The church has a long history of camping programs, which continue today. Both the Canada West and Canada East mission centers have a number of campgrounds in beautiful natural settings across the country. More than 40 camping programs are held each year at these various facilities.
Our camping programs are never about indoctrination or proselytizing – they are about self-discovery and experiencing (perhaps for the first time) the joy in meeting old and new friends, genuinely sharing in learning, laughter and fellowship, and the quiet peacefulness of feeling truly alive in a beautiful place.
In the days before modern technology made long-distance communication easy, weeklong "reunions" were a primary means for members from many different (mostly rural) congregations to get to know each other, and for the institutional church to conduct business meetings.
Today, those same week-long reunions (now often called "family camps") allow members and friends (now mostly living in urban communities) to withdraw from their hectic schedules, and come together in a natural setting to share in classes, worship, campfires, singing, laughter and fellowship. For many in our faith community, these weeks are an oasis of peace and inspiration in their busy lives, and they look forward to this experience each summer to "recharge their batteries" for the year ahead.
Family camps are open to anyone to attend, and are a wonderful way for new members and new church friends to experience firsthand the joy, love, hope and peace that can be found as we learn to live in community.
The Community of Christ believes strongly that one of the most important things that we do is to provide children and youth with positive camping experiences. Youth camps strive to create an environment where teenagers can feel "safe" enough for them to ask questions, to learn from each other, and to explore their thoughts and ideas about their place in the world. A week-long youth camp provides teenagers with the opportunity to see how we can live and work and relate with each other that is based on very different values than they see and hear in their schools and workplaces every day.
For many of us in this church community, going to youth camps remains one of the single most formative experiences of our lives. Many of us can (and hopefully will) share our stories of how we had times when the memories of those camp experiences were the touchpoint to a set of life values that helped us make positive choices in our lives.
Youth camps include: