Around here we say that we are a “Christ-centered” camp, but what does that really mean? Why is it a good thing? How does it affect your day to day experience as a camper or counselor?
To answer that, we have to cover a little history (it’ll be fun, we promise!). God has been a part of Greystone from the very beginning - we were even founded by a Presbyterian minister. Dr. Sevier stepped back from his prominent position in a large church (the pinnacle of his career) to start a camp because he was convinced that camp was what our children needed. That camp could was exceptionally powerful, worthwhile, and effective in warming young hearts to the good news of God’s love.
In the years afterward, faith continued to be a foundational part of camp. Church services were held on Sundays and Christian values were taught in a quiet way. However, the biggest change happened in the 1970s when Libby Miller made a bold stand for Christ, despite the hesitations of her fellow directors. Our Centennial book says it best:
“Libby confidently stated that from that point forward, Greystone would boldly claim the name of the Lord, hiring only those who had a strong relationship with Jesus, making God a part of the traditions of Camp, and claiming His glory as the highest goal…. Jesus would do what He wanted with Greystone. It was His. If Camp had to close in a year or two because of financial collapse, then Camp would do so gladly. His will be done! If He wants a camp to build His Kingdom, then let Him have this one.”
And so we did. From that point on, we have boldly claimed Christ in this place. Being a Christ-centered camp is a fundamental part of our identity, out of which everything else flows. So what does that mean in practice?
First and foremost, we strive to give God glory in everything we do. You’ll see it hanging on our front gates: “Dedicated to the Glory of God.” This is our purpose as image-bearers, and it informs what we do as camp Directors. We want every decision we make, every event we put on, every activity we offer to be to this end, so we are prayerful and purposeful in it all. Jimboy says it well, “when we glorify Him, all the other details just seem to fall into place.”
We want to be the best camp we can be not for our own glory, but for His. Our God is extravagant and beautiful and kind, the giver of all good things. If we are to reflect Him, shouldn’t we be known by all these things as well? With that in mind, we are constantly improving every aspect of the camp experience; we won’t settle for good enough! We want our excellence to reflect His excellence.
All of this serious, God-glorifying talk can sound heavy for a girls’ summer camp, but in practice it looks like having a lot of fun! Worship and prayer are naturally woven into our days, but we never want to preach at our campers. Our goal is to show them Jesus’ goodness by the way we live day to day, the way we love and serve them, and yes, the way we dance with abandon and tell silly jokes and roll down the hill just to laugh. Camp is a great place to learn that life as a Christian doesn’t have to be boring! Jesus said He came so that we might have abundant life, and we want to live that way every day in the bubble.
Finally, being a Christ-centered camp means that no decision is taken lightly. We know that the little things matter in His Kingdom, and He uses it all, so we do this work every day relying on Him - we couldn’t do it otherwise! We pray at the beginning of every meeting and throughout the process of making any new decisions. We regularly pray for our counselors and campers by name, and when the work is done, we trust it to the Lord, that He would use our imperfect efforts.
Because of course, we are not perfect (far, far from it!), and Greystone is not perfect. But we know that every day God uses imperfect people and places to accomplish His good work, and we humbly hope to be a small part of that. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the last couple years as we’ve celebrated our 100th, it’s that God has used this little thing we call camp. May the next 100 years give Him the glory!