By Karsyn White
The Parsons Advocate
Recently twenty Tucker County teens traveled to Rockbridge County, Va. where there is a camp appropriately named Rockbridge. Although this camp should be no stranger to the residence of Tucker County as it has been serving our youth for several years.
Doing so through an organization called Young Life, in which Daniel “Chopper” Evans has been the main leader for this area. When asking him how he views Young Life camp he described it as this “It’s like Heaven on Earth, as leaders we believe we serve the purpose to treat campers as God sees them and enable them to have the best week of their life.”
Evans began his trips to Young Life camp with a hand full of kids and after the first experience he saw his numbers continued to increase into the teens. However, the last three consecutive years he’s had a record number of twenty or more kids attending.
They experienced zip lines into a lake, water slides, a pool, basketball, ropes course, horseback riding and a game room. Despite all of those activates there were many surprises to keep the campers on their feet throughout the journey. All this talk filled the kids with great expectations and some skepticism but Cameron Mullenax that recently attended Young Life camp can testify for it, saying “knowing what people said about camp I was going in with high expectation and after the last day I can say they were met and brought me closer to new friends and old.”
Although this camp was much more than fun and games, it offered kids a way to meet God in a none judgmental environment. As Emma Wamsley put it best “It was an unexpected learning experience that connected me with people that I was unaware thought the same way as me.” Every summer 75,000 campers return home with similar reactions as Wamsley creating noticeable differences in them. Some kids are attending church for the first time, bringing back positive outlooks and creating record numbers of attendance at Campaingers a local bible study. When speaking to these campers, whether it was someone who’s went once or twice it seems to be a new experience every time. Evans who has visited Rockbridge every year as a leader still notices change in himself “after several trips it’s still humbling to see God reach kids in the darkest corners and watch as some of them become leaders themselves to do the same” he put it.
In order for campers to attend Young Life Camp they participate in Run for It, hold Spaghetti dinners and multiple other fundraisers. Although Tucker Endowment Foundation, multiple churches and other civic orgs play a big part in helping these teens get to Rockbridge the last seven years. It’s the kids, leaders, donors and efforts like this that Young Life is in the process of building a camp right here in West Virginia.