Eagle Lake Day Camp On Location has partnered with North Littleton Promise (NLP) in Colorado for four summers, to bring a week of day camp to a neighborhood made up largely of immigrants. NLP is a Christ-centered non-profit organization serving kids and their families, providing tutoring, leadership development, and other support. The value of working with NLP is significant, since Eagle Lake brings an energetic staff and program to the community for a week during the summer while NLP provides ongoing discipleship and connection for those who attend the day camp. Six local churches partner in ministry, to multiply the impact.
Suz Greer, an Eagle Lake staff alumna who works for NLP says, “On Location serves as a catalyst for these kids’ faith. When they’re with us in NLP after school programs, they do hear about Jesus and the Bible, but we only see them about four hours a week. And some of that time is spent doing homework. Eagle Lake rolls in, and all of a sudden these kids are surrounded by something new and different. They get a full week of intense fun with these cool, enthusiastic college kids who are interested in them and are so good at clearly sharing the gospel. Eagle Lake opens doors in a new way.”
The benefit of connecting long-term is clear to Suz. “Since Eagle Lake collaborates with NLP—it solves the problem of having to say goodbye to kids at the end of the week. That was always hard for me as an Eagle Lake counselor. With NLP, we know these kids, and we hear about decisions for Christ they’ve made at camp. So we’ve created ongoing discipleship classes to teach them how to read their Bibles and share their faith with others.”
Some of the children in the program struggle with reading and are not familiar with Bible stories, but the Eagle Lake counselors make biblical truth interesting and accessible to all the kids. The engaging way that counselors connect gives the kids tools for Bible study and Scripture memory, and equips them to share what they are learning with their friends and family.
Last summer, one of the local high school volunteers who helped with Eagle Lake crew wanted to keep growing in his faith after serving. After camp, he asked his mom to buy him a Bible and he’s been faithfully reading and studying it!
The excitement of Eagle Lake draws in kids who don’t regularly participate in NLP. Several years ago, a boy living in the apartments across the street from the Eagle Lake site saw the inflatables and asked his parents if he could attend. They signed him up and he decided to follow Jesus later that week. He and his family got connected to one of the partner churches and he’s continued to be involved with the church ever since.
Eagle Lake Camps are great fun, and the water toys and climbing walls are an attraction. But Suz found that the deeper truths made an impression on the kids. “Every morning I would ask the campers what they were most excited for, and they would name one of the fun activities. But at the end of the day, when I asked what their favorite part of the day was, they would shout, ‘Bible study!’”