our sites

We're visiting more than a dozen sites this summer, learning more every day.

Where we went

Our team of trained researchers traveled to 16 sites around the Midwest during the summer of 2019. We observed the programs, talked with the campers, and interviewed staff/volunteers. Each site visit took place during 3 days during the week of day camp.

There are wonderful lessons to share from these visits. We are telling our stories through brief narratives aimed at capturing some of the unique characteristics of each site visit. Read the narratives and see some of the pictures we captured during our visits, along with some tip-of-the-iceberg learning from each site.

We have much more to share – data, cumulative learning, and important stories. We’re learning a lot about the connections and opportunities between camps and congregations. Start reading below, and check back soon for more summaries and themes from our research.

Are you one of the 16 sites we visited? Are you a camp professional interested in learning joining the conversation about camp and congregation connections? Are you a parish pastor or leader looking to begin or maximize day camp impact at your church?

Agents of Change: Day Camp at Peace Lutheran

“Bingo!” a young voice sounded out. The young boy was paired with an elderly woman who was unable to speak up loudly enough to be heard from across the room, but she clearly shared his excitement and enthusiasm on their fourth bingo in as many rounds. A runner dashed...

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Strength to the Weary: Day Camp at The Chapel

“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak!” Nearly 100 elementary-age campers shouted the words in unison, as they first flexed their muscles and then drooped in a bodily display of weakness. They continued without hesitation through the...

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The Next Generation of Counselors: Day Camp at Genesis Church

In Noblesville, Indiana, an outer suburb north of Indianapolis, the counselors in training (CITs) create a cheering tunnel for more than 120 elementary-aged children and their families to welcome them all to day camp at Genesis Church. Between two campuses, Genesis...

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We are Family – Beautiful Savior Day Camp

I felt like I was walking into a family reunion. I arrived around 1 pm on a muggy Wednesday afternoon to Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Bloomfield Hills is a city of about 4,000, but it appears to be growing quite rapidly. There was nothing...

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Bringing Camp to the Congregation: Holy Cross Day Camp

There was a collective gasp in the crowd, as everyone’s attention focused immediately on our guest. “This is Tulip,” she announced affectionately. Rarely have I seen a presenter so effectively capture their audience, especially when the audience consists primarily of...

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All of the Energy: Day Camp at Res Life

“Friends! The rope is ice cream!” shouts a counselor to their campers. The campers are doing the Flying Squirrel together, a high ropes course element that requires the entire cabin group to pull a rope attached to a camper wearing a harness who is then pulled into...

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Affirmed Counselors Affirming: Day Camp at Epiphany UMC

It is an unexpected sight to walk into day camp in July and see a fully decorated Christmas tree with presents underneath and a big screen projecting a Yule log burning. That is how the meeting room at Epiphany United Methodist Church is adorned when SpringHill is on...

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Ministry for the Community: Day Camp at Trinity Lutheran

Three campers sit with nervous excitement in the middle of the parachute with their hands held above their heads. They sit back-to-back as the counselors and campers around the edges start to walk in a circle, slowly creating a twist in the parachute. The Living Water...

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It Takes a Community: Day Camp at Faith Church

The sidewalks of the junior high are decorated with sidewalk chalk welcoming campers to day camp in Beecher, Illinois, a small town an hour south of Chicago. One hundred and twenty campers, with their parents and guardians, are greeted at the door by counselors in...

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Building Leadership: Day Camp at Trinity Lutheran Church

A camper races to the front of the sanctuary, accepts the poster with the song lyrics from a counselor, and holds the poster above his head while the rest of the campers sing along with the piano. He belts out “Radical God” with pride while facing the sanctuary of...

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Crossing the Street: Day Camp at Park Hills Church

The SpringHill/Park Hills Church collaboration is longstanding, in no small part due to the fact that the senior pastor at Park Hills is the son of the founder of SpringHill.  Park Hills Church comes out of the Evangelical Free religious tradition. It’s a partnership...

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VBS+DayCamp Hybrid at Holy Trinity Lutheran

The vacation Bible school and day camp hybrid program at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is best described as a labor of love. The entire congregation, under the passionate leadership of Pastor Katie, makes this an incredible week for the entire congregation. Holy...

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Sharing the Ministry: Day Camp at Kingsway

“Merry Christmas, everyone!” A cheer went up from the gathering of 180 elementary-aged campers and 24 SpringHill camp staff members as the snow floated down from the sky. It was late June, and the heat index was near 100 degrees in the Indianapolis suburbs, but that...

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A Step of Faith: Day Camp at Granger Community Church

 “Here, let me help you.” My tour guide was an 8-year-old girl that I had gotten to talk with during lunch. She was a camp pro, in her fourth summer at SpringHill Day Camp, and she was guiding me through the essential camp ritual of tie-dying. Everyone colors a...

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