I remember arriving at our original SpringHill property for the first time in 1982 as I visited my girlfriend (now my wife) Denise who was on summer staff. I looked at the sign that said “Spring Hill Camps” and wondered “does that mean Spring Hill has more than one camp?”
After spending time with Denise catching up on the week she gave me a tour of “Spring Hill Camps.” That’s when I asked her about the “other camps.” She explained that this was the only “camp” but that a key component to SpringHill, dating back to our founding director Enoch Olson’s original vision, was that SpringHill would be small community focused, or then described as a “decentralized camp.”
Denise explained, obviously as a result of good training, that SpringHill didn’t run as one big camp but divided itself into smaller themed camps or villages spread across many acres. These unique housing areas and programs helped create these intimate “camps” where the building of strong relationships between staff and campers happen.
It’s within the context of these small, intimate “camps” and the relationships they foster that the primary spiritual direction was, and still is, provided to campers.
30 years later creating these small “camps” or communities continues to drive how we program, run activities, staff our camps and design our properties. The goal’s always to nurture our “camps within a camp”.
It’s also because of this focus that we’ve been able to reach more kids without compromising the SpringHill Experience. We just continue to divide into small “camps” where intimate relationships are central.
So as I look back to that day in 1982 I’m now convinced that the sign was more than just descriptive it was prophetic – pointing to the day when we’d have multiple camps in multiple places centered on intimate communities where Christ transforms the lives of kids.