by Tracie Lanier
AUGUST 29, 2014

Surprise Valley Youth Camp

Surprise Valley Youth Camp – Mission Report

In the cool mountains of Beckley, West Virginia there is a small Christian Youth Camp that has been a huge part of my life. I attended camp there from the ages of 9-15 as a camper, 16-18 as a junior counselor, and ages 19-21 and 35-46 as a senior counselor, making 2014 my 25th year of involvement with the youth camp. My sons, Thomas and Nathan and my daughter, Julie, have grown up attending this camp as well, and the boys volunteered to work as junior counselors this year. Along with helping with supervising the campers’ activities, setting up the mess hall for meals and the ever-popular showe-house cleaning, they had many opportunities to lead prayers, lead songs and deliver devotionals to the boys in their cabins as well as to the entire camp during our campfire time. It has been amazing to see them have the same experience that I had growing up and also to see them maturing in their Christian walk by working at SVYC.

2014 was a great year at SVYC! This year, I was asked to teach Christian Conduct for the older girls at camp. I wrote my own material for this class and had a wonderful time teaching approximately 20 young ladies, ages 12-18. We discussed many things regarding Bible Authority, The Plan of Salvation, and Maturing Like Jesus Did in Wisdom, Stature, Favor With God and Favor With Man. We put each area of Christian Conduct into one or more of these four areas. The girls were really eager to participate in class discussions and we all learned a lot about what the Bible says regarding making decisions about our conduct. I gave a short quiz on the last day to see how well I had communicated the material to them, and everyone passed! I hope to expand this material and teach the class again next year.

This small camp that is not well known outside of southern West Virginia, makes such an impact on the lives of those who attend, whether as campers or workers. I have friends that I knew when we were campers more than 30 years ago, who still come back to work each year along with me. There is no Wi-Fi, nearly no cell phone signal, and electronics are put away for the week. We don’t have a pool, horseback riding, air conditioning or many of the other amenities that are commonly found in youth camps today. But what we do have is more powerful than any of these things. We have the Word of God and it is taught many times throughout the day, from the time we hear reveille to lights out. We also have the beauty of God’s creation and the love of good friends surrounding us as we learn and encourage one another. This is what makes SVYC such a timeless place, dear to the heart of anyone who has ever spent time in our little valley.

Tracie Lanier
Operations Coordinator
Truth For The World