of adversity come home as better problem-solvers.
  4.  Lasting memories. Activities like white-water rafting, cliff jumping and high ropes courses will be highlights of the week but cabin times and one-on-one’s with counselors will leave lasting impacts.
  5. Belonging. There is no more powerful way to bring diverse groups of youth together than camp. Under the guidance of amazing counselors each camper will know they are part of a tribe and are a special and unique child of God.

The life change that happens at camp is powerful and gives youth a unique combination of experiences that helps them develop grit and connects them to their true purpose— to love other people and to love God. 


Nate Pfefferkorn, Vice President of Strategy