Traditionally, the mention of a summer program for high school students conjures up images of cabins, recreational activities, and educational seminars. Rarely, if ever, does one think of college credit or wildebeests when reflecting on summer experiences. These things were mentioned repeatedly, however, in my conversations with students about their time at Camp10.
Camp10 is a unique opportunity that allows high school students, and now college students, to experience adventure, have cross-cultural encounters, and engage with the global church – all while earning college credit. Students who attended Camp10 over the summer of 2017 had the opportunity to spend five weeks in South Africa, living among hippos and wildebeest in the scenic Waterburg biosphere.
The tagline of Camp10, which can be found spread across its website and promotional material, is “adventure meets purpose”. While attention was given by the students interviewed to the adventure aspects of the experience, what served to be even more impactful than the sights or the safaris was the opportunity to meet and interact with people of a different culture.
“The biggest value I see in it is cross-cultural experience,” stated Bradley Trull when asked about his experiences. Bradley is a senior at Corban who served as an RA for Camp10. The American students themselves were from various areas of the United States. Helena Miller, who served alongside Bradley as an RA, was surprised by the diversity of the students. “We learned a lot about leading different types of cultures… One of the biggest things was the difference in American cultures,” she said of her experiences. These differences, however, did not stop the students from connecting with one another and with South African students.
Camp10 attendees spent their first three weeks interacting with local students. This time was particularly impactful for Bradley. “I saw them connect with South African students,” he said of the students he mentored, “It was cool to see them make those friendships and not allow those barriers to connections.”
“I would say I got closer to them than some of the American students,” Anna Benjamin, now a freshman at Corban, said of the South Africans, “I enjoyed every minute I spent with them.”
In addition to building new relationships and gaining new knowledge, students at Camp10 also had opportunities to develop personally. For many of these high school students, it was their first lengthy separation from home. Brogan Boen, now a freshman at Corban, said he realized he had more responsibilities on this trip. Bethany Olmsted witnessed a similar trend: “I saw students grow to be more responsible and take more initiative for themselves,” she said of her peers.
Spending time in another cultural context comes with its challenges, but for the students at Camp10, these challenges were often some of the most significant parts of the trip. “It pushes you out of your comfort zone,” Brogan remarked. Anna expressed a similar sentiment. “Looking back that was my favorite thing. It was beautiful that I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
Corban University fulfills the educational aspect of Camp10, but the partnership extends father than simply accreditation. Corban seeks to educate Christians to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ. The education received at Camp10 goes deeper than academic education; it is impacting the worldview of its students and changing their perspectives on what it means to make a difference. “I might’ve had my own ideas about how I thought I would help out the people,” Anna contemplated, “I was helping just by my presence and showing Christ’s love to them.”
Although the backgrounds, cultures, and experiences of the students differed, one obvious commonality was that they were each greatly affected by this incredible opportunity.
The benefits of this experience can be well summarized in this statement by Bradley: “I do not think the value of travel can be overstated.”
Written by Brianna Ashmore
Brianna Ashmore is a junior at Corban University. She is passionate about encouraging Christians to be more engaged internationally.