Adventures found at Blue Lake

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shrouded in the sanctuary of the Conecuh National Forest, Blue Lake Camp is abuzz with activity.

Today marks the end of the first full week for the Methodist camp, which is celebrating 60 years of camping this year.

For the past six days, Blue Lake has been home to three sets of campers in completed grades 3-12 – “God Seekers” (grades 3-5), “24:7” (grades 6-8) and “up roar!” (grades 8-12) — where students learned how to form, build and sustain a relationship with God and Jesus, summer coordinator Jonathan Powell said.

“We split them up into three different camps because of their age groups and different learning abilities,” Powell said. “With the elementary school kids, they’re just trying to teaching them that they’re loved, and that God is there for them.

“With the middle schoolers across the lake, it’s more of trying to get them to learn how to have a relationship with God, and how to actually spend that kind of time with Him daily,” he said. “With high schoolers, it’s the same thing, but with a little more in depth.”

The “God Seekers” camp utilizes the outdoors to help campers seek God in nature, the “24:7” camp strives to teach campers how to be a Christian 24:7, and the “up roar!” camp aims to give high schoolers a challenge through worship, games and sports.

Powell has been the summer coordinator for Blue Lake for the past three years, and was a counselor for two years.

He said by the end of the week, he desires to see each camper think about his or her relationship with God.

“With the elementary kids, I want them to know that they are loved — that God is there, and that He’s watching over them and protecting them,” he said. “For the older kids, just to have an idea to know what a relationship with God is. When you’re out of camp, sometimes you don’t always talk to God everyday. It’s different when you’re not here.

“I like to see them at the end of the week thinking about it daily – thinking about their walk with God daily – and actually thinking on it,” he said.

Activities at Blue Lake include archery, arts and crafts, swimmer, the summer water slide A.K.A. the “summer express” and night hikes.

The Rev. Pam Barnhardt, 24:7 associate dean, said the “aim” for her camp in reaching to middle schoolers has a “duel” application.

She said the camp primarily focuses on a theme for the week. This week’s theme is the Bible.

“Our activities all revolve around knowing the Bible — how it’s laid out,” Barnhardt said. “We will continue to do activities that enforce knowledge of the scriptures, placement of the scriptures.”

Barnhardt said the campers have really enjoyed the week at Blue Lake.

“I think they are,” she said about the campers. “We move them from activity to activity. They don’t realize this, but they don’t have very little flexibility.

“At this age, you encourage participation, but you just don’t leave them to their own devices,” she said. “We’re a pretty structured camp.”

Daniel Johnson, 24:7 camper, said he’s having a great time.

“I think this is really fun,” Johnson said. “Archery is my favorite camp activity.”

While today is the end of the first week of camp at Blue Lake, there will be several other camps taking place from next week until Aug. 5.

From July 5-8, Blue Lake will be hosting a day camp for kids that have completed grades K-4, where they can come from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. Cost is $30 per day, and the dean is camp executive director Phyllis Murray.

The grandparents and me camp will be from July 29-31 for campers who have completed grades 1-6. Cost is $120.

For more information on all camps this summer, visit Blue Lake’s website at, or call the office at 222-5407.