I know I’ve written about this before, but every time I witness our philosophy of inclusive camping in action, I’m inspired and humbled beyond words. There’s nothing else I can think of that better defines us as an organization than this commitment to include campers with special needs in all our camps.
Monday evening, as I walked home, I came upon one of our TST teams tackling our New Frontiers’ climbing wall. On the wall was one of our campers with special needs being “assisted” up by two of our special needs counselors as the entire TST team watched and cheered.
The scene beautifully shows why we believe so strongly in inclusion and why we insist on being a welcoming experience for all kinds of young people. We believe that every child’s created in the image of God so we work hard to assure all kids have equal access to the entire SpringHill Experience. In addition, we believe we’re to create a little “heaven on earth” because in heaven there will be all kinds of people, races and nations shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, together in the worship and service to God.
The scene also demonstrates a second reason our Special Needs program is an essential part of who we are. You see, one of the most impactful parts of this approach to camping is that it transforms all the campers, not just those who have special needs or come from different backgrounds. Why? Because it powerfully reminds every camper and staff member that, at some level, we all have “special needs” and require “assistance” in climbing the wall of life and, more importantly, being in a relationship with God.
So if you ever need to be inspired, come visit a SpringHill Experience, and no doubt you’ll witness a scene like the one above, and you too will never be the same.