The Piankatank Connection
We wanted to let you know of some exciting things that are changing here at Camp Piankatank. After much thought and discussion we have decided to make some changes to some of the activities this summer in the Amazing Adventure and Extreme Escape tracts.
First of all, every morning after worship, we’re going to have some camp-wide crazy games. These will be high energy, exciting, and there’s a good chance you’ll get messy. It’s a brand new way to start the day!
Next, you’ll have the chance to choose an activity you’d like to go to during a shortened activity time. You can choose to go with friends or do something yourself and meet new friends. It’s your opportunity to not have to be with your cabin or activity group. It’s also your opportunity to try something new. This way, you also won’t have to do the things that you don’t want to do. Some of the activities that will be available to choose from are archery, missions, crafts, cooking, golf, outdoor games, and camping skills.
We’re very excited for these new changes, and we hope that you are too. See you soon!
In His Service,
Do your women want a FUN weekend of fellowship and Bible study together?
On top of that, do you want it for less than $100 a person?
CampPiankatankis offering Women’s weekend packages for only $80/person! This is not a big conference with big crowds and big price tags. It is just for the women in your church to pick a weekend convenient to you and get away for a weekend of simple fellowship and time with God.
Camp Piankatank Retreat Director, Niki Gourley, has authored a guided prayer and Bible study manual you can use, or bring a speaker, or study materials you would like to use.
We’ll do all the cooking and you get to stay in our new group lodges. Just because we are called a camp does not mean this is anything like camping. Our lodges have central AC and heat, a living room with sofas and tables, a kitchenette, large bathrooms with Rinnai hot water heaters (meaning you will not run out of hot water) and each lodge has at least one screened porch and deck. The views of thePiankatankRiver on our overlook will take your breath away.
The presented schedule is just a suggestion, be flexible depending on your group’s desires and interests- this is a relaxing weekend.
Friday- Meet at a local inexpensive restaurant for dinner and carpool from there. Or meet at your church. Arrive at a time convenient for you any time Friday evening. If you can arrive at camp by dinner we can plan dinner here for you.
8:00am- Hot Breakfast of eggs, biscuits and sausage and cereals, with hot coffee and juices prepared by the camp’s staff
9:00am Session 1 from whatever study materials you have chosen
10:30am Morning Break and fellowship- if you would like, maybe have someone crafty coordinate a small, fun adult craft
12:00 Lunch- Chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad, chips, and salad bar with juices and tea- Cookies for dessert
1:00pm Session 2
2:30pm Afternoon activities offered by camp staff. You choose, depending on the activity comfort of your group and weather- swimming in pool, canoeing, rock wall, zip-line, group games, more crafting, sports, sitting and talking, or go out for coffee.
6:00pm Dinner- Spaghetti, green beans, garlic bread, salad bar and cake or pie for dessert
8:00 Session 3
9:00 Have someone bring manicure sets or board games or stuff for ice cream sundaes. If you’re interested we’d be glad to set up a bonfire with s’mores for you.
8:00am Breakfast- pancakes, bacon, fruit, cereals, coffee and juices
9:00 Session 4
11:00 Head out, if you’d like to stay for lunch we can plan that for you, or we can set up bag lunches for you to take on the road.
As you can see, the schedule is flexible for you group’s interests and allows a lot of time for fellowship and time in God’s word.
Price- Two nights, with four meals, and activities – $80/person.
Important Note- you must have 15 or more attendees to be able to use our lodges and receive the package price.
Suggested Price includes- 4 meals (breakfast Saturday through breakfast Sunday), 2 nights of lodging and up to 3 hours of camp activities (these hours of activities are free as a part of our package so if you choose to only have 1 hour or no hours cost is not adjusted). We do provide s’mores at 1 campfire. The guided prayer and Bible study materials are provided for free if you choose to use them, please let us know if your plan so we can have them ready.
Please note we can personalize a package price for you if you want more or less meals. If you choose the route of a speaker for your Bible study times you will likely pay them and adjust the price you tell attendees. If you plan to provide snacks or crafts you may consider adjusting the price you tell attendees.
The “Guided Prayer and Bible Study Guide”, written by Niki Gourley, Camp Piankatank’s Retreat Director, is intended for significant amounts of time in personal prayer and meditation on God’s word followed by group discussion. The group is intended to start each session with a few minutes of group prayer, then the group will spread out and everyone finds a quiet place to be with God. On nice days there are many places around camp outside to find a beautiful view and quiet spot or some will probably go back to their lodge. After this time (30-45 minutes) pick a time and place to meet back together and go through the group discussion guide. Larger groups will split into groups of 10-15 for discussion. Women are encouraged to be open and honest in these discussions. The discussion is intended to be personal and open our hearts to each other and God’s working. Feel free to email us and we’d be glad to send you a copy to preview.
What to do next:
- Choose a leader or 2. Ideal leaders are women in the church who know a lot of people and are able to do some coordinating.
- Call us. 804-776-9552 or email email@example.com. Come seeCampPiankatank if you would like to. We’ll look at which dates are available on our calendar and talk about what your goals are for your event.
- Decide a date with consultation between dates available with the camp and dates good for your attendees. Remember it’s going to be impossible to pick a date good for EVERYONE. Just pick one that’s good for most and go with it.
- Decide your spiritual theme. The camp has organized a guided prayer and Bible study manual for women’s retreats, but you may also consider bringing and paying a speaker or using materials like Beth Moore or a book study.
- Tell camp which date you’ve decided on and we’ll get it all set up. A 15% deposit of your estimated total cost will be due at time of reservation. You will need to estimate how many will attend.
- Decide how you want people to sign up. Maybe the church secretary or one of you designated leaders. Decide how you want people to pay. We suggest being flexible with payments, asCampPiankatankrequires only one initial deposit and the rest is due after your event (we send you an invoice).
- Get creative. Depending on your group’s interests assign a snack coordinator, cabin decorator, craft coordinator, sports coordinator or none if you just want to hang out, that’s fine.
- Start advertising. Put it in the church bulletin. Call women personally, especially women new to your church will appreciate a personal invitation.
- The camp will need your updated estimated total 2 weeks in advance and a firm total 1 week in advance.
Come and ENJOY.
I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus. Niki and I stayed home with Elijah and Yoseph, and her family came to visit. Elijah loved having his grandparents visit, and was very sad to see them go. Yoseph did great meeting new people and all the new and exciting things happening. All together it was a great time spending time together and giving gifts to each to each other.
Tomorrow brings a new year, a time when people everywhere make all kinds of resolutions to make themselves better people, whether it’s making themselves physically better by eating right or exercising, making themselves mentally better by resolving to read through a book, making themselves emotionally better by resolving to make a wronged relationship right, or making themselves spiritually better by resolving to read their Bible or pray more. Whatever it is, whether something more materialistic or something more altruistic, statistics show (and experience tells us) that people more than likely will not keep these resolutions. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I’m sure most of us have heard all of them, new year’s resolutions just don’t stick. Maybe it’s because they’re too lofty of goals, or unrealistic, or something else. Whatever it is I would like to make a few suggestions to maybe help us keep these resolutions (myself included).
First, maybe we should set smaller, short-term goals. Rather than attempting to make a complete life-style change at the drop of a hat or setting a goal that lasts all year long (like read through the Bible in a year), perhaps we could decide to set a goal of eating dessert every other night rather than every night (to stat cutting back those calories so we can be a little healthier). Or rather than saying I’m going to read my Bible daily, maybe you should start with just reading it weekly.
Second, it’s usually a good idea to have somebody that holds you accountable, somebody that’s not afraid to ask you how you are doing with your resolution, to give you encouragement when you fail, and to give you a hard time if necessary. Somebody that can really speak frankly with you, and you won’t get offended by them (this may mean you need to become a little more “thick-skinned” and remember this person is trying to help you).
Third, make an action plan or steps to reach your ultimate goal. Maybe the goal you need to make is something lofty and long-term, that’s okay, but sometimes it will make it easier if you can come up with smaller goals to meet along the way. Break it up into quarterly, monthly, or even weekly goals that you need to meet in order to make your ultimate goal. If all you have in front of you is one huge goal, you’ll soon lose interest with it or start to feel like you’ll never reach it. Setting these smaller goals will help tremendously.
Finally, to help meet your new year’s goals, set a goal (or goals) that you can do right away. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell a friend about Christ. Help out a charity. Whatever it is, just do it. Don’t wait until you forget or something else happens to take precedence, just decide, and act. I want to give you the opportunity right now to help out. We have begun our first ever annual fund drive. If Camp Piankatank is important to you or somebody you love, then help out. Any amount you give will help. You can conveniently give through the Paypal link below (please remember that a portion of this is taken out for credit card fees), or you mail us a check. Thank you in advance for your gift, and have a safe and happy New Year!.
In His Service,
I wanted to put up a quick post to wish you a Merry Christmas. This is such a wonderful time of year to celebrate the birth of our Savior. To remember how God humbled Himself to come in the form of His creation. To be reminded how the great and glorious Lord of the universe came in the form of the defenseless baby boy. How He did all these things so that everyone might be able to be called a child of the King, and so that we can take part in His inheritance and be with Him in eternity.
Recently, in the spirit of thankfulness that is such a part of this season, I decided to make a list of the things that I love and I’m thankful for about Camp Piankatank. One thing I love is knowing that the work we do is for eternal purposes. I don’t work here to be successful or to receive the praise of people, and neither does anybody else who works here. We do our work here to glorify God and to further His kingdom. We do our work here because of the great gift that we’ve received that we are so compelled to tell everyone about so that they might also have that gift. So this week, tell someone you come in contact with about this gift. If you would like to support the work that we do here, please pray and consider contributing to our Annual Fund. Any amount that you give will benefit us. You can give by clicking the Donate button below, mail a check, or you can check out the page on our website for more information. Have blessed day and a Merry Christmas!
In His Service,
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3
In 2007, I began working at Piankatank as a counselor. I had a fair amount of experience working with youth but not necessarily in a camp setting. During staff training, we were given lessons on how to facilitate low ropes activities. By the time all of the lessons were done, I had a sense of fulfillment and what I thought was a knowledge the campers did not have. Before I knew it, the first week of camp arrived and I had my first cabin of campers. I was so excited to take the kids out and “lead” them on the low ropes. We arrived to the activity and I began explaining the rules for our first activity called “Gator Boards.” As I stumbled over my words trying to explain it, a camper politely began helping me on the rules of the activity. This, unfortunately, was not the only time this happened. Throughout the remainder of the activity time, campers were “tutoring” me on the rules. It was at that point that I realized that these campers have done this quite a bit. As it turned out, I knew little in comparison to the campers. Ever since then, I have had a drive to change up activities so campers are faced with new challenges that encourage growth physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. The drive I developed 4 years ago is the same drive pushing me as I plan out the activities for summer 2012.
The plans for next summer have been underway since last summer and they are coming along wonderfully! We have already figured out the dates and theme for next year. The theme is on medieval times and we have titled it “Medieval Times: Land of Valor and Virtue.” The intent behind next year’s theme is to teach campers how to look to Scripture for setting their standards in everything. We want campers to stop looking to media and start looking at Christ for how to live their lives. For guys, we desire to teach them about what it means to respect a lady and respect authority. To love others the way Christ loves us, with a selfless and forgiving heart. For girls, we desire to teach them about what it means to be Godly women. They will learn about Scripture’s views on modesty and how modesty in itself is showing respect towards males. We are still in the planning phase for the summer, but my hope is that we can provide parents with material to talk with their kids about what they learned during the summer. Many kids end a week of camp with a new outlook on life. By providing parental figures with supplemental material, campers can continue to grow after they leave camp.
Being an outdoor leader, I have seen and experienced the effectiveness of experiential education. I have also watched it fail due to the bore and monotony of the activities. We are in a culture where constant change is what holds attention. I am sure many of you are like me, your new phone became the old phone within a few weeks or months of buying it. The same concept transfers into experiential education in that campers look for the new and exciting thing to do at camp. It is because of this constant desire for change that I am currently in the process of rethinking our low ropes activities and how the other activities are presented to campers. In doing so, kids who have done the same low ropes activities for years will have a new and exciting experience to look forward to, that “new thing at camp.” I want to see campers who are deeply engaged in activities rather than just going through the motions. It is not uncommon for campers to leave camp on an emotionally high note, one that has the potential to fade soon after camp. Our desire is to see campers leave with changed hearts, impacted for a lifetime.
With Love in Christ,
In honor of the many storms that have come through all of the eastern United States in the past week, I thought I would share my thoughts and get your thoughts about a few things.
Here at camp, every year we finish the summer, and immediately start brain-storming and planning for next summer. We discuss what we did right, what we did wrong, what we can do better, and what we can do new. We decide what we want to still do next year, stop doing next year, and what our theme should be for next year. It’s a process that’s quite involved, but it’s what I love to do. I love to brainstorm, come up with ideas, cast a vision, and assign others to come up with the details. I’m not a details kind of guy. I have no problem expressing my opinion, but as far as coming up with specific details on my own, it takes me a while. I’m just not that organized. I can admit that. That’s why I hire people like Matt Hunt who can help come up with the details, while I pay attention to the organization of Camp Piankatank as a whole.
Matt, Niki, and I have been talking about all of these things for over a month now. We really started this whole process before the summer was over for us. We have a lot of ideas, and a lot of dreams for Camp Piankatank, all of which will help us meet our mission of creating a safe, and exciting Christ-centered environment that encourages spiritual, physical, social, and emotional growth in all of our campers. Everything we do follows this pattern, and it’s why we do what we do. We expect to see growth in all of our campers, we train our counselors extensively to achieve this, and partner with different camp pastors to help us do this. Any decision we make about camp or the camp program will always have to do with reaching more children, children that might not otherwise hear about or come to Camp Piankatank, so that we might also encourage growth in them. We want to encourage growth in the whole child, all the while knowing that it’s God who actually causes that growth. Our goal here is not to make more money by offering new or different programs, our goal is to reach more children and youth for Christ. Christ has changed our lives, Christ has changed our hearts, Christ has called us to share this with others. We can’t help but desire to reach children and youth that wouldn’t otherwise come here. This is our passion, this is our desire. For God’s glory, and for our benefit.
All that being said, there are a few things we wanted to get input on. We sent an e-mail out to a random selection of families with a link to a survey on it. I thought this might be a different way to get some input. We asked what new programs people would be interested in seeing. Just for clarification, we are not planning on taking out any of our programs from this past year, in fact all of them were very well attended. We will never get rid of our Amazing Adventure tract, which is the one that’s considered a more traditional camp experience. So, what might you be interested in? Rock climbing/bouldering? Golf Camp? Soccer Camp? Adult Tripping Program (hiking, backpacking, kayaking, etc. – possibly in the fall)? Father/Son Golf Tournament? Mother/Daughter Golf Tournament? Other?
Another thing we are considering is changing our single-gender weeks to coed weeks. As I stated above, our motivation is not to make money, but because of the time and place we live in our decisions have to be somewhat motivated by money. The single gender weeks have generated about half the interest of the co-ed weeks. Even when we increased the price for all the weeks except the single-gender weeks, the numbers were still the same. The overhead cost associated with running a summer camp is pretty significant, and it makes it hard to justify offering a single-gender week. We barely cover our direct costs for these weeks, much less our indirect costs. I say this, simply to make you aware of what is influencing our decision. I grew up at Camp Piankatank when it was an RA camp, I know it’s history, I love it’s history. It’s hard for me to even consider making this decision, but it’s one that we must consider out of necessity. I know the dynamic completely changes when you put the opposite gender into the mix. I know the theology behind the differences of men and women, and I know the importance of teaching them separately. That’s why also in our consideration of this, we are adding times where the boys and girls will be separate for some of the Bible studies, and some of the activities. Young men and women should be able to connect with an older role model and hear about how God has specifically called them the be a young man or woman of God, without being distracted and trying to impress the opposite gender. So, what do you think? I’m talking mainly to those who come to the single-gender weeks now. Would you want to come to a coed week? Parents, would you want to send your child to a coed week?
After all this talk about brain-storming, the clouds are finally gone, there is blue sky on the horizon. We’re looking forward to a great summer in 2012!
For God’s glory, and our benefit.
If you’re reading this, that means you are on our much anticipated new website. I hope that you find it easy to navigate, and very helpful. We are still working on some content and layout, but the information that is available is correct. Don’t forget to register for summer camp! It’ll be here before we know it! Please, share any comments, questions, or suggestions you have. As I said, we are still making changes, and we want this to work the best for you. Let us know how we can do that.