"The thing I loved most about UGM Camp was EVERYTHING." Joey, UGM camper
Through the love and generosity of hundreds of community members just like yourself, over 300 children from Spokane’s low-income neighborhoods came to UGM Camp 2021. They received love, care and discipleship, and enjoyed some EXTREME fun!
What’s even better is that one in three of those kids made the life-altering decision to put their faith in Jesus. We could not be more excited to share with you an up-close look at the enormously successful summer provided 100% by our community of generous givers.
Come, take a deep dive with us into the UGM Camp experience and see for yourself why we’re so excited.
“What I loved about UGM camp this week was spending time with my friends and all the activities—archery, swimming, bikes and sports. The food was delicious, and not playing or watching video games and movies. I made so many friends. We tried to do teamwork (we did good.) This camp helped me believe more in God.” Isabella, UGM camper
At UGM Camp, kids who would otherwise not be able to afford camp get to experience a refreshing week of play, prayer and personal growth. Each year, eight UGM church partners recruit campers from their lower-income neighborhoods—often through partnerships with the local elementary schools—and then partner with us further by both planning and facilitating one week of camp at the UGM property. This arrangement means that bonds are formed between kids and their local churches, not just with UGM staff. The goal is to connect the kids and their families with a home church that can do life with them year-round.
So, what’s it like at UGM Camp? See (and hear) for yourself!
Especially this year, as our world recovers from isolation and battles with an ongoing pandemic, letting children play hard and play together is a gift like none other. The UGM Camp property doesn’t get strong WiFi, either, so cell phones wind up forgotten in backpacks and left in cabins for days at a time while the children form bonds with one another and adventure outdoors from sunrise to sunset.
“I liked swimming, I liked playing octagon of death, I liked hiking, I liked doing sports like floor hockey and basketball, I liked singing and chapel time, I loved the dining hall where I played games and ate, I loved the night games, I liked hanging out in the cabin, I liked being with lots of friends, I liked looking at the stars at night, I liked doing art and painting.” Lucas, UGM camper
“What I loved about UGM camp this week was when the whole camp got together for chapel and we all were singing and praying. I also loved the dance and the little emotional moment in the chapel.” Alise, UGM Camper
Not only are the children prayed for daily by camp and church staff, but they’re in an environment where the love of Jesus is shared abundantly and the Lord’s direction is sought in every circumstance. Kids get to witness real-life relationships with Jesus and get to have all their questions answered about Christianity, learning about their identity as the Father’s hand-made creations.
“This week was fun. I loved going swimming […] and I loved praying. I loved all of this week. I love UGM Camp. I love God! ‘God is the good in me.’” Liam, UGM camper
UGM church partner Grace Christian Fellowship facilitated one of the final weeks of camp this year, and pastor Dave Nelson shared this impactful story: “There was one girl who, early on, was having a panic attack. She didn’t know what it was—she was having pain in her chest and needed her inhaler. She was really afraid. We were waiting with her and the nurse was doing vitals and we were just, “Can we pray for you?” And we prayed, “God help her.” And almost instantly the pain was gone and she was able to make that connection, not that God is a genie that gives us whatever we want, but that He is a God who knows us and sees our needs and cares for us deeply.”
Kids are learning that God is real, God is good and God is near to them.
“Thank you for opening this camp for free. That was a blessing. I learned a lot of new things. I feel I have grown a stronger relationship with God and that means a lot.” Hailey, UGM camper
Kids need the chance to challenge themselves and to grow into the young men and women God created them to be. Whether it be through challenge courses that stretch kids’ physical limits and develop teamwork skills, or intimate conversations in small cabin groups, the campers are constantly encouraged to think about their actions and reactions and to be intentional in seeking to live a God-honoring life.
“I loved the challenge course... the extreme games were sooo fun.” Anonymous camper
“I overcame my fear and my trauma. My cabin leader Hailey helped me overcome it. I’m very thankful. I’m not scared of the river anymore!” Tyeesha, UGM camper
“What I loved about UGM Camp was that everyone was nice and willing to help everyone. I love how counselors were always there for you when you need help.” Anonymous camper
“I liked the extreme games a lot. I loved the slip-and-slide, too! Most of all, I liked spending time with my cabin!” Jeremiah G., UGM camper
Camp staff agree that the personal development they see in the campers is a key reason they love what they do.
“My favorite part is getting to see the progress of the kids at the beginning of the week compared to the end of the week. Their demeanor changes really drastically; by the end they’re really good at communicating and establishing relationships. It’s crazy how fast it happens.” Natalie, camp facilitator (7th year)
“I think it’s neat to reach underserved children because you don’t really think about how low income affects teens and kids. It’s neat to have outreach geared toward them. I think this can impact the future of these kids. [...] Some kids have come as campers and then they come as work crew and then they come as cabin leaders. It’s cool to hear about that development.” June, UGM Camp Behavioral Specialist
Perhaps June said it best: “I think this can impact the future of these kids.”
A relationship with Christ, a connection to a church community that cares about them, the knowledge that there is more waiting for them in life than what is evidenced in their current circumstances—. These are some of the many ways UGM Camp impacts the lives of kids right here in our city.
“What I loved about UGM camp this week was the extreme games and all the fun testimonies. It was so cool and fun. I loved it here and I would love to come back!" Samantha, UGM camper
“Thanks for paying for camp!”
Parker, UGM camper
If you’d like to see more stories about kids and families impacted by UGM services, follow us on social media.