Monday, July 18, 2016

Adventurers & Pathfinders

What a week! We have been blessed with almost 90 fabulous campers who have come ready to learn about God. The two sessions hold their chapel and games separately, but get to experience the joys and excitements of camp together.

Adventurers and Pathfinders have been having an action packed and God-filled week. Having fun with scavenger hunts, skill building, DIY's, survival skills, mystery dinners, and more! Pathfinders ended their week with a tractor pull- doing the immovable challenge!

Speaker Abby Smith has taught the Adventurers to be fearless in their faith, to follow Christ even when it's hard. Even when we are knocked down and pressed by troubles, we can be strong and immovable in Him.

Here is a quote from our Adventurers speaker:

God looked at all of His creation and said that it was very good. He looks at us the same way when we are born. We are very good. But we are given free will and with that free will we often make bad choices. But God forgives us constantly for those bad choices inviting us to embrace them by forgiving ourselves. He renews our hearts and minds and pushes us towards the person he has created us to be. Life is hard and we are constantly being pressed down, knocked over and getting frustrated. But God uses those moments for us to learn more about Him, gain wisdom and learn more about others around us. Through it all we can invite His love to fill us up and pour out to those around us in order to fulfill the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Here is a quote from our Pathfinders speaker, Nathan Smith:

Through stories, games and Bible teaching, Pathfinders week delivered the message of God's unbreakable love and how that love gives us an immovable faith to persevere even in the midst of hardships. We were able to lead our campers through the story of the "two" lost sons of Luke 15 as well as the story of God's love for Israel depicted in the book of Hosea. The campers spent a lot of time hearing and experiencing the love of God in the first three days. Midweek, we invited them to ask questions about Jesus, jump into a life with Jesus or rekindle their commitment for Jesus. Most responded by praying with their counselors for something after impressing on them on last time that even though we can break God's laws and commandments, and even God's heart, we can never break his love.

Life with God is not meant to be easy, even though it is fulfilling and true. For those who choose to follow Jesus, they will inherit the kingdoms of this world and take care of creation alongside King Jesus. This is their destiny, this is why they can't give up and even though they can be troubled, frustrated, harassed and knocked down, with God's love and power, they can also be unbreakable

It has been a blessing to minister to such a wonderful group of campers. Hope to see them all again next summer!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Onto the Next

As we move into the next week of camp, we reflect and praise God for the opportunity we are given to minister to so many campers. On the last day of Youngteen, campers shared what they had learned during the week and how they had grown in their relationship with Christ.

One camper said they had been living far from Christ, not putting Him first, and ignoring the chances to minister to others. Now, they feel they can follow through with their faith, doing things for God instead of for themselves.

Another said the Lord showed them how to be faithful even in hard times. A few campers got reminders that He really cares and is always there, watching over them. It is humbling to hear campers say that they had been given the chance to grow closer to Him and to learn patience.

One last thought from the campfire, "my faith is not a lie, He will always be there."

Thank you Youngteen for a fantastic week!

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Youngteen/Triple W Youngteen 2016

Summer is off to a great start with Youngteen and Triple W! Campers are having an amazing week learning and growing in Christ as well as playing games competing to earn the most team points.

Teams are made up of two cabins each, one guy cabin and one girl cabin. They create a name and a team cheer. Campers have played a lot of exciting games this summer including Surge and Night Raiders. It has been a blessing to see the support and encouragement campers give each other, even when they're on opposing teams!

Triple W-Youngteen has daily morning riding lessons learning how to communicate effectively to the horse they are riding. Their afternoon "skill builder" time they use for working with their Triple W team in creating a drill team routine to show off to their family at the end of the week. There is a lot of awesome team work happening all over camp!

Campers attend chapel every morning and night, and have been learning a lot from returning speaker Josh Koskinen. The band, from Indiana Wesleyan University, has been very involved this week! The members participate in games and get the campers pumped and ready to learn about God through worship.

This weeks theme is Unbreakable, learning to put all of our trust in God and to not be afraid of spreading the good news. A powerful quote from Josh at the beginning of the week: "We might get knocked down.. but never destroyed because we have a mighty God!"

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Triple W Campers

Campers learn canoeing safety
Power Ball
When it Rains, it Pours

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Youngteen 2015

Campers have been having a busy and energetic week! It's hard to believe that it's almost over. Youngteen is always a great week because it's full of kids who are eager to play, learn, and grow.

They have been playing some intense and creative games like Greasy Watermelon and Surge with their teams. It's been a fierce competition between the four teams this week, but it means everyone has been very involved and invested in each camp activity.

This year, Triple W (our session with a horse emphasis) has been much more integrated with the rest of Youngteen, which has been really fun! The girls compete in all of the night games, attend chapel, and get to have the best of both the Hitching Post and the rest of camp. They've also been learning a lot about grooming, riding, driving, vaulting, and have been working hard on a routine for their Drill Team performance. We can't wait to see all of the confidence and skills they've gained put into action on Saturday!

Campers have been encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and try new things here. Talking to the campers, it sounds like they've really enjoyed it. One camper, Kiara, tried archery for the first time and hit a bullseye. Joe said that at first he didn't want to play Surge, but once he tried it, he had a lot of fun and even won!

Chapel has been a wonderful time of worship and learning about God's word. The band 'Revolution' is from Indiana Wesleyan University, and they have been teaching new songs and getting the campers pumped up to worship God. They've even joined in on some of the games!

This week's speaker, Josh Koskinen, has been discussing how campers can make their light for Jesus brighter. These chapel sessions have sparked some great conversations in the cabins with their counselors. One camper said that she had never heard some of theses Bible stories, so it's exciting for her to hear about people like Zacchaeus. Her cabin stayed up late having a great discussion about what they learned in chapel. It's so encouraging to hear campers on fire for learning about Jesus and asking their counselors great questions.

Each cabin has been bonding through their small groups and their cabin activities. John said that his favorite thing to do at camp is ride the banana boat because it's something everyone in his cabin enjoys. Kahil said that his favorite cabin activity is horseback riding because he got to know his horse, Titan, who liked Kahil so much that he rubbed his nose against him. Campers experience Christ's love through the small but significant moments at camp like these.

We praise God for the wonderful weather He has blessed this week with, and for the enthusiasm and continued energy of the campers and staff. We will be sad to say goodbye to this awesome group of fun-loving and unique set of campers. Please pray for them as they get ready to say goodbye to camp so that they can stay on fire for the Lord!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Taste of Camp

Saturday was Taste of Camp, a day to explore Phantom Ranch, share stories, celebrate 60 years of ministry, and pray for what God is doing here. 414 people registered for and attended the event, with even more showing up the day of. God provided the staff and volunteers to make the day run smoothly. All the camp activities available, including archery, paintball, crafts, horse rides, and swimming and boating at the waterfront. Attendees were able to have meals at the bonfire pit and dining hall. The day took a lot of planning and organization which paid off on Saturday when so many were able to enjoy camp!

A big thank you to all the families and individuals who came and spent the day here. It was wonderful to see all of the fellowship and fun going on at camp– serving and sharing Christ's love with as many people as we can reach is exactly why Phantom Ranch exists. What a blessing it was to share camp with so many!

Roy Tanner, who has served as the Executive Director of Phantom Ranch since 1976, spoke about his long history with the camp and where he sees God leading it as Olen Johnsen, currently the Associate Director, becomes the new Executive Director. Rick Wager, the son of the first camp director, also shared how camp has impacted him.

Thank you again for supporting Phantom Ranch! Keep checking back for posts about our summer camps. God does amazing things during those weeks, so keep praying for His work and for all of the campers!