Engage Truth Student Summer Camp 2023
Updated: Dec 1
Table of Contents:
*(Several camp details are not solidified yet, but we will update this page once they are! Once the registration cost per camper is finalized, all of the registration info will be listed on this page. Click here to fill out our camp interest form.)
1. Camp Location:
Aspendale Mountain Retreat Center can host up to 200 campers, has a growing number of options for staff housing and has plenty of exciting outdoor adventure opportunities. Their new zip line and climbing wall will be up by summer of 2023! Click here for more info about the camp.
2. Camp Vision:
To provide an atmosphere for students to experience adventure together, engage in the total Truth of the Biblical worldview and grow in engaging with others in conversation about Christ while using the classical approach.
Camp Curriculum focus for 2023: "Cold Case Christianity"
We will be focusing on students understanding the gospels, why they are reliable, defending the historical Jesus and resurrection and how to engage with others on this topic.
Curriculum: We will use the 4 gospels & Cold Case Christianity to develop our core curriculum for the week.
Special topics in theology and apologetics: Campers will have an opportunity to take several "special topics" classes during the camp week. Pre-registration will help us determine which classes we will provide after students select the top 3 topics they want to explore.
Camp interest form: If you are seriously interested, please fill out this form here. When official camp registration opens, you will be the first to know.
Goals for every camper by the end of the week:
Every camper will know and be able to clearly articulate the gospel to others
Every camper will know why the gospels can be trusted & will have some familiarity with some objections to the reliability of the gospels.
Every camper will have memorized several Biblical & apologetic catechism questions & will understand the importance of Biblical memorization & memorizing various truths of the Christian faith
Every camper will be challenged to not only grow in their love for God intellectually, but relationally with Him and others & will understand the importance of being committed to a Biblically faithful local church.
Every camper will be encouraged to grow outside of their comfort zone within the safety of our camps adventures and team challenges.
What does it mean to have a Classical Christian apologetics camp?
We are using the Classical "Trivium" as our camp framework.
Brett Kunkle, From Maven Ministries, defines the Trivium well below (emphasis mine):
"Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study [Grammar Stage]. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments [Logic Stage]. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves [Rhetoric Stage].
While not an exhaustive definition, it gets us started and highlights the three-stage pattern of classical education called the trivium. In the early years of elementary school, called the Grammar Stage, children’s minds are like sponges. There is a natural wonder at the world around them and a corresponding love of learning. Young children are primarily interested in the what questions. They want to know facts about the world, and they absorb and memorize them with ease.
Nearing the middle-school or junior-high years, a student’s mind grows in its ability to analyze and think abstractly. During this phase, called the Logic Stage, students are asking the why questions. Many adults perceive such questioning to be a direct challenge to their authority, but often it’s merely the outworking of our natural inclination to sort things out for ourselves. At this stage, students want to know if there are good reasons to believe the so-called facts they were given at younger ages and to see if those facts provide a coherent picture of the world.
As students approach high school and enter the Rhetoric Stage, they grow in their ability to communicate. During this stage, students build on the first two stages by taking the what and the why and communicating what they’ve learned through the how-to of writing and speaking. Research, writing papers, giving speeches, debating and the like force students to articulate what they’ve come to believe as true.
The medievals believed this trivium pattern corresponded to the universal human experience of learning. It accurately captures the manner in which young minds are best trained.3 Thus, we should take this ancient approach to education and breathe into it new life for our modern context. Indeed, the trivium provides us with a three-stage approach to discipling the next generation:
Stage 1: Teach the What—Grammar Stage (primary focus of grades 0-4)
Stage 2: Teach the Why—Logic Stage (primary focus of grades 5-8)
Stage 3: Teach the How-To—Rhetoric Stage (primary focus of grades 9-12)
Outlining a general approach is vital. First, it keeps us from getting lost in the details of training. Without the big picture, we may wander aimlessly, looking for the latest and greatest video series or searching for that one comprehensive curriculum package. Certainly, individual tools are important, but we need to understand the larger strategy within which our tools fit and make sense. Second, it brings to light the requisite context for effective training. Apologetics is the why, but there must be an appropriate foundation of the what in place first for the why to secure it.
So first, we must be convinced of the necessity of apologetics, and second, we must have a larger discipleship framework in place into which we fit apologetics. Now we’re ready to explore the practical how-tos."
We HIGHLY recommend that all parents, youth pastors, leaders, students & potential camp staff, read Brett's full article here.
So, how does the Trivium specifically influence how we approach camp?
In short, we will have all students working through various parts of the Trivium in how we approach their Biblical worldview, theology and apologetics training for the week. All levels will have theology and apologetics Catechisms in their camp folder; however, some groups, especially the younger ones, will spend more time in the grammar stage. For example,
Young Detectives: the younger kids (9-12) are mainly in the "Grammar" stage and will be doing more grammar activities for about 70-80% of the time. However, they will also have some time for the "logic" stage where they can have Socratic dialogue and time discovering God's design in creation guided hikes and star gazing and having a conversation about it.
Credo Crew (13-15)- This group is in the "logic stage" the most. They will overlap with the other stages, but they will work on mastering the Grammar catechisms and being able to have a quality discussion on these topics and search for the deeper meanings. They will be have some exposure to the Rhetoric stage as well where they will be able to practice presenting, defending and explaining the faith to others.
Veritas Miletes (Truth soldiers) (16-18 in Rhetoric stage)- This group will also be encouraged to master the camp "Grammar," will have socratic discussion about their faith, the reliability of the gospels & will have the opportunity to practice presenting on the defense of the faith and in formal debates the most. Students at this level may have the opportunity to participate in a special fieldtrip for dialogue with unbelievers in Cloudcroft.
What will be in the camp folder?
The camp folder will have the schedule, Bible & apologetics catechism questions for the week, class notes & space for taking notes for the nature research journal while on creation guided hikes, silly camp song lyrics, rules to camp games, camp "family" discussion questions and games & more.
Note on catechism questions- We are protestant (5 solas all the way!) and these are not Catholic Catechisms that we will have. Catechism just comes from a greek word on oral teaching. So, our Catechisms will be in agreement with historic protestant confessions & catechisms. Our apologetics catechisms will be written by us. We hope to pre-release the catechism questions before camp so parents, pastors and students can start learning them early.
A fun bonus with the Catechism questions: Students will be able to return into some of our camp games after they correctly say a catechism question to a staff member.
3. Current Camp (Rough) Schedule
3-5pm- Registration at Aspendale
6pm- worship & expository teaching
7pm- canteen & evening activity (team building with camp families)
8pm- camp devotional activity.
10pm- cabin time
10:30m- lights out
7am- wake up bell
7:30am- morning devotional & Catechism
8:00am- morning calisthenics
9:45- Core class- Cold Case Christianity (adult apologetics class offered as well)
10:45- praise & prayer time
11- Engaging conversations- socratic dialogues, role playing, creation guided hikes, dialogues with unbelievers in Cloudcroft & more
12:15 lunch & then lunch chores
1- Quiet time- rest, read scripture and/or work on catechisms in cabin
2- family challenge (ropes course, axe throwing, zip line, paintball, etc.)
3- Engaging the culture: "Special topics in Apologetics" classes
4- camp activity (capture the flag, water balloon volleyball, wild west, octopus ultimate frisbee)
6- Worship and lesson (expository teaching from the gospels)
7- evening fun activity (I.e. kangaroo court, talent show, skit night, case for Christ movie, moonlight hike, end of camp banquet and award ceremony, etc.)
8- evening devo/campfire
9:30pm cabin time
10pm- lights out
7:30- breakfast & morning chores
8am- morning devo
9am- go home
4. Camp Registration:
Range of rates per campers (rate depends on camp size)
Up to 90 campers: $235.00. per camper
91 - 125 campers: $225.00 per camper
125 +. campers: $205.00. per camper.
If we add on paintballing, and we have up to 80 campers, we can do it for $10 extra per camper. Above 80, we can it for $5 added on to the total camp fee.
When will registration open up? Lord willing, we hope to be able to set up our ministry as a full non-profit and streamline all of the registration via the website before the end of the year or at least by the early part of 2023.
Interest form: While you wait for registration to officially open up in early 2023, please fill out this "Camp interest form" to help us out with gauging interest level.
5. Camp Staff Needs & Requirements:
Required training for staff
See required staff reading below
Pass a background check
Attend Child safety class
Attend at least two pre-camp meetings
Camp staff is encouraged to attend and help out with the discussions during the student classes.
Positions needing to be filled:
Teachers- Caleb & Kendra are teaching, but we need a lot more teachers for various age levels.
Counselors for boys and girls
Activities Director- Laura Harrington
Help with various activities
Camp cub- watch staff children
We hope to fundraise to help cover the cost of each staff member and build a scholarship fund for students in need! Be on the lookout for camp fundraisers in 2023!
6. Supporting The Engage Truth Student Camp
Things we can use help with....
Scholarships for campers- be on the lookout for fundraisers in 2023!
Helmets for children for the ropes course
Money for Compound Microscope for Dinosaur bone labs
Money for an electronic Telescope for star gazing nights (I'll post the price of microscope and Telescope later)
Other Dreams for camp:
As camp grows and the funding increases, we hope to bring to bring in leading Christian Apologists and Creation Scientists to be a guest speaker at the camp for a day or two. Stay tuned on this page on if/when that becomes a possibility!
How to partner with Engage Apologetics
Click here for giving and practical support options for Engage Apologetics & the El Paso Creation Network. As I mentioned before, we aren't a non-profit yet. However, the link above lists several options for how you can give to support myself as a missionary and various camp needs. If you decide to give to help sponsor a student, please let me know so we can know that the donation is not for our personal support. Otherwise it may be easier to wait until we get the non-profit documentation squared away.