Lizzie Peguero Peña
Lizzie Perguero Peña
Cohutta Springs Youth Camp (CSYC) is a place some people refer to as “Heaven on Earth.” It is a place where children are allowed to be the person God has created them to be, without any judgment or ridicule. Expressing that a place feels like “Heaven on Earth,” is describing that it feels pleasantly unreal. So, why do people say that CSYC feels “pleasantly unreal?”
CSYC opened in the summer of 1980, and the number of staff and campers has increased over time as the camp has grown. The camp has an array of things to offer its campers. It has activities like archery, basketball, horsemanship, wakeboarding, mountain biking, and more. However, there is something that Adventist camps have to offer that you cannot always find on your average summer vacation. Adventist camps offer an experience that allows you to see God in a different light. They allow campers to see what a relationship with Christ can truly look like.
Cohutta Springs Youth Camp has a Vespers every Friday night. During Vespers, the staff put on a play about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The staff are given the opportunity all week to show the campers what it means to love and give grace as Jesus did, and then, on Friday night, the campers get to see a reenactment of the greatest act of grace.
At the end of their week, the campers fill out an evaluation to anonymously express how their week went. Every summer, in recent years, campers tend to write that the staff at Cohutta are one of the biggest reasons that they felt a connection with Christ that week. Campers often say they enjoy camp so much, and a large part of that is the staff who show them love and point them to Jesus. Oh, and the water slide is fun, too.
This year was a big year for the CSYC staff to witness to their campers, with massive impact. There were 461 campers who made decisions to follow Christ, along with 312 decisions for baptism, 400 decisions to continue to walk with Jesus, four staff baptized, and 10 campers baptized. The unique highlight about this summer at CSYC is someone was baptized every week of camp! Adventist summer camps are winning hearts for the Kingdom every week of their summers.
One question on the survey that the staff added this year and were especially fond of, was asking if the camper wanted to continue to follow Christ. Normally, the questions are geared toward children who are not currently following Christ, but the staff wanted to add a question for those who already follow Jesus and want to continue that journey. “It is important to not only provide an opportunity for young people to make a decision for Christ, it is equally important to reaffirm those who have been baptized and reinforce their decision,” said Jonathan Montes, summer camp director.
Camp is a unique experience for everyone who attends, both campers and staff. Camp can change an individual’s life if they open their heart to it. The Holy Spirit is working through the camps to reach the new generation. Continue to pray that campers seek Christ after their summer experience.
Georgia-Cumberland | October 2023