Camping is a great way to demonstrate God's love to children of the incarcerated
Regardless of where you live, there are children of prisoners in your community. Most of these children suffer a tremendous amount of ongoing trauma and chaos in their lives.
Since 1982, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree® programs have provided a springboard for reaching out to the children and families of the incarcerated. The Angel Tree Christmas program is usually the first step toward helping shattered families reunite. But Angel Tree's outreach goes far beyond Christmas. Hundreds of faithful Angel Tree churches are now extending their ministry into summer camping.
As a part of Angel Tree Camping, your church or ministry team can arrange scholarships and provide transportation for prisoners' children to attend Christian summer camps. If your church does not have a camp, Angel Tree staff will help you locate nearby camps accredited by the Christian Camp and Conference Association.
Research shows that children benefit significantly from residential camping experiences that feature low child-to-counselor ratios and offer a variety of learning opportunities. During these camps, many children make a first-time decision to follow Christ and others deepen their relationship with Him.
HOW TO GET STARTED
- Talk with your pastor and/or church leadership about how you would like to be involved with Angel Tree Camping. With approval from your church, enlist other volunteers who share your vision for this ministry.
- If your church already sponsors children's camps or youth camps, consider including Angel Tree kids with your other campers.
- If you need help finding a camp, call our Angel Tree staff at 1-800-55-ANGEL or visit the website of the Christian Camp and Conference Association. Make reservations early as these camps fill up fast.
- Contact the children's caregivers to get their permission for the kids to go to camp. Use this opportunity to get to know the family better and build a stronger relationship with them.
- When you know how many kids you are sending to camp, call 1-800-55-ANGEL to order tote bags and Bibles for each camper.
- Help all the kids fill out registration forms and other paperwork necessary to attend camp. Send in the registration fees and paperwork before the deadline.
- Get a list of things campers need to bring to camp. Fill the campers' tote bags with items they may not have money to purchase, such as toiletries and other necessities.
- Arrange transportation for the Angel Tree campers. Make sure their caregivers understand the pick-up and drop-off times and locations.
If you are not going to camp with the kids, try to arrange to be at the pick-up point when the kids leave for camp to see them off. Let them know you share their excitement and will be praying for them while they are at camp.
After the kids return, welcome them home and spend time listening to their camp stories. Assure them of your continued love and support as they begin to live out the spiritual commitments they made at camp. Look for additional ways to continue your ministry to these children and families throughout the year.