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Raising Joyful Kids: Our WinShape Story

How WinShape Camps Instilled the Joy of Christ in our Family

Written by: Lynn Alters – WinShape Camps Mom

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

In a family with two full-time working parents, planning our kids’ summer break starts (at the latest) in February. It’s a challenge to decide how to keep young kids entertained and surrounded by people and experiences that would support what we were doing as parents and nurture their interests and gifts. In the summer of 2005, my nephew accepted a job at WinShape Camps for Boys in Rome, Georgia, and it sparked my interest. My oldest daughter was just old enough to attend. Little did we know the profound impact WinShape Camps would come to have on our family.

Our family’s history with WinShape Camps runs deep and wide. I am the mom of two past WinShape campers that went on to work at WinShape Camps in college, and one is on full-time staff with WinShape Camps today. I am also a Raving Fan of WinShape Camps!! 🥳 The legacy of WinShape Camps rooted itself in my family, in our extended family, and in our friends’ families about 20 years ago. After our first summer, I knew we had found something truly special!

Being a Christian is FUN

After camp in 2005, my oldest daughter, Emily came home filled with joy and eager to return to camp the next summer! When reflecting on the impact that camp has had on our daughters, one thing that stuck in my mind was JOY! The joy that comes from Christ was contagious at WinShape Camps!  As my daughters grew older, their counselors became role models and people that they looked up to! These “cool, fun” counselors showed them that following Jesus is FUN, and they helped reinforce the truths that, as parents, we were teaching in our home!

“Each summer, our girls came home from camp knowing that being a Christian was FUN, that Christ’s joy was in them, and that their joy was full!”

Over the next few years, we found that sending our daughters to WinShape Camps was one of the best investments we could ever make as parents!  Our girls came home from camp knowing that being a Christian was FUN, that Christ’s joy was in them, and that their joy was full!  Reinforcing these truths in our home, equipped them to see that the joy of being centered in Christ is far better than the other choices they have before them at every stage of life!   This may be the secret sauce of parenting that was right before our eyes!

Parenting with JOY

As parents, we are the hands and feet of Christ. So, how do we instill the joy of Christ in our children, so that it resonates with them throughout life? Of course, a Christian summer camp is not the only ingredient. It truly takes a village, but it starts in our homes! It starts with modeling the joy and love of Jesus in our home, finding a church home with strong children and youth programs, spending intentional family time at home, and prioritizing the experiences our family and children take part in. These positive experiences assist us in building a foundation of love, trust, and a sense of self-worth that are vital for their future.

As the years fly by, our children begin heading to middle school, high school, and then college. Navigating these critical transitions is hard for parents and kids alike. Our kids begin making their own choices in friends and experiences, which will be guided based on their past experiences and outcomes.

“Instilling in them the meaning of finding joy in Christ will help set the bar for their life choices.”

I would say that our job as parents is navigating their childhood experiences and helping them find joy in even the hardest moments. Instilling in them the meaning of finding joy in Christ will help set the bar for their life choices. Although they may wander at times, they will revisit where their joy is truly found! I have seen the evidence in my daughters’ lives, and I am sure that many of you have as well.

I could have never imagined that two weeks at camp each summer could support me as a parent in so many ways!  I leaned on their experience at WinShape Camp as a reminder to them of the joy that comes from being centered in Christ. WinShape is a second home for both of my girls and their life was shaped by their experiences at camp.

One summer on our drive home from camp, my young daughters were trading story after story of their time at camp. I asked them, “What did Ms. Trudy teach you?” (Trudy Cathy White was the Director of Girls Camp during their years at camp) One of them quickly responded,  “She says all the things you say!”. Not only did I chuckle at the response, but it let me know that we were certainly in the right place! I am grateful that WinShape Camps became a part of our family’s legacy!

This could have been another summer camp, they could have gone to a different church or lived in a different town, but their experiences shaped their future. As parents, we desire to shape our children’s life in a way that gives the best chance for their future.  So, invite joy into your home!  I read this, and it is so beautifully phrased, “Joy is an outward expression of our inward hope in God.”

So, learn a few camp songs from your children and be a joy-setter in your home!

A Parent’s Prayer for Joy

Lord, help me to bring joy to my family!  Help them to see that my joy comes from you.  Even in the toughest times, help me to choose joy and to live a life that reflects that joy to my children. Let them seek the joy that comes only through you throughout their life! 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

My daughters are now out of college and attend church together in Atlanta on a pretty regular basis!  My youngest is a nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she feels a great sense of fulfillment from her work!  My oldest works with WinShape Camps and loves her job!  She asked me to write this blog and it was an honor and a privilege to tell my story!

Written by: Lynn Alters, WinShape Camps Mom