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Engage Truth Student Summer Camp 2023

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Camp Check in: Sunday, June 25th 1-5pm in the chapel

Pick up/go home time: Saturday, July 1st- 9:30am-10:30am

Table of Contents:

Camp Registration is closed!

Table of Contents

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. Promo Videos

1 min version: click picture below

8 min version: explains the camp vision more, our classical approach and why an apologetics camp is so important (click picture below).

3. Camp Vision & Curriculum:

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.

  • Along with our statement of faith, we affirm the "ambassador's creed."


  • Middle-High School will be using a curriculum that Caleb wrote based upon Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace. Students are encouraged to read this book and bring it to camp, but it is not required.

  • 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. (i.e. creation guided hikes, dino soft tissue bone labs, Logic, Formal Debate, Creation/evolution, problem of evil, how we got the Bible, homosexuality & the gospel, world religions, etc.). Some classes will be off-limits to our pre-teen campers (i.e. homosexuality and the gospel) due to the nature of the topic.

  • Camp Registration: click here.

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 & 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 camp 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. 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 years old) 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. Catechism just comes from a Greek word on oral teaching. So, our Catechisms will be in agreement with historic protestant confessions & catechisms.

4. Camp Catechism: Click here to view our Camp Catechism. A Downloadable version will be uploaded soon.

5. Current Camp Schedule


  • 1-5pm- Check in at Aspendale at the Chapel

  • 5pm- dinner

  • 6pm- worship & teaching

  • 7pm- evening activity (team building with camp teams)

  • 8:30pm- camp devotional activity- "The Areopagus (role play with an "atheist" (with camp cabins)

  • 9:15pm- campfire & canteen.

  • 10pm- cabin time

  • 10:30m- lights out

Monday- Friday

  • 7am- wake up bell

  • 7:30am- morning calisthenics & morning devotional & Catechism

  • 7:45am-breakfast

  • 8:30am- after breakfast chores

  • 9am- Core class on the truth of the gospels

  • 10-10:15am - Snack break/class games

  • 10:15-Socratic Dialogue

  • 11am- free time

  • 11:30am- Lunch

  • 12:15 Quiet time- rest, read scripture and/or work on catechisms in cabin

  • 1- "Team challenges" (ropes course, axe throwing, zip line, paintball, etc.) or free time

  • 2:15- "Special topics in Apologetics" classes (select preferred topics in registration)

    • Note: Students get to chose a Creation guided hike, Dinosaur bone lab or a special class in apologetics by a guest teacher. Topics vary.

  • 3pm- camp activity (capture the flag, water balloon volleyball, wild west, etc.)

  • 4:30- Free Time (paintballing, archery or your choice)

  • 5:00pm- Dinner

  • 6:00pm- Worship and lesson

  • 7:15pm- evening fun activity

  • 8:30pm- evening devo or campfire

  • 9:30pm- Cabin Discussion Groups

  • 10pm- Star gazing (rotation groups)

  • 10:30pm- Head to Cabin

  • 10:45pm lights out


  • 7am- wake up and clean cabin

  • 7:30- breakfast

  • 8am- morning worship

  • 9am- group goodbye

  • 9:30am-10:30am- pick up time

6. Camp Registration: $250 total per camper or Staff Member

(we will accept registrations until June 16th)

  • Other registration option:

    • Check or Cash: Make Checks out to "Engage Truth Ministries" and put in the memo what it's for and which student(s) it applies to.

    • Registration Form: Please print off the registration form (below), fill it out and mail it to our P.O. Box (see below) or give it to your youth pastor to mail or hand it to us.

    • Engage Mailing Address: P.O. Box #12523, El Paso, Tx 79913

    • Packing List: Click here to see the camp packing list.

Engage Truth Camp Registration Form
Download DOCX • 30KB

7. Camp Staff Needs & Requirements:

Training & staff application:

  • Fill out the Staff application form here

  • Registration for camp: Staff can register themselves for camp on this form here after the staff interview. If you need a scholarship as a staff member, please let us know.

  • Read the camp training books

  • Packing List: Click here to see the camp packing list.

  • Download and read the sexual abuse prevention (below) and be ready to take the test before camp.

  • Required training dates for staff

    • Feb 24th- discuss Cold Case Christianity & other camp training (10am at Engage headquarters)

    • March 31st- Discuss Tactics & more training (10am or 7pm at the Engage Headquarters or online).

    • May 20th, 10:30am-2:30pm- mandatory in person training-9am-2pm at Horizon Christian Fellowship. We are Discussing Faithfully Different, child safety training and will go over the curriculum, activities and more.

Download PDF • 63KB

  • Read the First aid training material below

Safety and First Aid
Download PPTX • 310KB

  • Camp Staff:

    • Young Detectives (4-6th grade)

      • Girls- Annette Vanderzwan (Elementary director at CBC)

      • Boys- Gustavo Holcombe

    • Credo Crew (Middle School)

      • Girls-April Holcombe

      • Boys- Juan Briones (Horizon Christian Fellowship)

    • Veritas Miletes: (High school)

      • Boys: Caleb Harrelson (Engage President & Camp Director)

      • Girls: Kendra Harrelson

    • Camp Director- Caleb Harrelson (Engage President)

    • Assistant Director- Jason Kerns (Sun City Church)

    • Head boys counselor- Juan Briones

    • Head girls counselor- Kendra Harrelson

    • Counselors- We have around 3-6 counselors in every cabin. Names aren't listed here.

    • Camp nurse: Letty Trejo (nurse at Putnam Elementary)

    • Activities/games Director- Laura Harrington

    • Worship team- Kendra & El Paso Bible Church youth group

    • Camp cubs helpers (watching staff children)- 2-4

    • Dinosaur Bone labs- Jennifer and Jonas Cruz

    • Creation trail guides- Angela Trejo & Ben Ramirez

    • Star Gazing- Abbye Scales & Priscilla Gandara

    • Photography & videos- Priscilla Gandara

8. Supporting The Engage Truth Student Camp

  • To view our fundraising dream list for camp, click here.

  • Click here to give directly to our camp scholarship fund or for help with our breakfast meals.

  • How to partner with Engage Apologetics- Click here for giving and practical support options for Engage Apologetics.

9. Camp promo fliers

11 x 17 flier

Camp flier (11 × 17 in)
Download PDF • 3.20MB

Postcard flier

Camp postcard
Download PDF • 4.60MB

10. Camp rules- Click here.

11.Packing list- Click here

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