Powerof2YouthCamp is an Independent Baptist Youth Camp which is a ministry of Wahoo Baptist Church, White Oak Springs Baptist Church, and Preachin' Time Ministries. The goal of our youth camp is to reach the youth of America with old fashion preaching, singing, and worship.
Although raised in church and preaching at an early age, as a child, I was never exposed to 'church or Christian camps'. Sometime late in High School or early College, I met Bro. George Trask. Bro. Trask was the director of Macedonia Bible Camp in Lula, GA. He kindly invited me to come over and check out what a Christian Camp Experience was all about. I was hooked! The Lord immediately birthed a desire in my heart to develop a camp program that I could offer to the churches where I frequently ministered. Due to pastoring and bi-vocational living, it would be more than a dozen years before I would be able to fulfil that desire. After leaving the pastorate in 1999, I focused on mission evangelism (still bi-vocational). The Lord allowed me to leave public employment early in 2002 and I began to focus full time on Preachin' Time Ministries. Soon a youth camp was back on the planning table.
My first camp was called "Basic Training Youth Camp". We borrowed Camp Canaan from Bro. James Langston. I still remember that Monday in July 2002 when the first teenagers began arriving at camp. My heart was thrilled that God had allowed a dream to become sight. God used the camp to touch many teen lives in those early years.
After outgrowing Camp Canaan's facilities, we moved our operations to Sand Mountain Bible Camp for the next several years. Our ministry footprint expanded as Preachin' Time Ministries' Volunteers helped staff other camp weeks each summer at Sand Mountain. After Bro. Mark Stroud started the Northeast Georgia Youth Camp on the other side of the state, we blended the camp efforts. This allowed campers to participate in multiple camp weeks as well as experience leadership opportunities as volunteer staff and counselors. Those early years found me working closely with Bro. Gene Trask who was the director at Sand Mountain Bible Camp. When Bro. Gene resigned to go the mission field, Sand Mountain ask me to take over as camp director. Preachin' Time Ministries partnered with Sand Mountain for about the next 2 years to operate Sand Mountain Bible Camp. During these days, we dropped the name "Basic Training Youth Camp" and focused on multiple Sand Mountain camp weeks.
After resigning from Sand Mountain in the summer of 2009, my intent was to reestablish the Basic Training name, expand leadership training and opportunities and develop more extensive partnerships with Bro. Stroud and the Northeast Georgia Youth Camp. Due to a facility fire in late 2009, our plans changed. In the summer of 2010, Bro. Stroud and I joined our efforts together as POWER OF 2 YOUTH CAMPS. Now for 14 camp seasons we have co-labored with this effort. After good success in our teen week, a junior week was added to include a younger group of campers and provided ministry training for older teens. Some of our highlights now include our appreciation weekend trip and weekend activities.
Camp has provided a wonderful opportunity for teenagers to foster strong, life-long friendships across multiple churches. Many young people have answered the call of God on their lives, met their mates and prepared for a future serving God through camp. The key of course is found as Teens disconnect from the world at camp and that alone gives them an opportunity to hear the voice of God as he speaks to them. The dynamics and logistics of camp ministry have changed over time, but the principal and process still works for the Glory of God!
Soon after I became the Pastor of Wahoo Baptist Church, I had my first experience with a summer youth camp. At the time, Bro. Duane Moore was hosting a week of camp at Camp Canaan just outside Ringgold, GA. I was honored to be asked to preach during the week along with several others including Bro. Stinnett Ballew. After spending a week at Camp Canaan and seeing all that the Lord did in the hearts of the young people and youth groups in attendance, my heart was stirred about the youth camp ministry.
Several years later, I took our oldest son along with a few other children from our church to Sand Mountain Bible Camp in Trenton, GA, which was also under the direction of Bro. Duane Moore at the time. I can remember how excited Riley was to come home and tell me all about the week at camp. It was at this point that the Lord began to deal with my heart about starting a church camp in Northeast GA. After much prayer and planning with our church family, we started the North GA Youth Camp (NGYC) in 2006. We hosted our first camp at the newly constructed Refuge Baptist Camp in Carnesville, GA, with just over 70 kids in attendance. It was certainly a cooperative effort from our church family at Wahoo Baptist. Several of our senior saints helped with the cooking of the meals with many other volunteers helping us with activities and services. For several years, Bro. Moore would bring his camp volunteers to NGYC after the camps at Sand Mountain Bible Camp were concluded for the summer.
After several years of directing the camps at Sand Mountain, Bro. Moore stepped away from those duties, and we combined the camp ministry of Preachin' Time Ministries (Bro. Moore) and NGYC (Wahoo Baptist Church) to form what is now known as the Power of 2 Youth Camp. During those first three years, our camp attendance had grown to several hundred campers forcing us to seek another camp facility that could adequately house the larger attendance. In 2009, we were very fortunate to be given the opportunity to move to the Union Grove Holiness Campground in Cleveland, GA, where we continue to host camp today. Since moving to Union Grove, we have been blessed to see our camp attendance continue to grow with many lives being touched along the way. In 2011, we added a junior camp to the summer schedule, which has proven to be a great blessing to the younger children who attend, and also provides a great service and leadership opportunity for our older teens who volunteer during junior camp.
When our country experienced the COVID crisis, it left me with many questions as to what the future would look like for youth camps like ours. I was so grateful when we were able to resume normal camp operations in 2022. I look forward with great anticipation to the years ahead and seeing the groups return with new faces and new opportunities for lives to be changed for the glory of God.