At the start of The Oakes, we knew about other centres who offered parent-child camps but we were not sure if they were right for us.
The main reason for hesitation was that we have always been focused on our main aims: to share the Christian message with 8-18s and to encourage young Christians in their faith in the context of a great holiday. Obviously, on a parent-child camp half the guests would be over 18!
Yet as our own children started to grow, we recognised just how important it is for children to be able to have conversations about God with their parents.
We realised what an amazing opportunity an Oakes camp could provide for children and their parents to learn and talk together about spiritual things whilst enjoying a fun and exciting programme of activities and creating memories that would hopefully last a lifetime.
So, a few years ago, we decided to introduce our first Dads and Lads weekend. The feedback was very positive and we have never looked back.
The next year, we ran a Mums & Daughters camp, too, and soon after, we added a second weekend for older girls. These camps have grown to become some of our most popular weekends and they often fill up well in advance.
As time went on, we became aware that there were a number of family situations which needed an alternative. For example, Dads who would like to bring their daughters, Mums who would like to bring their sons, and children who did not feel they were ready to stay away from home overnight.
To accommodate these variations, earlier this year we decided to try our first Family Camp. Any combination of parents and children were welcome and the camp ran from Saturday 9am – 9pm and Sunday 9am – 4pm. The camp exceeded our expectations and was very well received.
A positive spin off from parent-child camps has been that many adults who have visited with their children have now become our most enthusiastic ambassadors, coming back year after year and encouraging their friends, family and even their local schools to visit!
If you have never been on a parent-child camp, why not give it a go? It will certainly be a weekend to remember!