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Why Camp is More Than Just a Mountain Top Experience

Discipleship is what we’re about, and we’re thrilled to share some stories with you of friends and partners who are prioritizing making disciples through their work and their lives. We got to dive into the work that’s happening with our friends at Sky Ranch recently. Check out their story below and learn more about them at https://skyranch.org/.

IF:Gathering: Tell us about Sky Ranch!

Sky Ranch: Sky Ranch is one of North America’s leading Christian camping organizations, with locations in Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, offering programs year-round. Sky Ranch serves over 70,000 individuals every year! In following our foundation of excellence, Sky Ranch strives to provide ministry opportunities for the whole family. From children’s summer programs, SkyMoms ministry, family camps, school programs, retreat services, and more, Sky Ranch desires to be instrumental in the development of families and the body of Christ as a whole. Sky Ranch’s core ministry in the summer is a weeklong Christian summer camp for youth and families. We offer youth overnight camp, day camp as well as Family camp experiences. We are best known for our youth overnight programs where we are intentional in our play as we seek to invest in all our campers, K – 12 grades, through our Life Map!

IF:Gathering: What are you looking forward to this summer?

Sky Ranch: This summer we are looking forward to two big things: the return of many of our longtime camper families who took last summer off due to COVID and to bring the light of God’s Word to our campers after what was for so many of them a dark and difficult year. Camp is a such a great place to be reminded that God’s word is the only light we ever need before we head back to the valley of our everyday lives!

IF:Gathering: Sky Ranch has a lot of team members and staff that help you run camp each summer! What does it look like for you to train your staff from a leadership perspective?

Sky Ranch: The training of our summer staff begins as the previous summer ends. We are blessed to return a third of our staff each year who we know, have successfully walked through a summer with us, and know our culture and the importance of leading and loving kids. We will walk through the year with those summer staff as we interview and perform reference checks on new summer staff coming to camp.

IF:Gathering: How does Sky Ranch equip young adults to disciple campers?

Sky Ranch: At Sky Ranch we believe strongly in the value of discipling and being discipled. In the interview, we challenge applicants that if hired they are empowered through God’s Word to be godly role models based on the Paul/Timothy relationship we find in scripture. The summer is spent equipping summer staff for this challenge as they disciple and encourage campers, spend time in community groups, and lead Bible studies for their cabins knowing that the Paul/Timothy relationship is not only about the one week of camp but also about the other 51 weeks of the year. The hope of these relationships is that they are long term and remain impactful for years to come. Discipleship is also ingrained in our organization from our seasonal summer staff to the investment programs we run each year. During the year we make time to reconnect with our former summer staff as we visit college campuses as well as emphasizing the importance of discipling and being discipled to our new summer staff.

IF:Gathering: What are you believing for this next generation?

Sky Ranch: We hope the next generation would believe God’s Word is enough and fully reliable to unify in and instruct us in all arenas of life. We hope they are believing the promises found in God’s Word that find their YES in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). If they seek Christ, they will find Him and when found in Him, the one who bought them for His own possession, they will be eager to know Him more and accomplish all that He enables them to do for His glory.

IF:Gathering: What is one thing you want to tell the IF:Gathering women?

Sky Ranch: Whether you are raising children, leading a group, or mentoring a friend, Sky Ranch is here to encourage and partner with you! Let us all strive to see the potential of those we love and serve fully realized in who The Lord has created them to be. We know God’s Word is TRUE. Not only true, it is sufficient…when we put our faith, hope, and trust in the truths of God’s Word it will not return void and we will not be disappointed. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16