Thirteen people gathered in 1950 at California’s Mount Hermon Conference Center to share common problems and dreams for Christian camping. Out of that nucleus grew the Western Camp and Conference Association. Last month its descendant, Christian Camping International, held its fifth biennial world convention at Green Lake, Wisconsin, with 800 delegates representing leadership reaching one million campers.

Christian camping is growing by leaps and bounds, in the United States and especially overseas, according to camping leaders from fifteen nations. They painted glowing pictures of outdoor opportunities for reaching thousands for Christ in their native lands.

The CCI itself has doubled in the last three years, with a current membership of 2,600 from more than 1,000 camps. “There is a new stance and attitude about camping,” said amiable CCI executive secretary Ed Ouland, “and camping involvement overseas is becoming one of the best tools for missionaries today.”

The up trend in Christian camping here and abroad runs counter to the experience of secular and organizational camps, which suffered declines this past year, according to outgoing CCI president Lee Kingsley of Big Trout Camp, Minnesota. (Tent, wilderness, and recreational-vehicle camping are up on every front, however.)

That imaginative evangelical camp directors have plenty going for them was clearly brought out in the smorgasbord of tightly packed seminars, speeches, and nearly 100 workshops arranged non-stop during the four-day conference. Salesmen in forty exhibit booths in the basement below the Green Lake American Baptist Convention dining hall did a brisk business in camp equipment and aids.

A smooth harmony appeared to exist between advocates, of diverse—but not ...

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