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July Update

Summer Camp Update

I was recently talking with a past staff member from the 1970's. He was recalling many memories from his time on staff, ways in which God moved in powerful ways. He also recalled having 10 weeks of youth camp, followed by 3 weeks of family camp. While the number of weeks of camp has changed (we now to 8 weeks of youth camp and 1 half-week of Family Camp), so much has not changed. The Lord is leading over 1,800 campers here this summer to have any incredibly fun and Christ-centered camp experience--praise God! Our theme for this summer is 'Foundation' and it comes from Psalm 62:1-2, "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." There are many things in this world that we can find temporary purpose and identity in (grades, friends, activities, money, relationships). Finding our foundation and identity in Jesus is not one of striving or earning--it is our souls finding rest in God alone-for our salvation comes from faith in Christ alone. This is our focus and continued aim-that every camper, staff member, and guest would come to faith in Jesus and find their rest, purpose, identity, forgiveness, grace, and salvation in Him alone.

Future Summer Staffing

Coming out of the pandemic, we, like many other camps and organizations around the country, have experienced staffing shortages. This summer, we had a smaller number of female Cabin Leaders than anticipated, which unfortunately led us to put smaller capacities on our weeks of camp. Our Program Team is doing an outstanding job of recruiting and trying new ways to connect with new applicants and seeking out volunteers to help us meet the continued demand of summer camp registrations. A few thoughts on this:

  1. I'm not worried. We worship a God of abundance and He's always provided. This is His camp and we will continue to seek Him in prayer for His provision for His mission.

  2. Our year-around team and past staff do a great job recruiting for summer camp staff. I'm so grateful for the countless hours and conversations that go into recruiting by our team every year.

  3. Our staff and board are spending intentional time looking at not only how we recruit for next summer, but looking at the bigger picture for the future of summer staff at camp. We're excited to see how the Lord will move in and through this process!

  4. Summer Staff on mission: I really see working on summer staff as being a missionary. These incredible young people are laying down other summer plans and even vacations to serve the Lord at Riverside. It is a summer of devotion to our mission, "To know Jesus Christ and to make Christ known to all." One staff member said it this way, "I've never experienced being so empty, yet so full."

  5. Invitation: Who in your life might the Lord be nudging you to invite and encourage to experience a life-changing summer at camp? The time is now to prayerfully discern how you can invite a young person who loves Jesus and has a desire to grow in so many ways to serve at camp.

  6. Join us in prayer. Join us in prayer for this summer's staff. So many of you have reached out and shared that you are praying daily for our team. What an encouragement! Would you also begin joining us in prayer already for Summer Staff 2024? We pray for an abundance of applicants that would be exactly who the Lord wants to lead here for the summer!

Visiting your community and congregation.

I'm starting to look towards this next year and am excited to visit many communities and congregations to connect with old friends and new friends of Riverside. If you're interested in having me visit your church or a gathering with other Riverside supporters, please reach out to me! I'd love the opportunity to connect and share more about how God is continuing to move in and through His camp.

Grateful for you and God bless you,

Chris and the Riverside Team


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