As Rachel and Bill prepare for the next chapter—sending their oldest, Will, off to college—Rachel thinks back over Will’s years at LLYC. In the early years, his attention was really focused on the fun, surprising elements of camp—the funny program, traditions, and events. In the later years, his focus shifted more to the friendships he made.
As a mom, Rachel deeply valued that “at camp each year, he was allowed the right kind of space, freedom, and atmosphere to choose what he wanted his camp experience to be. He had this unique, safe opportunity for independence.”
Rachel adds with a chuckle that her boys “didn’t always or couldn’t always articulate every detail or feeling of their time at camp.” Yet the Johnstons have learned that those details tend to emerge in the most simple, unprompted moments.
Rachel recalls one such brief conversation following Will’s last summer as a camper. “We were on vacation, and out of the blue, Will simply stated that he loved camp and really took the time that year to focus on his own relationship with God.” That was all he said.
And for Rachel, that was everything—the ultimate hope as a parent raising a son about to go out into the world.
“I see that his time at camp has been a building block of growing experiences,” said Rachel. “He’s had time to enjoy the kid fun. And time to enjoy the friends. And ultimately, because of the space and freedom he was given at LLYC—surrounded by amazing leaders and counselors—he gained an independence and a maturity level to seek out and grow in his own faith journey.
“LLYC is one of the very best things we as parents did for our three boys.”
Campers may not have the language to articulate all that camp is to them. But that is okay. Camp is time and space set apart for them to safely be themselves—to play, to learn how to make friends, to grow in age-appropriate independence—developmentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Whether your camper is 8 or 11 or 15, LLYC was made for them. So moms and dads can park their helicopters at the gate and enjoy a rare gift of their own—peace—knowing that they are doing a really good thing for their kids.