After Being Restored at Camp

by Rob Gurganus

Rob serves as a member on the Indian Creek Youth Camp Board of Trustees and directs our Preteen Week each summer.  Rob also works as a teacher in Cordova, AL and serves with the Dovertown Church of Christ as a preacher.

Perhaps you’ve seen this: a young Christian responds at a camp devotional and is restored. He/She confesses that they haven’t been the faithful Christian they should have been. They’ve said and done (or left unsaid/undone) things that they are ashamed of and want to apologize to anyone they’ve offended through their words or actions. After the service, a receiving line forms with hugs, well wishes, praise, and all sorts of good advice. The rest of the week they become the example of Christianity.

But then, after camp, they wane off of church attendance a little (regardless of whatever awesome and introspective theme was emphasized their week). Cursing creeps back into their vocabulary. TV shows and friends on social media re-contaminate their thoughts. Attendance decreases to every other service, to once a month, and then to not attending at all. Encouraging words from other brothers and sisters are met with “I know’s” and “Yeah, I need to’s”. Sometimes (depending on the person encouraging), nippy little comebacks shoot out of their mouth. If an older person tries to restore them, it is met with forced respect (sometimes) and later ignored. If a Christian youth who was not in their “in crowd” at camp says something, they become downright rude.

Pretty soon, they ignore the people from camp. If they see them in public, they re-route their paths. Answering services replace phone conversations. Now, the cycle has made its way to the place it started before camp: lost.

Next year, at the next emotional devotional preached (sadly, often by the best looking, most charismatic speaker), they will respond again, if the Lord allows the cycle to continue. At least that’s what has happened the last four years or so. They will call it their “recharge” because it’s the only thing that can recharge them. Gospel meetings can’t do it because the preacher is too old, conservative, or (just fill in the blank). The regular preacher can’t recharge them because he’s too boring. The local congregation can’t do it because they just don’t understand.

If that person is you, then you are lost again. You returned to the fold, but left it again. I must ask this question: if the Lord is to come on one of the 365 (or 6) days of the year, why risk being ready for only about 30 of those days? What we need you to do is this: get your life right again. Go to the next service, go forward (or write a letter and ask it to be read) and re-rededicate your life. THEN when camp comes, do this: YOU be the one who restores people who used to be in the cycle you just got out of! They need you. You’ve been where they are. You DO understand.

Our Verse for the Day:  Galatians 6:1

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

[Personal note – I wrote this 6/26/16, Sunday morning before church on a diving board! Our furniture was packed up because we were moving, so I pulled a patio chair up to the diving board with a cup of coffee and let these thoughts fly! – Rob Gurganus]


Children and Arrows

I am blessed to be surrounded by so many who are diligently striving to live lives that reflect Christ in every way.  Scott McCown is one of those people.  Scott and Amy work with the Central congregation in Tuscaloosa.  They are great examples, great servants, and great friends.

Scott publishes a daily blog called The Morning Drive.  I encourage you to check it out sometime.  I wanted to share his latest blog with you today.  This one is a great reminder for parents, but also applies to all our adult volunteers during camp.  We’re being watched!  How’s our aim?

Children & Arrows  by Scott McCown

No, not children with sharp arrows, that is a trip to the ER waiting to happen . . .

“Behold children are a heritage from the Lord,

The fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”
Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV)

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior.” What a great statement! A well-skilled archer has effective aim. A number of years ago I learned there are four basic rules of archery:

  1. The Direction I point the arrow is important,
  2. The Strength of the pull has effect,
  3. Properly Timing the Release is valuable, and
  4. Accuracy in Aiming is vital.

Apply these to raising children and you understand more about what the Psalmist has in mind.

  1. What Direction am I pointing my children in?
  2. What Influence (Pull) am I giving them with my lifestyle?
  3. Do I let go (Release) them into situations (or expose them to certain things of the world) before they are ready? Or am I hanging on too long?
  4. What are my goals (where am I Aiming) for me and my children?

Paul tells fathers (and mothers by default), ” . . . do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)

Here are a list of Parental Rules to Model and to Teach so we can be skilled archers.

  1. Put purity above pleasure.
  2. Place others before yourself.
  3. Be more industrious and less lazy.
  4. As an adult be more mature and less childish.
  5. Demonstrate service over power.
  6. Be Christ-like.

– Scott

Why we do what we do.

I recently asked our trustees and directors a question, “Why do we do what we do at ICYC?”. I received several great responses!  Today I’ll share the longest one!! Thanks, Clark Sims! 😉 

Why Do We Do What We Do at ICYC?

Why Do We Do What We Do at ICYC?  That is a hard question and an easy one at the same time. For me, camp week begins in a calendar year. It starts with work every now and then grows into a committed obsession as time moves forward. It reaches a point that camp preparation becomes basically a daily activity. Will we be ready? Will I be ready? Typically, I’ll make that drive onto Pleasantfield Road with some questions still needing to be answered. Sunday is hard! Getting people in, getting people placed, being sure staff is on site and working, communicating with parents, answering questions are all things that you just have to deal with on Sunday. I just have not figured out a way for Sunday to be easy. But, there does come a time. I’m not exactly sure what time that is. It might be that first time I stand behind a podium looking into the faces of my “camp family!” It might be when my great staff lets me know their cabin list and mine match and their cabin is ready to go! It might be when Dupree and his bunch provide that first camp week supper. It might be, and this really might be it, when I walk (or ride) the grounds that Sunday night when everyone has been sent to the cabins, lights are turning off. We are “home” and ready for a special week.

Why Do We Do What We Do at ICYC? That is a hard question and an easy one at the same time.

I love breakfast. I love getting the day started. I love hugs and kind words. I love “Pink Monkeys.” I love “campers being campers at camp in the spirit of Christian camping.” I love being with my Cottondale family at camp. I love being with my physical family at camp. I love being with my camp family at camp. I love being with a fantastic staff who I treasure. I love that I see my camp family throughout the year and our minds are right there at ICYC! I love the fact that hellos are so good. I love the fact that good-bye is so touch (because that just shows how special it really is). I love that I have experienced campers grow into counselors. I love that my bride supports me when I’m “tough to live with” leading up to camp week. I love that my bride sweats, smiles, works, serves right through Friday when a “precious worn out woman” drives home. I love that I share this with my children. I love that my children have memories of the past and optimism for the future at ICYC. I love that I share this with every one of my sisters-in-law. I love that I share this with my nephew and nieces. I love that I have another nephew just ready to get started. I love our counselors. I love our cooks. I love our teachers. I love our craft ladies. I love our nurse. By the way, word to the wise, make these people happy! They give and give and give. I love those who have been with us for years! I love those we get to meet for the first time. I love sports and cabin competition and cabin inspection and team building. I love activities during the day. I love activities under the stars. I love canteen. I love the fact that I have a key to the canteen. I love the Bible. I love Bible Bowl and Bible Class. I love spiritual. I love spiritual growth. I love spiritual focus. I love knowledge. I love emotion. I love change. I love tears. I love commitment. I love phone numbers and addresses and emails. I love pictures. I love going to that pool to experience a wonderful new birth. I love singing. Oh, how I love the singing. I love that parents bring children. I love that men and women use a vacation week for this!  I love the fact the we leave the camp ground worn out but already thinking about “next year.” I love watching them grow up. I love that they love me and I love them. I love that we look forward to coming back. I love how much they all mean to me. I love that I share this with my best friend. I love that he is my partner. I love that I speak with Bruno day after day after day getting ready. I love how hard he works. I love that he really does not like walking “up that hill” and he likes to ride in golf carts and eat an occasional late night snack, just like me! I would wish that everyone could experience a week like this with your best friend. I love Thursday night. I love that I laugh and I cry. I love taking pictures. I love it when they want to come back. I love my week and I love Indian Creek.

Why Do I Do What I Do at ICYC? Well, I’ll assure you it’s not about the heat or the sweat or the air conditioning not working and toilets stopped up. It’s not about the hills or the distance from the director’s hut to the ball field. It’s not because there are 2 cabins called Golden Pine and 2 cabins called Chestnut. I put up with that stuff. I put up with that stuff because there is no week like it. My year points to that week. My life is better because of it.

I am thankful to God that this place, these people and this amazing opportunity are a part of my life. By the way, I love that I sit at my computer emotional writing this because it means so much to me!

In the spirit of Christian camping,


Clark Sims preaches for the Cottondale congregation and serves as an elder there.  Clark is also director of Week 7 at ICYC.  He and his family are very dedicated both to the camp and to the Kingdom.

Mamas for Mattresses

“Mamas for Mattresses”
Hello Friends of Indian Creek Youth Camp!
“Mamas for Mattresses!” It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? I am writing you today on behalf of a number of mothers in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area who love Indian Creek Youth Camp and thought of a great fundraiser to benefit the camp. As a board member and week director, I realize how important it is for our campers, and staff, to get a good night of rest to get the very best out of the camp experience. I am happy to be working with these ladies on this project.
We completed a wonderful 2014 camp season. Our goal is to have 225 new mattresses placed in the cabins and staff quarters as the 2015 camp season draws near. Certainly, we realize those receiving this letter have varied capabilities. Some of you might be able to fund a number of mattresses for us. Some might be able to get us one mattress. By the way, who knows what that one mattress might mean to that one child who attends ICYC? We want to thank you, all of you, for considering contributing to this project. If you are receiving this letter, on some level, you have already indicated your love for ICYC. You know what a week at this special place can mean. Thank you for any consideration you might give to helping us out. Our good friend, Andy Williams, who is a member at the Northport congregation, is “in the business” and is working with us to provide a quality mattress at a reasonable price. We look forward to getting these mattresses delivered and placed as the funds become available.
Each mattress can be provided at a cost of $100. As you know, your contributions are tax deductible. We ask checks to be made to, “Indian Creek Youth Camp” and tagged “Mamas for Mattresses.” We also ask you to identify on the memo line the number of mattresses you are providing. Checks can be sent to: ICYC, Mamas for Mattresses, 7855 Pleasantfield Road, Oakman, Alabama 35579.
We are asking congregations who receive this letter to please make it available to individual members who support, serve and love Indian Creek Youth Camp and Christian Camping!
Great things are happening at ICYC! We thank you for your interest, support and prayers. We ask you to “help us out” with this project. Thank you “Mamas” for your love for the camp and your love for our children. I am thankful to work with you on this project. God bless ICYC!
In the Spirit of Christian Camping,
Clark Sims
Your Questions Can be Addressed to: Tracie Sims (205-310-3359) Christy Pate (205-391-7535) Clark Sims (205-310-3286)
Cottondale church of Christ
2025 Prude Mill Road, Cottondale, Alabama 35453
205-553-1444 and