By Bob McKemey, retired missionary to Japan — I went to great lengths to make camp as much fun as possible for kids, inventing games, telling stories, and doing whatever I thought would create fun. I became known for “Uncle Bob’s Big Games.” Kids would wait all year to play Ultimate Chaos or Fountain of Youth.

So why did I lay awake nights trying to think up a new game? Why did I spend hours polishing the details for each game? Why did I spend a whole day or more at camp getting everything ready? Fun is  not the measure of a successful camp. We operate camp with spiritual objectives. Yet I believe fun is not just important but essential for good camping. Here’s why:

  1. Fun is a basic human need. And this need is most acute among the young. God even made play part of the young animals.
  2. It’s what the campers came for and we have an obligation to meet their expectations to earn a right to be heard.
  3. Shared fun deepens relationships, and the heart of ministry is relationship, not teaching. Our relationships are closest with those with whom we have shared enjoyable experiences.
  4. When we show that godly living is more fun than sinful living, we counter Satan’s lie to the contrary — a lie that billions of young people believe.
  5. Fun opens hearts. Campers having a good time will open up to us and to our message. The opposite is also often true. Unhappy campers usually shut their hearts to us and to the Lord.

Fun at camp is not something we tack onto the program as a time filler or an afterthought — it is the platform from which we minister. At camp, fun is serious business. Click on the pictures to see some of the places around the world where SEND folks are having FUN in order to reach the unreached.