The Purpose and Philosophy of Camp Whip-Poor-Will

I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. and Mrs. Whip-Poor-Will in preparation for writing these posts to their website. I dare say that as a writer, I wish every interview were this thorough and delightful. Mr. and Mrs. Whip-Poor-Will are extraordinarily knowledgeable about running a camp, as the following interviews will show.

What is the Purpose and Philosophy of Camp Whip-Poor-Will?

The purpose and philosophy of Camp Whip-Poor-Will is to provide Christian Nurture in the out of doors for little children. Some of the ways to accomplish this for our camp were:

1. through the employment of Christian Counselors, whose example of Christian love would convey God’s love,

2. through daily devotions.

3. through blessings at snacks/lunch

4. through times for a study of the Bible,

5. through songs and talks,

6. through sharing at all camp time the joys of our day together.

7. One special way was also at the end of the day when counselors shared a few minutes with their group to conclude with prayer, thanking God for the safety and fun of our day together, and often recognizing each child by name, thanking him for some special contribution to their day, shared together.

8. Situational teaching was possibly one of the best ways to share a camp day in a Christian way with the little ones assigned to a dedicated counselor; thus fulfilling the purpose intended of a Christian nurturing, and caring camp.

Accomplishing this purpose , extended to all activities of the camp as children and staff walked together through all the events of the day.

For those beginning a camp, a clear purpose should be defined and a strong leader to always encourage the fulfillment of that purpose is an absolute necessity. With the employment of so many people, with varying backgrounds and experiences, it can be difficult to stay focused on your purpose for existing as a camp.

A clear definition, when hiring and at camp training that your camp should operate as one camp, should be emphasized often. If not guided carefully, each leader can change the course of the real purpose for which you exist. When this happens, your camp has no recognizable purpose.

Parents are more apt to desire a camp for their children, where the purpose is understood and is unchanging as well as where reputation through years of consistent service is evident.

Should Our Camp Be A Christian Or A Secular Camp?

Decisions on Christian or Secular can be guided Based on who is planning the camp and areas that are important in their life as well as community needs. Christian Camps are especially needed today and can enrich the lives of children in so many ways as they go about to all the fun activities.

Why are Christian Camps needed?

1. With weekend traveling or busy parents, the church may no longer feel that they have the needed focus for families. Thus nothing is provided.

2. Many churches have such small numbers of children, leadership is not available for additional summer programs.

3. Many churches have large numbers of children, but staff members often assume additional programs are not needed or that children are not around in the summer, or that they will participate in things others have planned. What a loss for those church children and families. What a loss for their Christian growth in times of leisure.

4. Unless children are in private Christian schools, or Church School on a regular basis, Christian growth is often not available, except through Christian parents. Even they may not feel adequate.

What About A Secular Camp?

1. As you set your goals and purpose, consider carefully the opportunities of more than secular camping. While both have their place , seek for more provision of a child’s spiritual need when possible.

2. Select the type of camp that you feel is the most needed for your community being served.

3. If you pursue a secular camp, select activities with varying skills to be taught. You may also consider sports or athletic pursuits, such as swimming, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, and varied outdoor opportunities.

4. A camp offering more sports, etc. may also appeal to an older group of youth who are often left out of the camping scene.

5. Many people in every community have unique talents to share, especially older persons. Often programs can be developed based on individuals who can teach or share their gifts.

Ultimately, What Did You Decide For Camp Whip-Poor-Will?

CAMP WHIP-POOR-WILL existed for the Christian nurture in the out of doors as described in our purpose. Mr. and Mrs. Whip-Poor-Will grew up in the same church together with a strong Christian background. Seeking to share God’s love with little children through example and provisions for their needs, Bible studies, and the like was their very reason for Camp. Every child was welcome and every child, hopefully felt God’s love through love shown by staff.

What Challenges Did Your Encounter?

Our steadfastness was revealed when the Small Business Group would not lend with a bank, unless the Christian Emphasis was dropped which was just not an option! Seeking to stay independent from schools who may not allow the Christian emphasis, based on their own policies, was a difficult time and a difficult choice. Their struggles on the camp journey taught much about holding fast to the original goals of Christian Camping.

What Other Decisions Should You Consider As You Pursue Your Own Camp Development Concerns?

1. Do We Desire A Day Camp Or A Residential?

While you may wish for both Consider :

– your land and financial situation

– the needs of those you are seeking to serve – your own expertise the expertise of those with whom you are working.


At Camp Whip-Poor-Will we chose Day Camping , as our campers had options of many great overnight camps, sports camps and the like. However, many needed, for some weeks, constructive and creative opportunities for their days which our day camp provided.

Though we chose day camp, we discovered there was a need for an optional overnight once a week. This enabled children to discover, while still close at home, whether they liked this overnight camping life!

On a few occasions we extended the overnights to the fall of the year, offering several nights. Because our facility was not planned for overnights, we used small tents, sometimes tipis, and the like to make this possible. In the environment of summer heat these overnights in the fall were welcome times for campers, as we were in in an area without the mountain breezes!

2. Do We Desire A Coed Camp Or... All Boys Or All Girls?

-Depending on the type of camp you are planning, most activities will probably be of interest to both boys and girls.

– Because we live in a coed world , helping boys and girls to get along together and appreciate each other is so very important.

– Day Camp may lend itself best to coed, while overnight camp, due to its space and building needs might be more easily provided for one or the other.


Our camp served as a coed camp. We discovered that this was beneficial for all the above reasons.

In addition:

1. Many families had both boys and girls within their family unit. Sending them all to the same camp helped the family with arrival and pick up, avoiding the difficulty of coordinating between all the other camp locations.

2. Families also appreciated the fun sharing from each camper and their different experiences of varying groups.

3. Another plus was singing, at home together, the same songs learned at WPW.

4. Seeing which family camper remembered the words for the day and the devotions, was good at home discussion.

5. Having younger children with their older siblings offered security as well, both for children and parents.

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