Bible campsby Laura Tinnel

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (BNc) — A Virginia youth camp broke its record attendance last month with 91 campers.

The Purcellville congregation, with help from Alabama and Mississippi, conducted its fifth annual Purcellville Christian Youth Camp (PCYC) June 27-29.

The all-volunteer camp, co-directed by Joel Tinnel and Robbie Shiflett, is a community outreach of the Purcellville congregation.

Any community child, ages 4 through high school, may attend free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

Turnout for the 2011 camp was the largest yet, with 91 campers, including a few college-aged attendees who returned from prior years. Average camper attendance for the three days was 84.  Approximately one-third of the campers were from families in the local community and not associated with the churches of Christ.

This year’s theme was “Heroes of the Faith”. Campers studied Bible heroes of Hebrews 11 and learned about the Biblical definition of faith and the action it requires.

The camp ran from 9 to 4:30 each day. Days were action-packed, consisting of Bible classes, morning and afternoon devotionals, crafts, indoor and outdoor games and sports, lunch and snacks, and a teen Bible bowl. The camp concluded on Wednesday evening with a devotional, followed by an awards ceremony and ice cream party for campers and their families.

In addition to providing a service to the community, the camp is used as an extension of the congregation’s youth leadership training program. Under the guidance of adult mentors, some senior campers served in leadership roles. Four teen boys led singing, three delivered devotional talks, and two helped lead the Bible bowl.

Four teen girls assisted in teaching junior camper classes. Many other teens were part of the “buddy” program and teamed up with the youngest campers, acting as big brothers and sisters.

Twenty-three of the congregation’s adults assisted directly at the camp this year, with some taking vacation from work to do so. This number represents approximately half of the congregation’s adults.

Participation ranged from single young adults to married couples and retired widows. Many other members donated food, drinks, and money to help with the effort.

Eleven adults and 30 campers came from Theo, Miss., and Arab, Munford, and other surrounding congregations in Alabama to support the camp. Housing was provided by eight of the Purcellville congregation’s families.

Purcellville is located 52 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., near the West Virginia border in an area considered to be a mission field. Few of the congregation’s members live in Purcellville itself with some members traveling over an hour each way to work and worship with the congregation.

The congregation was planted Dec., 1998, by four related families. It presently consists of about 75 people, many of whom are young children and teens.

The congregation completed construction and moved into its first permanent meeting facility in July, 2009. It has elders and deacons and hired its first full time preacher, Donnie Vick, in Jan., 2010.

For further information, visit the Purcellville congregation’s website.