Connecting the Christian Camping Community
Boulder Creek Holiday Centre Growing Up Inside National Scene www.cciaus.org.au • 1800 009 890 • Newsletter Of Christian Camping International Australia • ISSUE 23
Ken Pull en
I just don’t know how to do it… Can you help me? I just don’t know how we can let people know that CCI Australia runs Training events and Member Development Days that are really vital to their ministries. I don’t know, because when I started in Christian camping 24 years ago, I thought it was a no-brainer that I would make it a priority to attend my association’s gatherings so that I could learn from other people, I could see what was happening in the industry, I could meet and discuss issues, I could learn from other people and their experiences and hopefully not make the same mistakes that they had. It seemed to me a no-brainer that by doing this ultimately I would save heaps of money, perform better and provide more effective ministry at my centre. But, today, the world seems to have changed and a lot of Board and Management teams believe they have to be able to justify attendance at events in “real” dollar terms. However, knowledge is intangible and frequently can’t be quantified in dollar terms, frequently the experiences one gets when one meets with others can’t readily be quantified either and yet it is vitally, vitally important. I learnt so much from attending fellowship days (as they were called) in the 80’s & 90’s. I learnt so much from feeling free to talk with people who had been in Christian camping longer than I had and, also, shorter than I had. Because we all had different perspectives, we all brought different concepts and ideas to where we were serving. But, I don’t know how to pass that sense of urgency on, I don’t know how to persuade people today that when there is a Member Development Day being organised, even if the topic being presented doesn’t look as if it is directly applicable to them, the whole event is applicable to them. Because, it’s at that event you will meet a person who has found the way to fix a particular problem, that person who has empathy for what you do and the issues at your
centre. You will meet that person who will help you without realising they have helped you. But if you don’t go, you don’t meet and if you don’t meet, you don’t learn. I don’t know how to tell people this, I don’t know how to persuade our board members and managers that it really is worthwhile taking that two hour drive three or four times a year. It really is worthwhile listening to specialised speakers even if the topic doesn’t seem to be applicable to their centre because it’s not just one person speaking, it’s a collective, it’s everyone in CCI Australia. So, as I am at a loss how to tell you how to do this, as I can’t find ways to persuade you, would you help me and let me know how to persuade each other that this is worthwhile? Thanks, Ken Pullen CEO
CCI Australia Serving and enabling Christian Ministries to provide unique temporary communities. CCI Australia is a fellowship providing pastoral and practical support through its members. Its purpose is to promote Christian Camping as a means of presenting the Gospel and building up Christians in their faith.
Christian Camping International Australia ABN 74 050 611 295 PO Box 5552, South Windsor NSW, 2756 Ph: 1800 009 890 or (02) 4587 7155; Fax: 02 4587 7933 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.cciaus.org.au The attention of advertisers is drawn to the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the provision in the Act which apply to advertising. It is not possible for CCI Australia to ensure that all advertisements in this publication comply in all respects with the Act and the responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement for publication. The views and opinions expressed by authors belong to those authors and are not necessarily the views and opinions of CCI Australia
Reflections of 13 years in Camping I’m Richard de Rooy and I’ve been manager at Oasis Camp in Mt Evelyn, Victoria, for the last ten years. Before that I was assistant manager at Morning Glory Christian Camp (now Wedderburn Christian Camp) for three years. I’m married to Sandra and we have three kids. Now, I’ve been asked to reflect on my time in camping, as from August this year I will have left camping. I am still a firm believer that camping is an essential ministry. People need to step out of their regular surroundings to re-evaluate their life and see where they are headed, as well as to be encouraged by others. The camping environment is perfect for that. As I look back before I leave, I still get goose bumps. There have been a lot of camps that came through that God obviously used to grow His Kingdom or to make people draw closer to him. And that is exciting to be a part of. One awesome example of God using the site here was with the ChinBaptist. They minister to new migrants from China etc. They had one camp where 30 out of 40 gave their hearts to the Lord. They said that they could not get them to come if it was at their church but the camping environment makes them feel more comfortable to come. What else can you say but praise God and thumbs up to camping. I particularly love how we have been able to team up with organisations that were struggling financially but had great outreach programs. We have helped them with less than half price costing for approximately six camps a year and growing. Our numbers and turnover haven’t dropped and I believe God blesses those stepping out in faith and he certainly hasn’t let us down here.
I’ve enjoyed the internship program here as well. Helping to grow Christian young people in the camping environment was great. Camping hasn’t always been easy, especially for my family, but they have supported me through the years and I thank them for that. Now is the time to honour them. Through some confirming by our Lord it was clear to move on. I don’t know exactly what we are doing yet, so please pray for us that this may go smoothly. I shall miss a lot of the regular groups and people that came through but I am not irreplaceable. God has led John and Rhonda Kroon to the ministry and I’m sure they will fit in well to the environment. Getting to know the CCI Australia community has been invaluable. It’s a great God honouring organisation that encourages and enriches people and organisations. So if you’re not involved, Get involved. I shall leave with lots of great memories and some regrets, but that is ok. In His Grip Richard de Rooy
Christian Camping had been close to the heart of both Ray and Thyra Mallett as they spent their teenage years attending camps run by the well known Queensland Methodist Youth Director, the Rev Ivan Alcorn. It was a time of making good friendships and seeing many lives changed. When the opportunity presented itself for them to buy a property previously owned by Ray’s uncle, they both saw this as an opportunity to become involved in a lifechanging ministry and purchased the land, and five exforestry workers huts from the forestry department of Gympie. All these buildings were transported without mishap but before they were stumped vandals had broken every window. This incident changed the plan and a series of caretakers looked after the property until Ray retired from his position with TAFE and Thyra from being the Housemother at the Anglican Children’s Home. They then moved from Gympie to Mothar Mountain to start building a campsite in their retirement. Four huts were refurbished with three of them being joined by a breezeway and a library, and the fourth having the male ablution block built under it. The fifth was extended to become the conference hall with a large kitchen beneath it, and a dining room positioned on the front. The female showers/toilet block had a dorm added and six extra rooms positioned above. A cottage had also been built and this became their temporary home. As time seemed to drag with just so much work to do, Ray and Thyra saw much evidence of God’s hand on the project. This was very important as they sometimes wondered
when it would all end. As the project was to be financed from land sales it was very frustrating to have to wait for the market to improve. It did in time, and allowed them to sell a block or two when they most needed the money. The purchase and relocating of the recreation hall was a miracle. A church hall in Brisbane became available but there were some insurmountable restrictions – the hall had to be removed on time but the church in front had to be demolished first; the hall had an asbestos roof which needed removing before transport; it was difficult to engage a removalist who was available to remove the hall when all the other contingencies had happened; there was need for Council approval to bring the building onto the property. However, when Ray went to Council for approval, he found that the monthly meeting to deal with such things was on that day and he got his approval lodged just in time. At that meeting permission was given to transport the building ‘as is’, and replace the roof later – an arrangement previously unheard of. A removalist was found who had a couple of spare days and was happy to shift the building at the prescribed time. Each aspect of this removal was a miracle in itself. Besides building the campsite, there was need for staff accommodation. They were given a removable house by a
demolisher friend who did not require any payment for it. This building was made into a three bedroom house positioned between the road and a creek on the property. Rain had fallen just before the house was to be delivered to the block and the removalist was unable to get onto the land. This could have been a problem but by parking the house on the camp oval until the block was dry, the house was able to be re-positioned, allowing for a much better configuration. Another miracle happened when obtaining the house that they now live in. It was a workersâ€™ hut in the nearby forest and Ray had often inquired about it becoming available, but all avenues seemed to be closed. Thyra and Ray went away for a few days and when they arrived home they found a note in the letterbox to say that the building was now available and it could be purchased for a small sum of money but it had to be removed in two weeks from the date of the letter. Both their sons were available to help so the family team went up the mountain with a crane and a semi trailer. They took off the roof, cut the walls into sections, cut the floor into four. The crane then loaded the floor sections onto the semi, the walls were loaded next, then the roof. They put the tank on the top and came through the forest to the campsite. Later, Ray put it together as a Lego-type construction.
to move on. Their son, a new Christian, who has played competition sport at state level was interested in putting his sporting expertise into camp activities and was able to enrol in the TAFE Outdoor Recreation Certificate 3 Course. For the six months prior to the course becoming available, he was able to work with Ray to get some of the buildings into shape. As finances became depleted, land sales in Gympie started to move and they were able to sell a couple of blocks of land.
Never did God allow them to rely on their own strength and finance but was faithful in supplying the needs just as money was running out
Two other happenings coincided that allowed the project
Never did God allow them to rely on their own strength and finance but was faithful in supplying the needs just as money was running out. Throughout the project He has opened doors, changed circumstances, provided opportunities in such a way that there was no doubt that the erection and completion of this campsite was His plan for this property.
It is their prayer that, as the building project now nears completion, God will move in miraculous ways in the lives of those who come to share a piece of this most beautiful country environment thus fulfilling the purpose for its very existence. The camp has now been operating for about three years and clientele continues to increase. Ray and Thyra now feel it is time to retire a second time, and look forward to the Lordâ€™s provision for someone to continue their vision. Ray and Thyra Mallet
Today ’s kids are missing
You hadn’t noticed, but it is getting dark. After school, you skipped off the bus, grabbed a snack and bolted for the outdoors to meet with friends. Now you’re headed home from the adventure with soggy socks and stickers in your laces. Your cadence reflects both your concern for being late and the joyful anticipation you have for returning to that place tomorrow.
Although you never stopped to think about it, the past few hours shaped you considerably. Helping Eddie up that tree would leave you sore tomorrow and more aware of your ability to work with others. Most significantly, there was something special about that oak- something about your spot on that fat limb next to the trunk. Your mum talked about God, but that was the place where you knew—without a doubt—He was real. If you were born before the mid-1970s, you probably have stories similar to this. If you are younger, you might not relate at all. Either way, you know that technology has changed our world dramatically in a short time. You also probably recognise that today’s youth are rarely in nature and that some have never spent time in the natural world. What you may not be alerted to are the spiritual ramifications of such a lifestyle. Too few Christian leaders (camp professionals included) are asking a critical question, “How does growing up inside affect our spiritual development?”
Hearing God’s Voice Scripture provides us with some insights: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes—his eternal
Up Inside what ca mps can pr ovide
power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). God’s creations are like nourishment with which He can feed us. Through nature, we can take in knowledge about His “eternal power and divine nature.” In the past, when we spent much of our time in creation, these were lessons He spoke clearly to our inner core without necessarily involving our minds. These lessons are now, at best, muffled through the car window or a nature program on television. Is it OK to live—or engage in discipleship with youth— without these critical, foundational understandings that should be discovered by spending time in nature? Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” It is difficult for me to see how this kind of fear (or respect) for our Maker can be substantially founded without experiencing Him through what He has made. Isn’t it this reverence that brings us to the wisdom of knowing that He is all-powerful and perfect—and that we are not? Doesn’t this lead us to understanding the need we have to be forgiven and accepted? If so, then seeing youth arrive at that fear is a critical start to their journey of faith.
Without Excuse? But perhaps today’s students have an “excuse” to journey without Him. To our knowledge there has never been a culture so sheltered and distracted from what God has made. We spend our time in very comfortable, climatecontrolled homes, automobiles, schools, gyms and places of work. If we need to go outside, it is usually a momentary requirement.
Our innate desire to experience what God has made is squelched by a plethora of indoor inventions sophisticatedly designed to captivate our attention for hours on end. Most of those who do recreate or exercise outdoors use sidewalks or playing fields, rarely touching the natural world. We don’t feel like we are living out a futuristic sci-fi movie, but when we describe our lifestyle, it sounds that way. Today’s Johnny skips off the bus, grabs a snack, and bolts for MySpace to meet up with friends. If the Internet doesn’t keep his attention, he has a long list of options before he considers climbing a tree. He might try calling Eddie’s cell or playing on his family’s Xbox. If those don’t carry him into the evening, there is always something on TV with dozens of channels and TiVo.
Immersing Youth in Creation
In the unlikely event that Johnny does come up with the innovative idea of going outside to play, he will probably have a tough time doing so. His parents are concerned about the risks of dangerous strangers, injuries and (in some cases) wild animals.
from what he calls “nature-deficit disorder.” Like Louv, my point is not that technology is unhealthy, that parents are foolish, or that developers are evil. My point is that there is something vital missing. We have accomplished what no other generation has. We are not just out in nature less than those before us; we are almost not experiencing it at all.
We are not just out in nature less than those before us; we are almost not experiencing it at all.
Even if his mum and dad value the outdoors enough to let him brave the risks, where would he play? It is a rare community that has undeveloped space without community rules that prohibit the exposure to liability, unsightly forts, and other inconveniences that commonly accompany outdoor play. And it’s a rare property owner who doesn’t mind seeing kids cross his old cattle fence for an adventure. In his book Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin Books, 2006 – a great book available from the CCI Australia Office - Ed), Richard Louv also lists the difficulties our youth face in experiencing the natural world. He writes to inspire relief
During the last few decades we have compensated mentally, physically and socially as our time in nature has diminished. We work out our bodies, invent challenges, play group games and climb corporate ladders, but can we compensate spiritually for the lack of God’s creation in our lives?
Shouldn’t that be a concern for the church? What parts of the body of Christ are the best fit to meet this recent need, and what are they doing about it? I believe many of our Christian camps are the perfect fit and are being honoured with this call. But I’m not confident they are listening.
Creation and Camps While the Christian Camping industry is struggling to be significant with tools like tradition, modern facilities, music programs and climbing walls, it seems this critical need is left waiting for us like an unnoticed elephant in the lobby. I’m concerned that we are missing a serious spiritual need while being preoccupied with what people want and, frankly, what they already have. I’m not saying that facilities and indoor programming are without value to the kingdom. I am saying that, in many cases, such things have monopolised our paradigm and are slowing our response to what Americans (and Australians – ed) need so desperately. It’s time we move forward and take campers and guests back to nature. For many of us, I believe it is now our job to be experts at providing what used to come naturally. And it is our role to intentionally and courageously become those the church will turn to as it realises the spiritual consequences of living in a country so void of time in creation. This need is obviously not a temporary trend. As we see more of today’s children become leaders and parents of youth, I expect the need will only increase. At Rock-N-Water, kids camp in tents or under the stars. In the early 1990s, I used to ask groups of fourth-graders and their parents if they had ever slept outdoors. Lately, I have made a point of asking the same question of the same schools. I am consistently amazed to find that three times the number of parents compared to fewer than 20 years ago—sometimes a third of the adults present—have never spent the night in the outdoors. The past couple summers I’ve heard young teenagers inquire if the river we are whitewater rafting will “take us back to where we started,” if a bird’s song is real or “coming from someone hiding behind the trees,” and if the beautiful rocks in a remote river canyon were “made by Disney.” At times like those, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’ve decided to cry out to those who have—or will have— the power to put kids in the middle of God’s creation in ways that they can’t help but want to embrace Him.
A Wise Move I hope you will join me on an adventurous quest to satisfy a tremendous need of today’s and tomorrow’s youth. As we approach the challenge of providing soul-edifying encounters with God in His creation, we must look for what we don’t know. We must discover what it takes to give today’s guests these experiences and then be willing to implement the changes necessary to do so.
Close to the Creator Consider the following tips for utilizing God’s creation in your ministry. • Start with yourself. Regularly get out in God’s creation and develop your ability to meet Him outdoors. • Pray for and seek to hire staff members who savor time with the Lord in nature. • Give staff the consistent opportunities they need to be experts at connecting with God outdoors. • Convince your board and staff of the need guests have to experience God through creation, perhaps even incorporating the goal to meet this need into your mission statement. • Inspect your current programs for new possibilities that might meet the need. • Explore your property and locations within an hour’s drive where guests can be immersed in creation. • Be willing to invest time and finances toward developing new programs. • Market and speak to parents, youth leaders, and teachers with the goal of their recognising the need for creation immersion for those they serve. • Rejoice when you see kids who are dirty, wet, tired, excited, hot, cold, or even scratched up because of their time in creation. —Craig Lomax
We may continue to find ways, like some camps have, to meet this need with tools like adventure, solitude and science. But it is best if we journey with our eyes open to ways not yet travelled and with prayers for insight on our lips. If we move now and move wisely, we may very well look back to see the present difficulties of the camping industry as birthing pains by which we began to teach youth how to experience God through what He has made. Today’s kids can be tomorrow’s leaders who send the youth they serve to camp, not for tradition or a brand-new facility, but to meet the Lord in an awe-inspiring, life-changing way. This article first appeared in CCCA’s InSite Magazine Dec 2007. Craig co-founded Rock-N-Water, a Christian adventure camp. He is also executive director of Kids in Creation, equipping those who lead youth to get kids back into creation. E-mail him at craig@ kidsincreation.org
The Last Word
Don’t Live on Regrets Throughout my Christian walk, God has taught me many things that have brought me to the present moment of time. Of course, believe me, I am still willing to be taught. One of these lessons - DON’T LIVE ON REGRETS of lost opportunities that could have opened up many wonderful things for God and His Kingdom and of course for us. I am reminded of a group of people in the Bible - St John’s Gospel, Chapter 2 - where a crisis had developed, and after some discussion the disciples could not understand what Jesus was indicating to them. Mary, the mother of Jesus, just gave up
better than the Holy Spirit’s leading. So this week whatever He says to you just Do it and enjoy the things that God has prepared for you if we are obedient.
and said to the servants ‘whatever He says - DO IT’, and as a
Just DO IT; whether sending a card, letter, making a phone call or
result, a miracle was performed by just being obedient. Many
facing that difficult interview. Even challenge a situation that you
people benefited by being obedient to the voice of Jesus.
have put off for sometime.
I want to testify that on so many occasions when I have been obedient to the Spirit many wonderful things have happened far
REMEMBER ISAIAH 55:8-9
above all expectations. Alas, sometimes when I have justified
“My thoughts and my ways are not like yours. Just as the
myself by not following the Spirit’s leadings I have lived to regret it.
heavens are higher than the earth so my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours.” (CEV)
Sometimes I must admit, in my human thinking, I thought the Holy Spirit was way out and even thought that my judgment was
Laurie Venables, Chaplain.
Chaplains Introducing the
Errol & Dot Woodbury
Kingsley & Pamela Alley
Laurie & Rohna Venables
Les & Marj Batchelor
WA, SA & NT
To contact your nearest chaplain call 1800 088 249
CCI in Asia.
As you are aware CCI Australia has committed to promoting Christian Camping throughout Asia. Since commencing on this project CCI Australia has been pleased to find many more Camp, Conference and Retreat Ministries than it had been led to believe were present throughout the region. A monthly newsletter has been established, as has a web page off the CCI Australia page http://www.cciaus.org.au/AsiaNet/ ANWeb/AsiaNet.html It is hoped that as this network develops the ministries in each region will draw together and form the strong bonds that CCI members worldwide enjoy with each other. At Connect 08 there will be special times that focus on our International commitment. Dan Bolin the International Director of CCI Worldwide and Jo Racaza the National Director of CCI Philippines will both be attending. The Thursday evening program will be directed to International work and the part you can play. CCI Australia will be seeking your assistance as we endeavour to share our skills and resources with our neighbours.
E N E C S
How is your personal walk with God? You will be encouraged and enriched by great keynote speakers and fellow Christian workers. How is your Ministry? You will find 37 excellent workshops and networking opportunities to help develop your ministry. Are you tired? You will find this week refreshing and regenerative. Are you alone? Find out that you are not alone in this ministry – there are many more like you - and be encouraged. Are you worried about the future of Christian Camping? Come and speak with those who are doing it well – learn from them and apply these lessons to your centre.
You can’t afford to come? Actually you can’t afford not to be there, but if finances are an issue please talk with a Chaplain or the CEO to ensure you can come.
You still have an opportunity to attend Connect 08. This will be a special week that will set you up for the next twelve months and further.
Those who have undertaken the process highly recommend NARTA as it helped them immensely in the task of checking their compliance regime and raising questions they had not considered.
Christian Supply Chain Buying Group and Pricepoint.
Study and training tours, camp-to-camp partnerships, short-term mission trips and facilitating a foreign trainee for a year are all options that are being explored and it is hoped will be facilitated through CCI Australia, the CCI Associations in Asia and the Asia Network. Please pray as your Board and Office work through these proposals and seek the best way to implement the ideas that are being developed.
Remember that CCI Australia provides a membership renewal discount of 10% for holders of NARTA Inc Accreditation. Significant discounts also apply to the Public Liability portions of the CCI Australia Insurance Scheme arranged through our Insurance Brokers, Australia Christian Services P/L.
We congratulate Araluen Lutheran Camp on being the 21st organisation to achieve NARTA accreditation. Other centres that have submitted applications and passed their Desk Audits (Site Audits pending) are Wirraway Homestead Youth Centre (SA) and the Lutanda Centres in Yarramundi and Mt Victoria (NSW). A number of other centres in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania are currently nearing completion of the application process.
Savings, because Ministry Matters! With this Communicator you will receive an A5 brochure outlining the Christian Supply Chain Buying Group (CCSBG). You may also go to the CSCBG Website www.cscbg.org.au to seek updated information. Pricepoint is the monthly eNewsletter from CSCBG that will outline new alliances as they come online. Please review/use the alliances that are being arranged. Rob Stewart has been working constantly on developing relationships that will benefit your organisation and you individually. As CSCBG has been set up to serve Churches and Schools as well as
NATIONAL|12 members of CCI Australia, the buying power of CSCBG will be far larger than any one member and larger that any group of members within CCI Australia. I am convinced we will be arranging quality service at the best possible prices. I therefore seek CCI Australia Member’s assistance as the CSC Buying Group develops alliances. It has come to my attention that some Members receive information developed by CCI Australia and CSCBG and immediately pressure their current supplier to match the CSCBG pricing. I am puzzled by this because: • If many sites take this course of action the CSCBG alliances will be less effective, and prices will again rise for everyone. • CSCBG negotiates prices in good faith and will never ask members to switch supplier, or use services and products, unless it benefits the member ie you choose to take up the offer without compulsion. However, the more members that use these programs the better prices will become. • If the current supplier can match the CSCBG price when forced to do so by competition, do they deserve a Member’s loyalty as they clearly were not giving them the best prices already?
• Does the current supplier contribute to the wider work of Christian camping in Australia? When a member chooses to use a CSCBG alliance supplier (because it saves them money), it also supports the work of CCI Australia and enables membership fees to remain at their low levels when compared to other similar organisations. • However, if you do have a better pricing deal then I would like to encourage you to share that information with CSCBG to benefit other members and the Ministry we call Christian Camping
The past year has seen a 71% increase in enquiries and bookings! Over 2900 enquiries have been processed and at least 615 bookings have been confirmed! Are you making the most of these enquiries? The following tips will help you turn more enquiries into bookings: • Respond quickly if you are available. When an enquiry is made the enquirer is told available camps will respond within
two business days. Regretfully many sites are taking up to two weeks! • You should have an email template saved and ready to go within minutes of reading the VenueFinder enquiry. Don’t spend too much time in this initial response. Provide your phone number early in the email to encourage contact. Be prepared to provide further quick responses if subsequently contacted by email or telephone. One member reports of an occasion when they happened to be on-line they received an email from VenueFinder and responded within two minutes of its arrival. Three minutes later the phone rang and it was the enquirer who immediately took a tentative booking! • Please answer your phone. Up to 40% of phone calls placed to CCI/Aus Member centres are never answered or returned, even if a message is left on an answering machine! That represents 40% of your potential business just going elsewhere! Simply having a cordless phone with a 300m range will be cost effective very quickly. The CCI Australia Board has resolved to increase the commission on VenueFinder Bookings from 3% to 3.5% to assist in meeting the budget for 2008/9. This will be applied in a way that members taking bookings are aware of the increase.
If your are reading this during the week 28 July to August 1, we are sorry you have missed Connect 08 and all its benefits to you and your ministry. Mark these dates now for the next two major events: Forum 09: August 2-4 2009 & Connect 1‘ 0: August 2-6 2010.