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All-Faith Kamp

Free to Be You and Me:

(July 22 – 27; Ages 8 – 14)


All youth are welcome! Youth spend most of their time enjoying the same traditional  (canoeing, archery, arts and crafts, swimming…) and some more modern summer kamp activities (STEM maker spaces, drama, culinary arts…) as those participating in our Christian Uniquely Vanderkamp sessions. Because this is a NEW program, we wanted to share more information with you about the distinctive features of this kamp.

While strife and division dominate our media and culture, kamp promotes living in peace and harmony with each other and the natural world. Diversity is the one thing we all have in common. We believe it should be celebrated every day!

Free to Be You and Me Kamp is about doing just that… celebrating and accepting one another as the unique people we are! Whether your youth is part of the “in crowd”  at school or in their community or feels like they are sometimes “on the outside looking in,” or has suffered the impacts of bullying… here all youth are equally valued, equally respected, and equally cherished for who they are… period.

This week we will focus on lifting each other up and learning ways we can help others by standing up for what’s right… and so desperately needed today… more kindness, peace, harmony, respect, and love. When designing this program, we heard echoes from the past, and all that was good about the 60’s… so that will be our guiding theme this week.






The name for this new kamp was inspired by the 1972 classic song by the New Seekers on the album (Anybody remember those?) Marlo Thomas and Friends, Free to Be You and Me:

YouTube Video: “Free to Be You and Me” 


While most Vanderkamp sessions are Christian, whatever your family’s beliefs, faith, or religion, your youth will feel right at home with this unique summer kamping experience. This program is appropriate for ALL youth, not just those of the Christian faith (see our Christian kamp programs). This kamp incorporates a more global focus on spirituality and provides opportunities to ask questions and learn about each other’s beliefs, faith, or religious practices. While maintaining an atmosphere of kindness, peace, harmony, respect and celebration of our diversity; youth can feel safe and confident in asking questions to learn more about others.

Why address kamper’s spirituality at all during kamp?

The simple answer is we are all hard-wired from birth to be spiritual beings. This is true no matter your faith… or your sense that you have none. Kamps, like schools, program for healthy youth development by providing opportunities for growth in all areas: physical, emotional, social, cognitive/learning, and yes… spiritual. To ignore spirituality would be to ignore an essential element of who we are as human beings. As adults, we can look back on transcendent experiences that made us feel a deeper connection or sense of being part of something much greater than ourselves. They are experiences that inspire… and endure, often providing strength and comfort in times of challenge later in life. Think about your own cherished childhood memories.

Inspiring, spiritual experiences occur almost every day at kamp… whether we plan for them or not. Surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest, laughing with friends; a simple hike can be a transformative experience for youth… something they will remember and look back on fondly forever. Catching their first fish… singing around the campfire… lying in a field watching a shooting star… the opportunities for being spiritually inspired… feeling part of something greater than ourselves… are virtually endless at kamp.

Research has shown that when youth have opportunities to engage in inspirational or spiritual experiences with others, like those provided at kamp, there is a “protective effect that lowers the incidence of depression” by as much as 80%! With so many youth receiving treatment for depression and anxiety today… this news is a huge revelation! Here’s an article from the American Camping Association’s Camp Magazine that does a nice job explaining why spirituality is so important for youth:

Camping Magazine article: “Camp and Spiritual Development”

So if you are looking for an opportunity where your youth will be accepted, respected, and loved as the unique person they are, while learning to treat others the same… and having an AWESOME summer kamp experience jam packed with a mix of traditional and some more modern activities to choose from… look no further… register your youth today.



Note: If your child has a disability or diagnosed condition that requires one-on-one care; the youth’s parent, guardian, or sponsoring agency would be responsible for providing a qualified and responsible support person. There will be an additional charge to cover the support person’s lodging and meals. If you have questions about the accessibility of Vanderkamp’s facilities, please contact us. We would be happy to arrange a tour and work through any obstacles to your youth’s participation with you. Our goal is to provide every youth with the best kamp experience possible!

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