The themes of IBSA’s 2021 summer camps forecast a joyous return to the places many adult leaders credit with deepening their faith. Bounce. Rebound. Comeback. If 2020 was a year without camp, this summer is shaping up to be a relaunch of treasured ministries, and memories.
Lynnette Wilson is a big believer in summer camps. She has helped lead camp for her church, First Baptist in Atwood, for many years, and also directs IBSA’s camp for students in junior high and high school.
“It’s something I think you look forward to as a kid. It gets you built up, and focused on your relationship to reconnect with God at a level that you don’t get to connect with regularly,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of a regrowth, or a restart.” Especially in 2021, when people of all ages are especially in need of a getaway.
IBSA camp facilities—Lake Sallateeska and Streator—closed for several months in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. But the camps reopened to small groups late last year, and both are planning Opening Day celebrations to welcome people back to camp in 2021—Lake Sallateeska on May 22 and Streator on June 5. Families are invited to enjoy games and food, plus take part in projects to help the camps prepare for summer.
In June and July, the camps will host IBSA’s weeks designed specifically for children and teens:
>Bounce Camp is offered at both camps for students who have completed grades 3-12 (Streator) and grades 3-6 (Lake Sallateeska).
>Rebound Camp is July 19-23 at Lake Sallateeska for students who have completed grades 7-12.
In addition to kids and student camps, Super Summer, IBSA’s annual discipleship week for students who have completed grades 6-12 is June 29-July 3.
The camp themes have a dual meaning, said Jack Lucas, a director of leadership development for IBSA. Camp is in its comeback year, bouncing back after a year of COVID shutdowns. Also though, Lucas said the camps will help students think through how they rebound from failures in their lives, and build deeper faith in Jesus.
Paul’s words Romans 8:18 will lay a foundation for the camps: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (CSB).
This will be Wilson’s sixth year directing IBSA’s student camp. She said 25 students attended camp the first year, but that number had grown to more than 100 before last year’s shutdown. Just like adults, she said, students are looking an opportunity to get away and focus on their relationship with God.
“I think kids honestly want to disconnect from the worldly distractions,” she said, “that they want to focus on their spiritual growth.”