Hello Swamp Bloggers!

I hope you are having a wonderful week. Reminders: the Mother Son and Daddy Daughter retreats are coming up soon. The Mother Son Retreat will be held March 22 through March 24. And, the Daddy Daughter Retreat will be held April 26 through April 28. You can register for them Here. And, you can sign up for summer camp Here. Don't forget that retreat prices now increase within the last couple of weeks leading up to the retreat date, so go ahead and sign up today!

Camp Swamp 2018 Annual Report

Camp Swamp recently came out with its 2018 Annual Report. If you haven't gotten a chance to read it, I highly encourage you to do this. The report provides insight into where the Swamp is in relation to its five year plan, as well as, information regarding financial standings. The report also provides encouraging updates about all of the places the Swamp has been this year and past years, both domestically and internationally.

Upon reading, you will find some great testimonies both from campers and camp directors about the impact Camp Swamp has had on their personal lives, as well as, their ministries. You can access the full report in a PDF or online booklet by clicking on the link above. However, for the purposes of this blog, here are some highlights from the 2018 report.

Progress Towards The 5-Year Plan

For reference, you can view Camp Swamp's 5-Year Plan Here. 2018 marked the fourth year of the Swamp's 5-year plan. Highlights from the annual report include making three of the goals outlined in the plan.

  1. Goal: Have a Legacy & Planned Giving Opportunity; Progress: completed.
  2. Goal: Have 12 International Camp Training Organizations; Progress: 12 organizations established.
  3. Goal: Train 4 directors; Progress: 8 directors trained.

Speaking of camp directors, Sonny and Carolyn Sessions were able to return to camp staff this year, serving as part-time executive directors. The Sessions used their founding vision to help advise the 2018 summer camp program. Sonny has also been working with individuals and local faith groups to develop funding support for the Swamp.

Campers laughing at summer camp week six 2018.

About the progress of the 5-year plan, Jeff Rorabaugh says:

"What was done intangibly and spiritually via Camp Swamp goes beyond our ability to “measure,” because it is a collection of all the fruit in the hearts and lives of every person whom Swamp touches. So whether by the numbers, by the names or by the nations, I am very proud of the progress of the finances, the growth of the campers, and the work of the Spirit as we do all we can to bring attention and honor to our God. May his glory, his people, and the nations bring joy to the world as we make it our goal to please him in this work."

Amen to that statement! I couldn't agree more that the work done at the Swamp is often intangible, yet also priceless for the emotional and spiritual impact it creates for all it comes in contact with.

Facility Upgrades, Rentals, and Camp Attendance

Camp Swamp got two major upgrades to its current facilities in 2018. The upgrades not only make the appliances work better for the user, they also help lower maintenance and electricity costs. We are so thankful to Mr. Erwin for installing these:

  • Pavilion Lights - All of the lights were replaced with brighter, more efficient LED lights that snap on. This means no more waiting for the lights to come on and a "greener" Camp Swamp.
  • Hot Water Heaters - The hot water heaters in each bath house were converted to on-demand heaters. This means there will be continuous hot water even for those at the end of the shower line. Thank you, Jesus!
The Pavilion's light upgrade will save Camp Swamp money & time.

In 2018, 14 groups rented out the Swamp for various events, and over 1400 people got to experience using the Swamp facility. Without rentals, the cost of camp would go up $110 per person for a week of camp!

In addition to funding from rentals, the Swamp continues to receive corporate support from AT&T, Time Warner, and Zaxby's. (Yay for all those chicken strips purchased for Sunday lunches!) Camp Swamp also receives foundational support, as well as, support from over 130 family donors. See the annual report to find a list of all our donors, as well as, information regarding our 2018 financials.

In summer 2018, we had the biggest family camp to date! Our retreat attendance was down by about 80 campers this year, meaning there is still plenty of room for new campers at our 2019 retreats. Additionally, our summer camp attendance was about the same as in 2017. The results of our efforts cannot be seen in just numbers, though.

To see the impact summer camp has been making on young hearts, read this blog excerpt from Elliot Moon:

"Camp Swamp cultivated my faith in an environment of safety. I was neither forced to believe or not to believe, simply to explore my own boundaries and limitations while making my own decisions. ... They simply shared their hearts and experiences with me and encouraged me to discover myself and how that fits with God."
Elliot Moon getting baptized at the Camp Swamp pool in Summer 2018.

Where We Went & What We Did

In 2018, we camped in the USA, Nicaragua, The Middle East, Kenya, Mozambique, and Cambodia. Wow!

  • USA: Camp Swamp had its 26th year of camp. Thank God for this amazing blessing and all who continue to be impacted by it.
  • Nicaragua: The 3-year training program was completed in Nicaragua with Nicaraguan camp directors and volunteers running the program solely on their own with only the presence of the US team.
Camp in Nicaragua - Year 3.
  • GC Camp (Middle East): Camp Swamp returned to an undisclosed location in the Middle East to continue encouraging the campers and camp there. The church leader for the GC churches says that camp has been one of the highlights of the past two years for the GC churches.
  • Kenya, Mozambique, and Cambodia: Year-1 training began in all three locations. The Mozambique location became South Africa's second training location, and the team was led by a ten-person Brazilian team who helped to facilitate camp in their native language: Portuguese, which is also the native language of Mozambique.
Camp in Kenya 2018.

In addition to these 2018 locations, the annual report provides testimonies and updates from camp locations in Bahamas, Barbados, St. Vincent, India, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Reading these testimonies is enough to bring you to tears, hearing how God pulled through in situations where having camp seemed nearly impossible.

Thank You

In closing, thank you so much for how you have been a part of making 2018 an amazing year for Camp Swamp. It is clear that God has worked to bring about so much growth both for the organization and the individuals a part of it. Please make sure to sign up for 2019 summer camp and retreats and be a part of the magic and memories of another year.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

-Ephesians 3:20-21

Much love to all my Swamp family!! Until Next Week!

Much Love & Respect,

Julie