People often ask, "Andy, so what's the difference in your place at KIVU?" And I think it's a great question. It's a question that not only needs to continue to be asked by us and those who participate, but it's a question with a real answer.
The difference in KIVU and other summer programs isn't simple enough to tout our backpacking programs, our biking programs, our rock climbing, or even our boats and jet skis. It's not enough to write of the friends that come from around the world. And it's too easy to point and say, "I promise you're going to have fun."
No, the difference in KIVU and other places around the country is our commitment to excellence in allowing teenagers to grow and explore who they are. We provide all the activities a Colorado Summer Camp will provide, but we're deeply concerned about how teenagers develop into people who understand relationships, social interaction, and faith principles.
I was in New York not long ago, and I had a conversation with a mom. She approached me and asked, "Are you a 'born again' camp?"
I looked at her with a bit of intrigue. "A born again camp? What exactly does that mean?"
"I went to a camp in the mid-west when I was 13." She began to tell me her story. "They were consumed with trying to get me to say a prayer of salvation. They were constantly telling me about hell, and the night meetings were so obviously manipulative I don't want to have anything to do with religion, even to this day." (She's 43) "For 30 years, I've been struggling to find out what real faith is, and I don't want my kids to have to deal with that."
I walked away from our conversation and wondered how many people are afraid to explore faith because someone else tried to manipulate their emotions when they were young. My heart was heavy for this young woman who legitimately ran away from spiritual discovery because someone tried to twist her arm into the faith. I wonder how many summer camps fall into this category? I can assure you KIVU is not.
The difference in other places and KIVU?
We have set up a process, tested and refined for over 15 years, to allow a student the freedom to explore ideas. We've created an environment where students can ask tough questions. They can learn what people believe about God, about the Bible, and how we can honestly approach God's throne with our lives. We don't shove certain ideas down their throats. We present ideas to students to begin to formulate what it means to believe, how they can connect their behavior to real life, and what they can do to connect with the issues going on in the world.
We encourage kids to explore the gifts God gave them. If they're an athlete, we encourage them in sports. If they're academic, we want to challenge their minds. If they're interested in certain professions, we try to connect them to a network of people who've been to KIVU for the last 10 years. It's our job to encourage teens in our world today.
I wish you could be a fly on the wall when I talk with teenagers today. They often feel trapped. They don't feel the freedom to ask hard questions. They're pressured from all around to perform. They're wandering through life trying to find answers, and the noise of real life drowns out any moment of quiet time they might have to think.
The difference in KIVU and other places?
We want to provide families with a resource, a 14 day get away where teenagers have a chance to think about who they want to be. They have the chance to explore a belief system centered around Jesus. But if they don't want to have anything to do with God, we're committed to loving teenagers anyway. We've got a place where teens can truly work on their whole lives…
Oh yea, and we have a lot of fun doing it!
If you're interested in knowing more about KIVU, be sure to check back here on Fridays as I'll be highlighting some different areas we're working on. We've got some exciting opportunities, and some new products coming to our online webstore.
Until then, we'd like to invite you to join us in the 2011 season. You can go to www.campkivu.com and register online to reserve your spot.