Bethel Christian Camp is such a great place to be. I worked all 8 weeks this summer and loved being surrounded by other staff who love children! Bethel works hard to make the word of Christ known to each and every camper and to show love and also have FUN! I most definitely would recommend Bethel to any one with children. Even if your child has problems fitting in, at Bethel they will feel a sense of belonging, and make friends that last for a lifetime.
As a point of reference, I served as part of Bethel Christian Camp's staff the summers of 2002-2009.
During my tenure at Bethel, I served in various capacities, under different directors, alongside different leaders, and with different staff members nearly ever summer. The things that always stood out the most to me were: 1) The absolute dedication to teaching the Gospel and love of Christ, 2) The "campers first" mentality, and 3) The dedication to ensuring ALL staff were equipped to succeed, lead, encourage and be encouraged.
From Day 1 of camp each summer, there is always an emphasis to sharing and teaching the Gospel. Daily devotions for staff and campers, chapel twice daily with following Q&A time between campers and cabin staff, verse memorization, even staff introductions are designed with sharing the love of Christ. Bethel serves a large inner-city community and many of the children who attend Bethel aren't regularly exposed to scripture. Time and time again I witnessed hardhearted, hurting children who would simply blossom and flourish from the attention and love the staff would pour out week after week. It is a testament to the work the Lord is doing that so many children and young adults give their lives to the Lord because of their time at camp.
We all learned to give more energy, time, thought, consideration, and attentiveness to the kids around us. Living for people other than yourself day in and day out really helps you to appreciate humility and selflessness. Camp is for the kids. While we often had fun as a staff, we also knew that we were being watched...our actions/attitudes/words/behaviors. We always let the kids eat first, we would monitor the staff during games to ensure the kids were enjoying themselves and having fun "catching" staff members. Our goal during group canteen time was to help our campers memorize their verses for that day, spend time playing carpetball, or frisbee, or just hang out with them! This was sometimes easier said than done, but our head staff were always setting the example by engaging with the campers daily.
My last takeaway deals with the extensive training the staff receive prior to the first week of camp. For all staff members, there was a minimum of a 1-week training and orientation period. This was longer for staff in leadership positions, head staff, and those going through lifeguarding training. The topics covered in training were vast and included everything from safety skills (CPR, First Aid, Buddy System, etc), to dealing with difficult situations, how to explain the Gospel in kid-friendly ways, how to inspire encouragement, excitement, camaraderie among children of different backgrounds, lifestyles, socio-economic status, etc. The blessing to working in a small staff is people were instantly aware if you were struggling with something and needed encouragement. There were weekly staff devotion and development times and always someone willing to pray with you. If you needed something, there was an effort to see it provided. The leadership cares deeply for its campers that make camp possible, but also for the staff who give sacrificially to continually serve Bethel's youth. The annual hand-washing ceremony is an incredible and tangible demonstration of their heartfelt attitudes of thankfulness for ALL staff members, as well as their commitment to exhortation and encouragement.
I have since moved away from the South Carolina area, and have a new appreciation of the blessing of camp. I look forward to visiting Bethel when I can, and can't wait until my kids are able to attend.
Review from Guidestar
Our 8 year old son had never been to summer camp and I wanted him to go, I have wonderful memories of camp. We signed up for one of the Junior Weeks in 2014. Everything I wanted to know was answered on the frequently asked question section of the website or the parent information sent at registration. As camp week neared, I realized that six nights away was a lot for a first time experience. I discovered that day camp was an option and the administration allowed me to change. We live locally.
When we arrived at check in Monday, I was thrilled to see that we were not the only ones doing the day camp option. Another parent and child "in line" at registration introduced themselves to us. This boy was a repeat camper and he was friendly. The two counselors with our son's group were friendly. I left feeling great.
Later that day I checked the flicker photo feed and was shocked to see a photo of my child in a canoe! We are not outdoors people and my son does not try new things quickly. He does not have the best balance or fine motor skills. I was so pleased for him at his accomplishment.
These were the reports that I heard: the food is good, the counselors are cool, I want to go back, I made friends.
Our son even stayed over on Friday night and thrived.
I think Bethel is a sweet, safe place that encourages independence, adventure, and relationships. I was pleased with the spiritual components. I loved joining in the excitement on Saturday at closing time. There were a lot of smiles and laughs. The staff appeared thrilled to be working there. We will be back!
Review from Guidestar
My son has been attending camp at Bethel Christian camp for about 5 years. He goes for 2 weeks in the summer and a weekend in the fall. He absolutely loves the camp especially the counselors. They ate so amazing and love the kids so much. The camp is reasonably priced, very safe, fun, and Christian based. They learn about Jesus and themselves at the same time. I would recommend this camp to anyone and everyone.
Review from Guidestar