ROSCOMMON, MI – The weather was cold, icy, and snowy, yet the weather was not be a distraction for those urban youths from Detroit, Lansing, Westland, Southfield and Ferndale who travelled to Bambi Lake for a camp to remember for a lifetime. For many of the students, it was their first camp experience. The weekend was filled with fellowship, great food, and lots of fun in the game room. The camp weekend was also a time of connection. Hundreds of miles from home, many of the youth discovered other students from their home schools who they were meeting for the first-time.
This Urban Camp was a joint effort between the Michigan African American Fellowship team and the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM). The fellowship team is extremely grateful for the support and assistance received from BSCM in helping make the Urban Youth Camp a blessed success. There were approximately 30 youth and several youth leaders who participated in the camp. The teens were from Faith Fellowship Baptist Church, One Mission Church, Oak Park Baptist Church, The House of Restoration, and Temple of Faith Baptist Church.
The keynote speaker, Mark Williams of Kentucky, spoke on the theme “My Identity in Christ”. Williams had the youth engaged the whole time. The breakout sessions were also informative, and were facilitated by Pastor Roland Caldwell Jr, Pastor Antonio Wimberly, and Deacon Ron Swain. Each plenary session was started with praise and worship led by Kierston Thurmond from One Mission Church of Westland. Several of the youth offered prayer during the sessions. The most important highlight of the weekend was when three youth surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
14-year-old Jacob who attended the camp said, “I thought this camp was going to be boring and not fun at all. Well, I was totally wrong. I enjoyed myself, learned a lot, met some new friends, ate well, and had fun.” 11-year-old Donta added, “Minister Mark was funny. He kept my attention and I learned good stuff about Jesus.”
Each attendee was asked to complete an evaluation of their camp experience. 98% of the youth rated their experience as very good, and 95% strongly suggested scheduling the Urban Camp again next year. Only 5% thought we should do it in the summer when the weather is hot, and they could go swimming. Overall, the camp was well received.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Stan Parker is Senior Pastor of Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Lansing Michigan and President of the Michigan African American Fellowship.