As the saying goes, the end goal of parenting is to put yourself out of a job. For a lot of kids, attending summer camp can be a giant step in developing independence while having a ton of fun. Last March, while glancing at the information table, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Camp Asbury offered a three-day two-night “Discovery Mini” camp for those who would be entering grades 1-4. Neither of my twins (Alex and Will) had ever spent a single night away from both parents, so we thought this would be a great test. And with the camp only 45 minutes from home we could be there quickly if needed. The boys were pretty nervous, but within seconds of meeting the staff, they got excited. By the time we checked in and met their councilors for the week, I barely could get a hug good-bye from either of them as they were already off playing with their new friends.

Since the twins are our only children, my husband Bob and I spent two nights trying to remember who we were pre-parenthood and were super excited to pick the boys up two nights later. What we didn’t expect was both boys bursting into tears over the idea of leaving Camp Asbury! We ended up sending them back later in the summer for the full week “Discover More” experience, which they loved even more.

As a child who grew up going to summer camps, I love the fact that Camp Asbury is a true rustic summer camp experience. Yes, my kiddos were dirty and we did throw away a few pairs of socks, but the leap forward they both took in personal responsibility and growth in their personal relationship with the Lord was completely worth it. They were cared for and encouraged to rely on themselves at the same time. The theme for Camp Asbury is “a natural place for God to find us,” and I could not agree more!

Heidi Brooker