This year’s Foundation Campers “failed” more TAC (Team Adventure Challenge) elements than any other group in past years; but because of that failure, they became some of the most teachable. Designed specifically for those interested in developing a solid foundation for growing in their spiritual life, Foundation Camp is an intense, two-week Bible Study and personal assessment that will reveal both strengths and weaknesses. Through teaching times, TAC, service projects, and evangelism training/experience the campers were challenged to grow both physically and spiritually. As taught in their “Core Training” sessions, growth happens at the point of resistance. Sometimes it takes multiple failures and wrong turns for a person to start paying attention to what God is saying to them and begin to make changes in their life. By experiencing defeat over and over again, the campers learned valuable lessons that united them in the end.
One specific TAC element that was especially a challenge was the jump rope. To describe in words: two people hold a 30 foot rope and swing it around. The group needs to organize themselves so that they get 10 groups of people under the rope in ascending order, starting with one person, then two, and so on. This means that some people in the group need to run back to the other side to go through again. And again. And again. The Foundation Campers attempted to complete the jump rope challenge several times on two separate days. But they never finished it. It was a source of frustration for many and yet they never gave up.
However, not every moment was as discouraging as the jump rope. Something that the campers excelled at was being teachable.
One of the campers shared that she enjoyed “learning about God’s story in their early morning Bible study–how the Bible is all one big picture.” (Makala Willette)
Another camper mentioned a highlight of his was “when the whole group circled up to pray in the evenings before heading to their covered wagons.” (James Swim)
“During one TAC element, we had to put all of our weight on another person to keep ourselves up. This was supposed to resemble how we need to put all of our hope and trust in God, not just some, but all.” (Emma Everhart)
“I think that one of the lessons I learned/was reminded of was how powerless we are to stop sin and therefore we desperately need Jesus as our savior…. and we need Him after we’re saved, we don’t just use Him as a tool for salvation and then throw Him away. We have to constantly come back to Him for guidance and to grow in our walks.” (Josiah Riley)
Throughout the two weeks, the team leaders coached their campers to work towards a personal growth goal. Every person was willing to make changes in their life and responded with humility when a team leader pointed out a growth area. But the top highlight of the two weeks came on the very last day.
At the end of their closing ceremony when the parents were gathered together with their sons and daughters, the campers were told they would have one last chance to successfully complete the jump rope challenge. Almost immediately, they circled up to form a quick strategy and to pray one last time. They were given just one practice and one final try. Running through a practice run, they almost completed it. Finally, they went for it one last time. They counted down: five…four…three…two…one! And one-by-one, each group ran through the rope all the way up to ten. The campers could hardly believe it. Everything they had worked towards came together at the very end. It was a picture of the past two weeks–a pattern of failure, then reflection, then action.
“I learned that it’s in the hard times, when you’re most tired, most miserable, when your heart is most in turmoil, that you find God. I found that His unconditional presence in my life and His never failing peace were most vivid when storms were raging around me; in both a figurative and literal sense.” (Sofia Hadley)
How you can pray for the Foundation Campers:
Pray that the lessons they have learned and the goals they set over the past two weeks would not be forgotten now that camp is over but would carry over and become habits.
Pray for accountability partners and people in their lives that would encourage them to finish the race strong.
Pray for leadership opportunities and ways for them to grow through the “failures” in life.