Tag Archives: ICYC

Christian Camp – Why?

Eastern Shore has many members, young people and older, who are at youth camp this week. Some are at Backwoods, near Rockford, Alabama and others are at Indian Creek, near Jasper, Alabama. Across the nation, young people are taking a week off from everything else and heading to Christian youth camps. There are at least four major youth camps in Alabama alone.

Why leave the comfort of home for camp?

1. Fellowship

There is a camaraderie among campers that is greater than that seen almost anywhere else. During a week at camp, young people live, study, eat and play among other Christians with similar values. For some, they will associate with more Christians at camp than at any other time in the year. Even those who participate in team sports at home know that the close-knit friendships at camp far outstrip the single purpose friendships on a ball field.

We, first of all, have fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Next, we enjoy fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42) but reject uneven fellowship with the world. As Paul asked, “What fellowship has light with darkness?” Good question!

2. Study

Our campers spend hours in Bible study. Like fellowship, many will spend more hours in the word this week than at any other time during the year. Bible class teachers are chosen for age-appropriate classes that are based on the word of God. All teachers accept the total inspiration of God’s word and teach with the authority that comes from Scripture.

We try to prepare our campers to “give an answer” for any Bible question they may be asked once they return home (1 Peter 3:15). We take seriously, and we teach our campers to do the same, Paul’s admonition to “Study…” God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).

3. Immersion

No, I am not talking about baptism, at least not at this point. I am talking about a week immersed in Christian thought and teaching. In the mornings, campers may be involved in early morning devotionals. They enjoy their meals with thanksgiving to God. During sports activities, they play according to the Golden Rule as well as the rules of the game. Bible studies with qualified teachers mark out the day while prayerful worship begins the evenings. A final large group devotional ends the day while a last devotional and Bible discussion is held in the cabins just before bedtime.

The original Christians enjoyed an immersive faith (Acts 2:42-47). We strive to make sure our campers do too.

4. Fun

And yes, it is fun. Whether we are stirring the purple soup or listening to the harmonious melody of Butterbeans, we have a good time. We cut up and carry on – but never do pranks – in a wonderful time of real fun. Try as we might, we shall never forget some of the skits that have masqueraded as art. We shall never eat with our elbows on the table again and our sides still split when we think of the pink monkeys, a bar of soap and a typewriter!


Why We Camp

Last week 38 from Eastern Shore spent the week in the woods of Walker County Alabama at Indian Creek Youth Camp. It rained almost every day, temperatures hovered around 90 with humidity readings near 100%. 11 of our 38 were adults who volunteered their time to shepherd a total of 148 children. It was fun and uplifting but still a challenging week. Eastern Shore had an especially good showing at camp and provided a significant number of the counselors and staff.

But the question still remains: Why did we go? What was so important that we put band and football on hold for a week and took time away from work to go to camp? Is it really that important?

Christian Camping Provides an Important Retreat

Children face a difficult grind in the everyday world. They are surrounded by images and sounds that argue against strong Christian values. The constant pressure from Satan affects our youth despite church efforts to the contrary. Our children need a break from the world.

Following the assassination of John the Baptist by Herod, Jesus tried to withdraw to a desolate place (Matthew 14:13). In Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew from the crowds and took his disciples with him. Sometimes we need a little break.

Christian camping takes youth and adults away from the world and allows time to work on the important business of building relationships with others Christians.

Christian Camping Builds Lifelong Friendships

Ask any of our youth and they will tell you of new friends made this year and many old friends from the past. Campers come from across the southeast and find love and acceptance from people they would otherwise never meet. There is a sense of camaraderie among campers that will last for a lifetime.

Parents often anguish over their children’s friends. They worry about peer pressure and bad influences that impact their children. These are valid concerns. Of course, not every person your child meets at camp will be a positive influence but most are. They struggle with the same pressures our youth face and can empathize with their struggles. These friendships give strength to their faith and support for those days when our youth feel so alone.

Christian Camping Builds Faith

At the heart of our work is faith. Every activity is designed to help establish, rebuild and renew the faith of the camper. We actually spend hours every day in direct Bible study and worship. Campers sing with voices of angels the old songs and the new worship songs. Their hearts are opened to the truth of God’s word and sound counselors, preachers and teachers fill them with a love for God, for his Son and for the Bible. Our sole aim is to build faith. We are fully aware that some campers will return to homes where Jesus is not uplifted and where God is not honored. So our time with them is precious.

Many campers choose the lofty environment of camp to become Christians. Their time with Christian friends and Bible study helps them to make that great decision. I am confident that some are Christians today because of their time at camp and probably would not be otherwise.

This congregation, Eastern Shore, is a strong supporter of Christian Camping and reaps the benefits. Be sure and find a camper today and ask them about their week. Find someone who did not attend and encourage them to go. It will only lift them higher!


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.


Indian Creek Youth Camp

Indian Creek Youth Camp, Clark Sims week, is now over. What a great week in Walker County Alabama near Jasper, Alabama and just north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 253 people were at the camp for the session that ran Sunday through Friday. 11 were baptized and 31 rededicated themselves to their Lord.

Clark Sims, preacher for the Cottondale Church of Christ, does an outstanding job bringing people together from across the Southeast to worship, study, play and grow as Christians. This was Clark’s 7th year and I hope he has plenty more ahead.

I am exhausted at the moment but will post more with a few pictures tomorrow.

Indian Creek Youth Camp – ICYC – 2010

Indian Creek Youth Camp begins for us today. Although Sunday is the official start date for Clark Sim’s week, we will leave today to get setup. We are expecting upwards of 250 people this week which will likely make it the largest week we have had. I know it will be a great week.

Campers from all across Alabama and some from Florida will join us for a week of fun, foolishness and recreation as well as plenty of Bible study and faith building. Located in rural Walker County, Alabama about halfway between Northport and Jasper, the camp is among the nicer camps within the churches of Christ. The young people will come and build friendships that will last forever. It is a blessing to have a small part in that work. I salute Clark for his dedication and the hours of work he puts into the camp week. He is the magic!

Keeps us all in your prayers as we travel. We plan to be home Friday afternoon.

Indian Creek Youth Camp Begins Today!

pink monkeyIndian Creek Youth Camp is underway! Campers from as far away as Virginia will converge on the wooded hills of Walker County, Alabama today as we begin our 6th summer youth camp under the direction of Clark Sims of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Clark always does a fine job of preparing and running the week for about 200 campers plus assorted counselors and staff. His preparation begins about 6 months before camp and by the time we reach camp he has everything down to a finely organized and smoothly running operation.

I cannot say enough about the campers. They are so easy to love and adore. These are young people who sometimes get little or no encouragement except during camp week. Truthfully, they do more for me that I could ever do for them.

In care you are wondering about the pink money picture – well, you just have to come to camp to understand but the answer is hilarious. Just ask Clark!


For whatever reason, I failed to take my camera to camp this year. Fortunately, Kent Purser had his and has gratefully allowed us to publish some of his images from Indian Creek Youth Camp. A few other images I managed to gather are found [cref 23 in this earlier post].

Sunday Afternoon Registration
Sunday Afternoon Registration

Registration went about as smoothly as I have ever seen. Most of us arrived Saturday and we were registered early. The remainder came Sunday afternoon. In all 252 campers were with us for Clark’s Week. Campers were with us from areas nearby the camp to as far away as West Virginia.

Adult staff and counselors are essential to the success of camp. We were blessed with an incomparable staff of experienced adults who worked hard to bring our young people to a deeper understanding of God’s word.

Several gospel preachers were with us this week with contributed to the growth of our campers. We believe that a Christian camp ought advance the spiritual knowledge of the campers. You can have fun at many camps, we wanted to send our campers home with a better understanding of the Bible.

Part of that effort is our end of week Bible Bowl. Campers prepare for the Bible Bowl throughout the

Campers Prepare for Bible Bowl
Campers Prepare for Bible Bowl

week and then take a challenging exam on Thursday  morning. This year, we took our studies from the book of Colossians.

The tests are given by age. This year, as in the past, our youngest campers scored highest with several teams scoring 100% on the youngest exam.

Within the team competition, the Bible Bowl exam is worth far more than any other component. The winning team this year, Team Andy, won because of their score on the Bible Bowl exam.

One of the most interesting groups to watch at camp are the youngest campers. For the boys, Old Hickory cabin houses our youngest group.

Old Hickory in Early Morning
Old Hickory in Early Morning

We thought you’d enjoy this picture of them in early morning while they were dressed neatly and cleanly. Images from later in the day are…well…less than clean.

We do not have a an image for the girls. But like the boys, they do look so good early in the morning. But, again like the boys, they tend to nasty up pretty quickly.

All of our campers were exceptional. They were attentive and they quickly obeyed directions from the counselors and team leaders.

Many of the campers made life long friendships. Many will talk with each other through the year and some will even visit. All look forward to seeing each other again July 12-17, 2009 at Indian Creek.

During the week, cabins prepare for skit night. One of the best received skits came from the Twin Oaks Boys Choir which put an odd spin on some classic music. Led by conductor Jeremy Pate, the boys performed a number of pieces of their own composition.

Twin Oaks Boys Choir Under the Direction of Jeremy Pate
Twin Oaks Boys Choir Under the Direction of Jeremy Pate

Without a doubt, the music was uplifting to the point of extreme humor. It was inspirational to the point of side-splitting laughter. It would do well on YouTube if anyone had a video camera. Good job Twin Oaks!

Camp always is tough, especially on the adults. But we are all committed to the welfare and proper upbringing of the children. Planning is already underway for 2008. Camper should be prepared to commit to camp by March at the latest. Adult staff should be ready to commit by November.

Thanks to all you have a part in ICYC. We especially thank Clarks Sims for his dedication in making this a great week.

If you were a staff member or camper, leave us your thoughts below!


ICYC: Better Than Ever

I make my living with words but today I find it difficult to express just how great Indian Creek Youth Camp really was this year.

Clark Sims begins planning this week at least 6-8 months in advance. He has handpicked a staff of assistants and counselors that is second to none. At 252 campers, this is the largest week during the camp season. This year, 29 young people put on their Lord in baptism and another 25 rededicated their lives to Christ. Among those responding were our own, Anna Isenhower and Travis Purser who were both baptized into Christ. Anna Lloyd asked for prayers and was restored.

Travis Purser (L) and Anna Isenhower were baptized at ICYC
Travis Purser (L) and Anna Isenhower were baptized at ICYC

Our activities included a thorough study of Colossians with speakers each morning and each evening taking a passage from the book for their text. Campers studied Colossians in age-divided classes and in their teams in preparation for Bible bowl.

Teams participated in sporting activities and in wacky games. Congratulations to TEAM ANDY for their victory in the team competition.

Some underestimate the importance of Christian camping. As part of a year-long youth strategy, a week at camp will stand as one of the greatest moments in any child’s life. Lifelong friendships are established at camp and are renewed year after year.

The 2008 Eastern Shore ICYC group
The 2008 Eastern Shore ICYC group

Many campers will stay in touch with each other throughout the months. Camp allows a youthful network to build.

By weeks end we were all tired and dirty but were renewed in our faith. Next year will be even better as we build on our record-setting year.

Thanks to all the staff and to those parents who took vacation time to make this a great week.

Planning for next year begins soon. Tell us what you think about camp!

Attack of the Pink Monkeys

We leave Daphne for the backwoods of Walker County, Alabama on Saturday. We’ll be spending a week at Indian Creek Youth Camp with almost 200 young people from across the southeast. At present, 24 are scheduled to go from Eastern Shore.

2007 ICYC group shot

See at right, our 2007 group had a wonderful time and have looked forward to another great since we got home. Students spend time in a variety of wonderful events including team activities, cabin activities and most of all, daily Bible study. Every male camper has an opportunity to participate in camp wide devotionals by leading singing, reading Scripture, offering public prayers or by bringing a short message. The girls have similar opportunities in their cabins.

Probably on of the greatest assets of camp is the wonderful staff. Over 60 adults travel to ICYC to serve as counselors, cooks, team leaders, Bible teachers, nurses, sports coaches and more. There is no doubt that we have the finest staff of any Christian youth camp.

bible classWhile fun and games are the rule, students will spend many hours in Bible classes. For 2008, we will study the great book of Colossians. An end of the week Bible bowl exam will be given to each of 12 teams. Each team will be further divided by ages and each will take the appropriate exam for their age. The coveted team award for the week will be determined, in large part, by the Bible Bowl scores.Bryant and Clark

Our camp week is directed by my dear friend and brother, Clark Sims. Clark is a man with a heart for young people. He will begin working on the camp plans at least 6 – 8 months ahead of time and will continue to “fine tune” every detail up until the very last minute. It is because of his planning, attention to detail and commitment to our youth that this week routinely fills up at least a month ahead of time.

Now, in case you are wondering about the “Pink Monkeys” title of this post — well, you’ll have to ask one of the campers.