Did you know that one in six children of prisoners will also wind up incarcerated at some point in their lives? The statistics are heartbreaking. These children are trapped in a painful cycle, one that Prison Fellowship Ministries and its Angel Tree program seeks to break. Since 2004, Frontier Camp has participated in Angel Tree Camping, an off-shoot of the program that enlists churches to partner with Prison Fellowship to provide funding to send these children to a free week of camp.
Over 150 Angel Tree campers ages 8-15 are bused in for the week from the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas. Both Junior and Teen programs are run simultaneously, with the teen campers housed at Fossil Creek and the junior campers housed at Main Camp. With their days jam-packed between rotating to activities by cabin, watching Bible Dramas, engaging in meaningful discussion with their counselors, and listening to campfire messages in the evening, the campers get to enjoy a normal week at camp.
But for most of them, this is anything but normal. The camp experience is a completely foreign one. Many have never seen a horse before, let alone attempted to ride one. As for swimming in a lake, well, that’s just plain crazy.
For the staffers who work Angel Tree, it is always thrilling to watch these children and teens having the opportunity to try new things and experience the beauty of God’s creation. But it is even more thrilling to watch the love of Christ breaking down the barriers these kids have built for their own protection, and to see that moment when they first begin to comprehend the concept of a love that is both unfailing and unconditional.
On its own, no man-made program can end this cycle of suffering. That can only be accomplished through the power of the Gospel of Christ.
The impact of camp:
“I had a lot of fun this week. I mostly had fun when I learned about Jesus Christ. I found out about loving Him and what His love means. Also I learned how He died for us all and our sins. I love Him for all of that.” –Teen Angel Tree Camper
“I had so much fun riding on the boat, swimming in the lake, riding the horses and learned not to worry what people say about me.” —Junior Angel Tree Camper
“I learned to wear the full armor [of God] and be battle ready.”—Junior Angel Tree Camper
“We often think that the main ministry we have is to the campers. But the campers also bless us in incredible ways.”—Zach, Angel Tree Week Senior Counselor
Would you like to be involved?
Are you excited about what the Lord is doing through the Angel Tree camping ministry at Frontier Camp? Consider donating to sponsor a child’s week at camp this summer and invite your church to become involved as well. It is your donations that make this incredible week of camp possible.
“Thanks for using your resources to allow these kids to come to camp! Your generosity is allowing lives to be changed by the Lord.”—Amanda, Angel Tree Week Senior Counselor