2014 Swamp Annual Report

 

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2014 Swamp Annual Report

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    1 Naiya Jones, 6, Mother Daughter Retreat, Photo by Alison Lynn

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From  the  Board  President     On  behalf  of  The  Swamp  governing  board,  I  am  pleased  to  introduce  our  2014  Annual  Report.     The   Swamp   is   a   special   place   and   has   left   a   spiritual   imprint   on   the   many   souls   who   have   attended,  which  they  carry  into  adulthood.    The  imprint  from  the  time  spent  in  the  beauty  of   God’s   creation   in   the   heart   of   Georgia   Piedmont   is   a   fond   memory   of   what   life   can   be   like   where  love  and  respect  are  practiced.     The   Swamp,   though   it   started   five   years   earlier,   was   built   in   1998.     This   board   stands   on   the   shoulders   of   visionary   leaders   like   Steve   Sapp,   who   led   the   charge   to   build   The   Swamp,   and   Sonny  &  Carolyn  Sessions,  whose  dream  of  a  camp  ministry  and  whose  hearts  were  transferred   to   a   camp   culture   that   defines   The   Swamp   to   this   very   date.     Starting   out   as   a   ministry   to   primarily   serve   the   members   of   the   Atlanta   Church   of   Christ,   The   Swamp   now   reaches   children   throughout  the  southeast  United  States  and  the  nations  of  five  continents  across  the  globe.     While   governed   by   sister   churches   in   the   Atlanta   area,   the   board   recognized   this   expanding   reach  and  took  strides  in  2014  to  broaden  the  influences  of  The  Swamp’s  governance  beyond   the  locale  of  Atlanta.    These  strides  are  intended  to  continue  beyond  2014.     As  you  will  read,  the  Board  of  Directors  lost  a  key  member  this  year  because  Gerry  Frederick   lost  his  battle  with  cancer.    Gerry’s  gift  to  The  Swamp  was  a  governance  structure  that  will  lead   us  successfully  into  the  future.    This  structure,  now  in  its  second  year,  involves  the  creation  of   an  executive  committee  focused  on  fundraising,  which  has  targeted  a  goal  to  exceed  $150,000   per  year.     Besides  another  successful  and  fully  registered  summer  camp  season,  a  5  Year  Plan  has  been   created  with  goals  for  future  growth  and  vision.    In  addition  to  this  annual  report,  please  read   our  5  Year  Plan  and  consider  how  you  may  help  us  reach  the  goals  spelled  out  in  it,  to  the  glory   of  God.     Sincerely  yours,         Jeff  Mueller         2

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From  the  Director     What  a  year  it  has  been…one  of  growth  and  adventure;  learning  and  opportunities.     2014   brought   with   it   increased   attendance   at   Summer   Camp   and   Swamp-­‐Hosted   Retreats,   which   translates   into   more   kids   getting   a   chance   to   experience   The   Swamp   camp   culture.     Unfortunately,  though,  some  kids  were  not  able  to  make  it  as  we  had  a  waiting  list  with  over  70   people   on   it,   which   contributed   to   our   decision   to   add   a   seventh   week   in   2015.     We   saw   a   decrease   in   the   number   of   community   groups   utilizing   our   facilities;   however,   these   same   “missing”  groups  have  now  booked  for  the  2015  season  expressing  a  desire  to  be  back  under   the  service  of  The  Swamp  staff  hospitality.     For   the   first   time   in   its   22   year   existence,   The   Swamp   has   released   a   5   Year   Plan   with   the   hope   that   it   is   aligned   with   God’s   dreams   of   influencing   as   many   people,   especially   children,   as   possible.    We  are  inspired  to  see  how  it  will  unfold  in  the  coming  years.     This   past   year   saw   a   flurry   of   maintenance   and   upkeep   activity   with   our   beautiful   Penfield   property.    Erwin  and  his  crew  were  busy  installing  new  features  on  the  pavilion,  cabinets  and   sound  system  in  Hart  Dining  Hall,  new  ovens  and  ice  machine  in  the  kitchen,  and  all  new  pumps   to  keep  the  water  flowing  among  other  behind-­‐the-­‐scenes  upgrades.    Thank  you  patrons  and   donors   for   your   kindness   and   generosity;   The   Swamp   has   reached   a   15   year   milestone   and   was   needing  the  attention  as  it  will  in  the  next  decade  for  other  capital  ventures.     Swamp  Corps  established  a  new  training  in  Chennai,  India,  and  the  Bahamas,  and  traveled  to   Singapore  to  present  the  benefits  of  The  Swamp  camp  culture  and  our  training  process  to  an   international   gathering   of   over   2,000   church   leaders.     While   we   were   disappointed   at   the   inability  to  conduct  Year  2  training  for  Brazil,  as  this  camp  was  delayed  until  2015  due  to  the   World   Cup,   we   eagerly   await   our   return   to   that   beautiful   country.     We   also   received   a   new   invitation   to   Nicaragua   and   South   Africa   received   one   from   Zimbabwe.     The   Swamp   camp   culture  is  spreading  to  new  areas  and  all  over  southern  Africa;  indeed,  via  the  camp,  people  all   over  the  world  are  being  connected.     All   in   all,   we   rejoice   in   a   magnificent   year   and   can   only   look   forward   to   our   “certain”   path   forward.    Enjoy  your  time  with  this  report  and  be  sure  to  thank  the  individuals  and  the  Lord  of   the  Harvest  for  all  that  is  being  accomplished.     Much  love  and  respect,           Jeff  Rorabaugh   Director       3

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USA, THE SWAMP We hosted 5 retreats with over 500 in attendance, a Family Camp with twice as many families as in 2013, and 6 weeks of summer camp, where the theme was “Selfie” drawing focus on believing in ourselves and growing strong in the grace, and where 989 kids, 9-18 years old, from 12 states, 9 differing countries, and over 50 various churches gathered…representing a truly global community of campers. BAHAMAS We introduced Swamp camp to 34 campers and a host of volunteers for our first year in the Bahamas and our third location in the Caribbean. 21 Swamp campers, 14 counselors and 8 volunteers formed the training team. The camp week was concluded with a worship service with the entire Bahamas church; a first in Swamp Corps history. SOUTH AFRICA We completed a third and final year of training at the Johannesburg Youth Camp; it marshaled such momentum that 2 weeks of camp were offered, which was attended by over 340 kids from 12 countries in Southern Africa. The country of Zimbabwe has asked the Johannesburg camp directors to come and train them in December of 2015.   4 4

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WHERE WE SWAMPED 2014 HIGHLIGHTS SINGAPORE We presented on 3 different occasions The Swamp concept, our vision and our mission to over 2,500 church leaders and youth workers from 66 countries. Interest was sparked about our camp culture, facilities in Georgia, USA, and our training process. Conversations were held with people from Nigeria, Lebanon, Japan, and Singapore. Where will the Spirit lead us next? INDIA We traversed 9,000 miles, 10 time zones, and a completely different culture to hold out our camp culture to 193 Indian children from all over southern India, some travelled up to 24 hours by train to attend. They have named the camp in India “The Swamp India” and asked if they could use the name; as Camp Director Abraham Rajkumar stated, “we want to see The Swamp being replicated in this part of the world.” 5 5

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OUR MISSION   We  are  a  unique  camp  culture  existing  to:     • Foster  life-­‐long  memories  and  relationships,   • Extend  respect  &  hospitality  to  each  individual,   • Build  godly  character,  and   • Create  a  mentally,  physically,  emotionally,  and  spiritually  safe   environment     So  that  any  one  person—especially  a  child—who  experiences  The  Swamp   camp  culture  will  have  fun  and  be  positively  influenced.   OUR VISION The   Swamp   Camp   Culture   is   available   within   300   miles   (482   km)   of   any   person   on   the   planet,   especially   children,   and   every   child   within   those   300  miles  gets  the  opportunity  to  experience  this  culture,  year  after  year,   so  they  can  reap  the  benefits  of  its  safe,  fun  and  life-­‐influencing  qualities.   OUR SERVICES We  our  organized  around  three  areas  of  service:     • Youth  Camp:  offering  week-­‐long,  summer  camp  sessions  and  retreats   geared  for  youth  and  families,   • Rentals:  making  the  camp  property  available  for  the  community,  and   • Swamp  Corps:  conducting  global  camp  staff  training  and  missions,  wherever   we  are  invited.     We  protect  and  proffer  a  camp  culture  that  renders  a  benefit  for  each  individual  it   encounters.    We  measure  our  success  in  the  short-­‐term  by  promoting  whole-­‐ person  safety  during  each  positive  camp  experience  and,  in  the  longer  term,  by  the   tempered  and  faith-­‐guided,  individual  lives  reflected  among  our  alumni.  Knitting   these  services  together,  The  Swamp’s  ultimate  goal  is  to  reliably  present  God  and   His  Word,  and  to  provide  a  safe  place  for  kids  to  become  themselves;  all  of  which   happens  when  we  sustain  the  camp  culture  based  on  our  core  values.     6

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Our  Values     SAFETY.    Everyone  (parents,  volunteers,  counselors,  and  campers)  has   to   feel   physically,   mentally,   and   emotionally   safe   in   order   for   the   spiritual   self   to   be  realized.    Set  an   environment   of   respect;  deal   with   bullies   of   all   kinds,   and   create   a   culture   of   love.     (Imagine   an   atmosphere   where   last   names   weren’t   important;   thus   you   were   known   for   who   you   are   and   not   all   the   ties   to   your   parents,   brother,   sister,   m oney,   position,   etc.)     Thus  our  motto:   “Besides  your   home,  the   safest  place  on  the  planet.”       RESPECT.     Everyone   from   the   directors   to   the   volunteers   to   the   campers  to  the  head  dishwasher  has  to  feel  valued;  each  has  the  right   to  feel  like  SOMEBODY.     The  culture  of  the  camp  is  to  make  everyone   feel  like  they  are  important.     ROLES.     Everyone   needs   to   know   their   role,   being   defined   and   understood   by   all   parties;   if   so,   then   each   person   will   know   if   he   is   fulfilling  it  or  not.  Each  can  feel  the  success  of  fulfilling  it  and  personal   accountability  if  not.     FOOD.     The   food   needs   to   be   good.     People—especially   kids—will   remember  the  food  one  way  or  another…and  talk  about  it!     FUN.    Everyone   needs   to  have   FUN!   If  it  is   not   fun,  no   one   will   want   to   come  back.     The  cooks,  nurses,  campers,  counselors  all  need  to  have  a   great   time.   A llow  camp  to   host   a  wide   age  range,  like  9-­‐18  for   summer   camp.     You   will   be   amazed   at   the   results   and   live   the   words   of   Dr.   Seuss,  ‘Today  was  good.  Today  was  fun.  Tomorrow  is  another  one.”     LEADERSHIP.    The   rules  need   to  be  clear   and   few  with  someone  who   is   in   charge   to   enforce   them.     They   must  be  enforced  or   everything   will   spin  out  of  control  and  no  one  will  have  much  fun.     SPIRITUALITY.    Have  a  spiritual  camp  not  a  RELIGIOUS  camp.     There   is   a   huge  difference   between   the   two.   Trust  God   to   work   on   the   young   hearts  that  are  open.    If  great  sermons  and  convicting  preachers  always   converted  people,  all  of  our  kids  would  be  disciples.     Trust  the  process   and  the  Spirit.     YHVH.     God,   Jehovah,   has  to   be  made   REAL.     We  need  to   forget   trying   to  indoctrinate  kids  into  the  church;  let  God  REVEAL  HIMSELF  through   the  stars,  the  people,  the  Bible,  nature,  relationships,  and  through  the   spiritual  culture  that  is  created;  the  rest  will  follow.     DIVERSITY.     Celebrate   differences!     Whether   you   are   an   athlete,   scholar,  musician,  or  domino  expert,  your  color,  talents,  interests,  and   quirks   are   accepted   and   celebrated…each   tremendously   adds   to   the   cultural   tapestry;   then  the  words   of  Desmond  Tutu   come   alive,   “Isn’t   it   amazing   that   we   are   all   made   in  God’s   image,   and   yet   there   is   so   much   diversity  among  his  people.”     INVESTMENT.     Pour   all   the   resources   you   have   into   making   a   perennial  camp…one  that  allows  for  generations  to  experience.    If  you   give   half   your   resources,   you   will   get   50%   of   the   results.     If   you   only   focus  on  one  year,  you  m ay  forego  the  next  decade.         Hart Dining Hall. Photo by Alison Lynn “Swamp  is  like  heaven   because  no  one  judges  you   and  you  can  be  yourself.”     -­‐  Swamp  USA  Camper     Sunset over Shaving Cream Battle, Photo by Alison Lynn 7

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Facilities     The   Swamp   underwent   several   upgrades,   some   of   which   may   have   even   gone   unnoticed;   thus   we   want  to  draw  attention  to  them  because  we  believe  in  keeping  the  facility  top-­‐notch  condition.    The   following  items  were  rebuilt,  replaced  or  renewed:    ovens,  ice  machine,  new  game  cabinets,  and  new   sound   system,   which   was   installed   with   an   alternate   stage   location   and   microphone   wiring;   a   new   gutter   system   was   fitted   for   the   pavilion   to   alleviate   water   pooling   providing   a   much   safer   playing   surface,  most  of  the  septic/water  pumps  were  replaced  and  the  dining  hall  was  given  a  face-­‐lift  as   well  as  new  gravel  on  the  roads.    The  number  one  comment  by  those  who  come  to  rent  the  place  is   how  beautiful,  clean  and  modern  it  looks.    What  an  amazing  job  by  Erwin  and  his  crew!                 FACILITIES  SPOTLIGHT:    PAVILION  &  DINING  HALL     Safety, being our top concern, propels us to the next project. This year we fitted the pavilion with a gutter system to minimize the pooling of water on the pavilion floor, which after a rain takes a lot of time and energy to remove so that the surface is safe for play. The new gutter system has reduced the pooling effect to very minimal amount offering a playing surface, which is much easier to manage keeping campers from harm. Photos by Alison Lynn If you recall, the old cabinets were few and low topped with a counter, which basically collected…stuff, not junk, of course. This year new cabinets were installed offering slots for counselor items, room for games, songbooks and growth. Included in one of the cabinets is our new sound system, boasting a thumping base, alternate stage setup for indoor events, and a compressor-limiter protecting our investment in speakers.       8

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  Youth  Camp     Our   main   service   path,   comprised   of   summer   camp   and   retreats   for   youth   and   families,   revealed   2014  to  be  a  year  of  growth  in  many  ways,  and  yet,  a  year  recognized  with  just  as  many  opportunities   for  including  more  people  in  our  “Little  Taste  of  Heaven.”    Summer  Camp  saw  its  fourth  straight  year   of  growth  as  42  more  kids  than  in  2013  came  to  camp  selling  out  five  of  the  six  weeks  offered;  we   even   supported,   for   the   first   time,   a   waiting   list,   which   had   70   people   on   it   at   season’s   end,   prompting  us  to  add  a  seventh  week  for  the  2015  season.    Family  Camp  boasted  its  largest  gathering   since  its  inception,  even  still  with  room  to  double.    A  new  event  was  added  in  the  spring,  the  Mother   Son   Retreat,   rounding   out   the   complete   set   of   parent-­‐child   retreats   (Mother   Daughter   held   in   the   spring  also,  and  Daddy  Daughter  and  Father  Son  held  in  the  fall),  and  we  had  the  largest  gathering  of   its   fours   year   run   at   the   New   Years   Eve   retreat   we   call   Holidays   @The   Swamp,   or   H@TS,   as   the   campers  call  it.    All  in  all,  much  growth,  and  yet  the  attendance  at  each  event  reveals  lots  of  room  for   many  more,  children  and  adults  alike.    After  all,  the  goal  is  to  positively  influence  the  person  and  they   need  to  be  present  to  do  that  most  affectively.    We  are  excited  about  2015,  as  our  plan  is  to  share   The  Swamp  and  its  spiritual  influences  with  more  and  more  people.           BLOG  SPOTLIGHT:    SUMMER  CAMP       The Three Aspects of God Wed July 16 09:21 | Permalink Today a devo by Elyse Hoffman really hit my heart as she talked about Jesus. There are three aspects of God: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The problem is that we seem to have forgotten the Son and the Spirit, instead putting all our attention on our Father. It's not a bad thing, but we shouldn't forget the other parts of our Lord. Jesus did so many miracles that if all of them were written down the books of his doings would take up all the space in the world. Jesus is the Son, the person who walked our path and knows our pain. Everyone needs to find “their'” Jesus, and mine is the loving older brother who loves me so much that he died on the cross for me. We forget Jesus a lot, but we really should remember him more. The third aspect of the Lord is the Spirit, and that's in us. A part of God is in us. Let that sink in and feel you're mind blow up. Not only are we made in God's image, but he is in us too. That's what a devo at the Swamp does. It blows your mind and makes you think about things you've never thought about before. Before today I've never thought about Jesus as my older brother, I haven't really thought about him at all. So here's what you should do. Open your Bible right now and find your Jesus. He's the one who'll stand by you in this life, so go find him right now. I'm serious. - Sarah Arnett, Girls 5 (14 yrs. old)     9

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  Rentals     We  are  proud  of  our  facility  and  gladly  offer  it  to  the  community.    This  year  10  groups  ranging  from   20   to   151   people   used   our   facility   for   a   weekend   retreat   or   a   weeklong   camp   session.     While   this   number  was  fewer  than  that  of  2013,  we  are  very  grateful  for  the  relationships  with  civic  leaders  and   lay   persons   from   various   organizations   representing   school   clubs,   church   youth   groups,   adult   retreats,   and   sports   teams.     We   look   forward   to   partnering   with   them   in   meeting   their   program   objectives  and  attendance  goals.    Consistently,  people  speak  of  how  beautiful  and  well  maintained   the   property   is   and   how   easy   it   is   to   work   with   the   staff…and   the   food   is   very   good!     Rental   business   is  a  financial  staple,  helping  to  keep  our  summer  camp  costs  lower  and  to  provide  additional  revenue   for  our  facilities  upkeep.                     RENTAL  CUSTOMER  SPOTLIGHT:    REVSTUDENTS     The staff is so genuine, caring and hospitable that we were blown away. The property and facilities are amazing as well. After some bad experiences at camp rentals in the past, we know what we’ve found at Camp Swamp and we’ll be renting there for years to come.……     - Chris Steigerwalt, Camp Director Large Assembly Stage Setup on the Pavilion RevStudents, a ministry of Revolution Church out of Canton, Georgia, is designed for students and exists to connect 6-12 grade students with Christ and to equip them to GROW in what it means to follow Him in every aspect of life and faith.         10

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  Swamp  Corps     Our  third  and  final  service  path  focuses  on  taking  The  Swamp  camp  culture  wherever  it  is  invited  and   constitutes  the  staff  training  and  missionary  side  of  Swamp  Camp  Services.    Once  a  commitment  is   made  to  a  Host  Community,  the  plans  commence  for  a  three  year  training  and  camp  culture  planting   undertaking,   which   can   bring,   as   it   did   in   2014,   some   amazing   adventures   for   campers,   counselors   and  adult  volunteers.    We  saw  the  completion,  “graduation”  if  you  will,  of  our  third  Host  Community,   Johannesburg,   South   Africa;   we   conducted   Year   1   Training   in   India   and   Bahamas.     Unfortunately,   the   plans   for   Brazil’s   Year   2   Training   were   postponed   until   2015   due   to   the   soccer   World   Cup   (the   government   changed   the   entire   country’s   school   schedule   to   coincide   with   the   World   Cup   schedule).     Bahamas  was  glad  to  stand  in.    We  also  were  invited  to  present  the  Swamp  Corps  vision,  mission  and   purpose  to  over  2,500  church  leaders  from  66  countries  at  a  conference  in  Singapore,  which  was  very   well  received.    A  rather  unknown  fact  about  Swamp  Corps  is  that  there  is  absolutely  no  promotion  of   Swamp   Corps   of   any   kind;   we   wait   for   invitations,   whether   that   is   to   help   train   camp   staff   or   to   present  about  our  purpose.    This  is  intentional  in  order  to  let  the  Spirit  guide  us.             EMERGING TREND IN UNIVERSITY AND WORKFORCE APPLICATION REQUIREMENT Service Learning is a growing pedagogy that allows students to develop professional and academic skills in the context of meaningful, applied work with a community service organization. Research shows (Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame) that those who participate in such activities show an increase in motivation, a deeper understanding of subject matter, increased capacity for retention, and analytical skills. Swamp Corps participants are exposed to a variety of situations that touch on sociology, decision-making, leadership, and oration while in the process of training others. These are important factors that can strengthen applicant’s chances of acceptance to a university, not to mention the increased demand the job market is placing to “differentiate and demonstrate abilities and capacity for success.” Swamp Corps is a fun, safe environment for young students to develop these qualities. A student participating yearly starting from the age of fourteen years old would have four to five years of service-learning experience to offer a university and the job market. “I learned how to lead people with different cultural backgrounds.” - Swamp Corps Participant       11

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p. 12

  Jamaica   Success   for   Swamp   Corps   is   measured   in   terms   of   five-­‐   and   ten-­‐year   scenarios,   not   how   many   locations   have   “Year   1”   but   how   many   have   “Year   5”   and   “Year   10.”     Well,   thanks   to   the  collective  support  of  the  Jamaican  churches  and  the  leadership  of  Mark  &  Diedre  Pryce,   the   Jamaican   camp,   known   as   JamCamp,   saw   its   5th   year   in   2014   and   with   it   a   five-­‐year   total   attendance   equaling   432   campers.     For   the   last   four   years,   Mark   &   Diedre   have   planned,   organized   and   directed   JamCamp   and   have   seen   amazing   growth   in   the   yearly   outcry  of  wanting  camp  across  the  nation,  even  despite  incredible  economic  barriers  and   while   holding   down   their   own   jobs   and   having   a   baby   this   past   year.   Whew!     Mark   was   concerned   at   his   own   ability   and   skill   to   lead   a   camp,   but   his   growing   faith   in   God,   inspiration  from  the  kids  and  his  hold  to  some  advice  given  him  that  “anything  worth  doing  is  worth  doing   poorly  until  you  learn  to  do  it  well”  has  delivered  him  to  this  point.    Well  done,  Mark  &  Diedre  and  all  of   Jamaica!       Barbados   Camp   was   amazing.   I   got   to   meet   people   from   all   around   the   world   and   play   some   amazing   games.   I   got   to   go   fishing   for   the   first   time   in   my   life.   The   challenges   were   awesome.  I  got  to  build  deeper  bonds  with  friends  and  family.  The  pool  was  great.  Right   before  camp,  our  house  burned  and  we  lost  everything.  It  was  hard.  After  the  fire,  I  was   feeling   very   down   and   did   not   want   to   talk   to   anyone,   I   just   wanted   to   be   in   my   own   little   corner.   At   camp,   I   got   to   realize   that   holding   stuff   in   hurts   more   than   the   actually   hurt,   which   happened.   I   got   to   talk   to   my   counselors   and   other   supporting   people   about   what   I   was   feeling.   This   helped   me   in   a   great   way   because   after   camp   I   was   able   to   talk   to   my   parents  more  openly  about  things  that  I  was  experiencing.  The  lessons  helped  me  to  learn   about  myself  more  and  find  out  more  about  other  people  that  I  did  not  know.  Camp  was  the  best  thing  that   ever  happened  in  my  life.  I  would  definitely  like  to  visit  The  Swamp  again.                  -­‐  Alex  Carter,  12,  Camper       South  Africa   Wow!  What  a  privilege  it  has  been,  to  be  able  to  be  a  South  African  counselor   for   the   past   three   camps.   To   have   witnessed   camp   grow   from   no   one   really   knowing  what  to  do  or  where  to  be,  to  three  years  down  the  line,  establishing   its   name   and   every   kid   on   the   block   knows   what   Youth   Camp   is:     it’s   technically   the  safest  place  away  from  home  and  where  people  can  be  themselves.  Being  a   counselor  has  been  the  most  amazing  thing.  I  feel  as  though  I  might  be  having   more  fun  then  kids  sometimes,  but  that’s  just  me.  It  definitely  has  its  challenges   and  each  year  is  completely  different.  The  first  year  I  was  freaking  out,  as  I  had  no  clue  how  to  counsel  or   even  how  to  be  around  kids  24/7  and  be  responsible  for  them.  Satan  plants  those  seeds  of  doubt,  “will  I  be   good   enough   or   will   they   even   like   me   as   a   counselor,”   but   the   minute   the   kids   arrive   that   doubt   fades   immediately   and   everyone   is   just   having   a   great   time,   and   figuring   out   camp   together.   The   second   year   was   the   year   we   knew   what   camp   was   all   about   and   started   rooting   our   friendships   even   more,   there   was   no   time  for  insecurities  as  we  figured  out  that  one  week  is  all  we  have  and  we  got  to  make  the  best  of  it.  It  was   amazing   to   see   the   kids   being   open   with   one   another   and   how   their   true   nature   is   unveiled   and   just   how   refreshing   it   was   to   be   able   to   witness   it   all.   Then   third   year   of   camp   arrived   and   my   freaking   out   nature   started  up  again  as  this  was  the  camp  that  it  was  all  up  to  us  (South  Africans)  to  run  by  ourselves.  Freak  Out   12

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p. 13

  Session.  Those  insecurities  of  doubt  returned.  I  kept  thinking  to  myself,  “what  are  we  doing?”  But  it’s  truly   amazing,  that  the  minute  the  kids  arrive  and  we  all  get  into  our  cabins  and  how  all  my  girls  clicked  and  the   late  night  chatting  and  the  losing  of  challenges  and  the  walking  around  with  pen  all  over  our  faces  and  being   silly  and  deep  conversations  is  absolutely  priceless  and  far  surpasses  that  doubt  that  one  started  off  with.   Each  year  there  will  be  some  type  of  insecurity  or  mistake  we  do,  like  forgetting  how  many  kids  we  have  in   our  cabin  and  leaving  one  behind  in  the  hall.  But  no  matter  what,  I’ve  learnt  that  the  kids  make  camp.  And   for  that  I  am  a  counselor  until  I  am  too  old  to  dance  on  the  dance  floor.    Signing  Out,    Ciretta  “Chet”  Frezza   (pictured  above  at  far  left)     Brazil   Who  would  have  guessed  that  the  government  of  Brazil  would  have  taken   the   steps   necessary   to   change   the   school   schedule   to   match   the   World   Cup?    Not  us.    So,  after  many  conversations  and  brainstorming  sessions  of   when   we   could   have   camp,   we   had   to   make   the   difficult   choice   of   postponing   it   until   2015.     Bummer!   We   were   so   looking   forward   to   our   2nd   trip.     The   location   is   spectacular,   as   the   camp   is   held   in   the   mountainous  region  surrounding  Belo  Horizonte,  where  the  mornings  are  brisk  and  the  days  bright   and  sunny.    Over  160  kids,  some  who  traveled  up  to  9  hours  by  bus  and  3  hours  by  flight,  attended  in   2013;  you  can  bet  that  they  and  their  friends,  who  have  been  waiting  for  two  years,  want  another   chance  to  experience  camp.    It  is  going  to  be  glorious.         Friendship bracelets are the most commonly made item at camp…besides friendships, of course. From the complicated to the colorful to the artists’ beholding, these bracelets come in all sizes, colors, lengths, and width and, once crafted, are given to new, old, year-round or once-a-year friends. They are worn almost to the point of on-wrist-obliteration and hold such endearment to the receiver that one would be hard-pressed to give them up.         13 Photo by Brianne Baine

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p. 14

  India   First   of   all   I   really   thank   God   and   all   leaders   who   trusted   and   gave   me   an   opportunity  to  serve  as  a  mentor  in  Swamp  Camp  2014.    What  is  camp  {been  to   me   in   the   past}?     Where   you   go   every   year   in   the   summer   to   learn   and   get   connected  to  God  through  lot  of  Bible  studies,  quiz,  etc.  and  less  fun  time  in  a   controlled   environment;   and   we   think   kids   are   learning   to   be   Godly,   but   what   actually  happens?    Some  kids  feel  like  they  were  being  controlled  at  camp,  and   some  try  to  act  or  attached  to  the  environment  and  after  the  camp  you  don't   see  them  anymore.    What  Swamp  made:  I  don't  want  to  use  the  word  “camp”   anymore,   SWAMP   is   the   new   culture   of   investing   Godly   desire   in   the   heart   of   children.   This   is   so   amazing   to   see   kids   come   to   know   God   more   closely   than   ever   with   all   their   heart,   and   the   best   part   of   The   Swamp   culture  is  that  you  can  be  yourself;  lot  of  fun  in  a  Godly  way  and  getting  closer  to  God.    I  honestly  feel  it’s  a   great  privilege  to  be  a  part  of  this  Swamp,  though  I  came  as  a  Mentor  I  have  learned  so  much  that  I  could   carry   for   lifetime.     And   the   Star   Light   devotion   made   me   feel   how   small   I   am   and   how   BIG   is   our   God,   taken   all  my  insecurities  away,  and  the  Ring  of  Honor-­‐  Man  I  remember  one  teen  coming  down  to  me  and  talking   about  his  feeling  towards  God  and  relationship  with  tears  and  thanking  me  for  helping  him.  Its  definitely  not   me,   we   are   able   to   see   the   work   of   spirit   and   still   seeing   for   past   one   year   with   lot   of   teens   baptism.     Awaiting  for  The  SWAMP  2015  to  see  many  more  miracles.                            Love,  Karthik  (pictured,  right)               Bahamas   It   is   hard   being   the   only   teen   disciple   in   a   small   church,   very   rarely   is   there   anyone  who  can  truly  relate  to  what  you  experience.  For  me,  Camp  Swamp  was   not  only  an  opportunity  to  serve  but  also  to  fellowship  with  other  teen  disciples   that  would  be  able  to  help  inspire  me  in  my  walk  with  God.  I  arrived  at  camp   knowing  that  the  journey  began  months  earlier  as  the  teen’s  ministry  planned   fundraisers   to   attend   camp.     Although   we   did   not   raise   sufficient   funds,   God   provided   and   I   was   able   to   attend.     I   was   asked   to   be   a   counselor   to   the   younger  boy’s  cabin  and  it  was  encouraging  to  be  with  campers  throughout  the  week.  We  could  often  be   seen   playing   various   sports   and   socializing.   During   camp   my   heart   to   serve   was   evident   as   I   took   the   responsibility  of  helping  the  boys  very  seriously.  Usually  reserved  with  little  to  say  I  took  on  a  different  role   and  could  be  seen  dancing,  socializing  and  enjoying  the  atmosphere  of  fun  and  fellowship.    On  returning  to   Grand  Bahamas,  I  was  eager  share  what  I  had  learnt  and  willing  to  serve  and  give  my  best.  I  continued  to   serve  during  the  summer  as  part  of  our  vacation  bible  school  for  under  privileged  children  where  I  again  took   on   the   responsibility   of   a   group   of   children.   I   now   serve   in   the   children’s   ministry   and   contribute   more   to   building   the   teen   ministry   and   am   excelling   at   my   high   school   and   in   my   extracurricular   activities.   While   there   are   areas   that   I   is   constantly   working   on   I   want   my   life   to   continue   to   be   an   example   that   God   can   influence  and  change  anyone.                        Thank  you,  Sheldon  Graham,  (pictured,  right) 14

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p. 15

  Sharing a laugh at Family Camp. Photo by Alison Lynn 15 Grabbing a Snack from the Canteen. Photo by Alison Lynn

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