At their recent annual convention, the Association of Adventist Camp Professionals named Camp Heritage “2018 Camp of the Year.”
Each year, the AACP evaluates 59 Adventist summer camps across the North American Division, taking into account areas such as activities, camp facilities, community, marketing, programming and spiritual development. Camps that excel in one or more areas are recognized with a “Certificate of Award.” Camps that excel in all areas are recognized with an “Award of Excellence.” The camp of the year is chosen from among the camps that received an award of excellence.
Camp Heritage had previously won awards of excellence in 2012 and 2014.
“It’s truly humbling to be recognized as camp of the year and a camp of excellence by our peers and the leadership of the Adventist camp community,” said Denison Sager, camp director. “There are so many great camps across our division, and they are all doing such incredible, life-changing work. We’re honored to be part of that network.”
The impact of Adventist camps is astonishing. Approximately 30,000 campers attend Adventist camps each summer, staffed by 3,000 young people—mostly high school and college students—who minister to the campers each week.
“It’s energizing to see how much impact our staff can have in campers’ lives,” says Gina Beldin, staff mentor. “People often picture summer camp as only fun and games. But it’s real ministry. Campers are meeting Jesus, and staff are learning to share and to lead. These are skills they want and skills our schools and churches need.”
“There are a lot of reasons I think Camp Heritage is an excellent camp,” said Sager. Among those reasons, he says, are a radio station serving the nearby community, recent construction and upgrades to the physical plant and technology infrastructure, steady growth in attendance, and an energized and growing donor base with a desire to ensure continued improvement at the camp.
Staying in touch with the local community is also an important factor. “I think the thing that really caught a lot of people by surprise was our weekly food drives on our check-in days,” said Jeffrey Fender, assistant camp director. “Our campers and parents really rallied around the cause. It was a great thing for hungry families in our community, and our local ministry partner, Born Again Clothes. It’s such a simple project with an incredible impact.”
“We are thrilled to receive the Camp of the Year award,” said Sager. “But I think all camp staff everywhere are really looking forward to the, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ award. That’s the one we are all hoping for!”
To learn more about Camp Heritage, visit campheritage.org.