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Spreading the word: Christian camp offers variety of youth activities

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By Anna Taylor

Lillian True looks forward to going to White Mills Christian Camp every summer. She said she has attended every year since she was little.

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Although she still attends camp, at 14, the Louisville native now also volunteers to help..

“You can just feel God’s presence moving throughout the camp and I love it so much,” she said. “It’s great being able to work with all of the kids.”

Located behind a row of trees and outlined by Nolin River in White Mills is 40 acres of what makes up the Christian campgrounds. The land includes classrooms, dorms, a dining hall, pool, pond, camping area and two new zip lines that measure more than 1,000 feet long.

The Christian camp offers a variety of summer programs including traditional youth camps, wilderness camps or specialty camps such as science, leadership and sports camps. About 80 percent of campers are from Christian churches, but everyone is welcome, Camp Manager Ben Fulcher said.

Last week’s programs included performing arts, sports and science camps that made up a combined 120 campers.

The camp programs offer Bible lessons, classes, specific activities for the types of camps, lunch, mail time, rest time, more activities and worship. Campers stay overnight in the dorms through the duration of their summer program.

“It’s kind of like vacation Bible school, only much bigger,” Fulcher said. “You’ve got all of your same activities here that you do at a VBS but here it’s ongoing.”

During summer camp, kids are encouraged to use their talents and abilities for God, Fulcher said. Being surrounded by other people with the same faith and a variety of talent levels makes the camp more enjoyable for campers.

“I like being with all my friends and learning about God and using my talents for God,” Nikolas Davies, 8, said.

Jam time after worship is what Aubrey Korwinski, 8, said was her favorite part of camp. Aubrey and Nikolas were participating this week in the performing arts camp and were preparing for a performance of “junk percussion” on Wednesday.

Fulcher said many people aren’t aware of how the camp can leave an big impact on someone, not only for one summer, but a lifetime.

“Having that opportunity to realize how you can use your talents and use your abilities for God I think people realize that a lot at church camp,” he said. “As a kid, you don’t always remember the Bible lessons but you realize, hey, there’s a lot of people out there that love me and that love God and just that experience carries with them even into adulthood.”

Last summer, the camp had 62 people were baptized at camp, she said.

Each week of camp has a different person assigned as dean, chosen by Fulcher. The deans typically act as leaders or heads of the camp for that week.

“They’re usually a minister or youth minister or someone strongly connected to our churches,” Fulcher said.

Fulcher said some of the children, such as Lillian, come back year after year. Plus, more than 60 churches regularly send youth to the camp. Fulcher said the camp hosts children from all over Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.

“The kids are surrounded by youth ministers and Sunday school teachers and youth wor­kers and people who love on them and care for them, and that makes a big impact,” Fulcher said. “Some of these kids come from homes that are broken.”

This week at science camp, campers learned the story of creation from the book of Genesis and conducted experiments in geology.

Chris Deal was the co-dean for the camp and a church elder from Lincoln Trail Christian Church in Irvington. Deal said it’s important for the kids to learn this story because they don’t teach it in school.

“There’s no proof to prove evolution so we just want to make sure the kids know and they get a balanced diet of what’s out there and they make their own decision (on what to believe),” Deal said. “We try to lean them toward what the Bible said and what God has instructed us.”

Each summer there are between 400 and 500 adult volunteers, Fulcher said, who help with all of the activities.

“They get a lot out of it by working with the kids,” he said. “That’s a strengthening part on their faith.”

They have a variety of programs for adults year-round as well, even senior citizens. Many churches and families hold reunions and retreats at the property and the camp site also has served as a wedding destination.

This year marks the 65th year of White Mills Christian Camp.

For more information, go to whitemillschristiancamp.com.

Anna Taylor can be reached at 270-505-1747 or ataylor@thenewsenterprise.com. 

Remaining Summer Programs:

Junior High Camp, July 6-11

Senior High Wilderness Camp, July 6-11

All Elementary Camp, July 13-18

Jiffy Junior Camp, July 20-23, Aug. 306

Junior Camp, July 20-25, Aug. 3-8

Overnighter Camp, July 24-25

All Girls Camp, July 27-Aug. 1

Leadership Camp, July 27-Aug. 1

Trail Blazers Camp, July 27-Aug. 1