An Inside Look at Pine Hills Boys Camp -- Russ Raney

I recently had a unique opportunity to be an adult observer at Pine Hills Boys Camp. Late last year, my son (now entering 7th grade) expressed an interest in attending Pine Hills after hearing about the fun time a friend had there last summer. We wanted him to be able to participate in this experience, but because of dietary restrictions the only way he could attend would be if Dad went along to help with his food. Thus, I became the oldest ‘camper’ at Pine Hills this year and had the opportunity to watch the boys immerse themselves in the Pine Hills experience. And what I saw made me glad my son was able to be there. Here is a taste of what I observed:

  • Boys learning to work together as a team to accomplish a goal.
  • Boys being given opportunities to be leaders and develop leadership skills.
  • Boys learning to respect authority and building new friendships.
  • Boys engaged in healthy physical activity that sometimes challenged them beyond their comfort zones as they learned what they can do when they dig deeper.
  • Boys having fun at the beautiful YMCA Camp facility (where Pine Hills is held) with cool activities like a 50’ climbing wall, a high ropes course, a high dive platform, and much more.
  • A good relationship between the Pine Hills Camp and the YMCA Camp staff because of the way the Pine Hills kids conduct themselves and care for the facilities.
  • A very capable team of men who directed, organized, and led Pine Hills Camp with a maturity beyond their years, and with an obvious desire to keep the campers safe, and to see them grow in faith, know God’s love, and experience the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.
  • Speakers who encouraged and challenged the boys in their faith.
  • Boys who were excited about worshipping the Lord.
  • Prayer meetings where the Holy Spirit was moving and impacting lives.
  • A fun ‘gong’ show where boys (of all ages) got to showcase their ‘talents’ (I use that word loosely in some instances). 
  • Former campers who continue to return year after year to help on the service team, or as a counselor, or in some other capacity because of the great time they have.
  • Boys learning that pursuing God wholeheartedly is a lifelong adventure for real, manly men.

It’s no wonder so many former campers keep coming back. This was a great experience for my son and all the boys there; one they won’t forget, one that moves them along the path of Godly manhood, and one which brings glory to our Awesome God.