Boot Camp…First Impressions

Early in the summer of 1996, I was head over heels for a beautiful young woman from Dublin, Georgia. She was friendly, intelligent, and most importantly, a committed follower of Jesus Christ (already mentioned beautiful!). We had been spending some time together for a couple of months when she told me that she was leaving town for two weeks, which I thought was quite a bummer! When I asked her where she was going, she told me “bootcamp”. Now I probably shouldn’t have to tell you that this was quite perplexing to me, but upon further review, she was not going into the military! No, she was going to a Bible bootcamp.

The young woman, Ashley, eventually became my wife in 1998. Shortly after we married, we were invited to a retreat where the student ministry directors, David and BJ Lawson, would be teaching some inductive Bible study. At the retreat, they re-connected with Ashley and invited us to apply to staff at the next summer’s bootcamps. The rest, as they say, is history.

I found bootcamp to be an amazing experience, one like I had never seen or even heard of before. What made it so unique? Well imagine 150 or so young believers, passionate about their faith, studying God’s Word in community for hours a day. There were no televisions, radios, walkmans (just kidding, this was late 90’s, not 80’s), newspapers, or many of the distractions that we deal with everyday. Now we played some games together, played sports in teams in the afternoon, had a giant obstacle course and did those kinds of things, but when it came down to it, it was as simple as God’s people in God’s Word.

And that remains the essence of camp today! We are receiving applications for camp this year, and the deadline is approaching soon. For more information about camp, and to download an application visit this section of our website!

So, former bootcampers – share a story from your own experiences at camp. What made your experience at camp one you would suggest to others? What made it unique from other camps or left the most lasting impression? Share your own bootcamp story!

Ritchie Johnson
Director, Transform Student Ministries


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