For the last 15 years, I've been working on a project out in Colorado called KIVU. Some people like to call it a "summer camp," but I like to refer to it as a Teenage Resort.
Located at the foothills of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, we launched this project to invite Teenagers to come and enjoy the Cool Colorado Summer Weather, get introduced to Colorado type outdoor sports, and build relationships around the world.
When I wrote my latest book, ALONE, my thesis was basically, "The Biggest Problem in the Teenage World is the feeling of Loneliness." As I've continued to work with Teenagers and Young Adults around the world, I find it more and more necessary to provide places in the world to teach students how to develop meaningful relationships outside their normal sphere of influence to expand the worldview they have of life.
I've had several parents ask me, "Why do you think a Summer Time at KIVU Matters to our Teenager? What if he gets a job?"
And to that I have to say there are three main reasons I think Teenagers need a Summer Break away from home.
1. At KIVU we provide a world class facility Teenagers can be Proud of. It's fun to watch our students invite their friends year after year, and be proud of the place they like to call their 'second home.' When you think about Summer Camp of old images of Poison Ivey, Humid Nights, and Staff who are more interested in their own summer experience than the Teen. At KIVU we solved all those issues so Teenagers can be proud to know they are going to be in a 'resort' like setting. We have all the coolest equipment to use, we have all the lights/smoke/and sound students expect in today's youth ministry, and our staff is trained to be at KIVU for teenagers. We are there to support, mentor, and share life with Teens.
I tell parents, you need to make plans to come to a place like KIVU because of the connections your students make in a facility they can be proud of.
2. Teenagers need to know they can make it on their own.
Part of the development process is being able to know you can make it on your own. Students at home often rely on being tethered to home, which isn't a bad thing; but if you can provide your student with experiences where they can spread their wings and explore, they'll understand how to translate that experience to other growing up times.
Leaving for College.
Connecting with other Teenagers in a different Environment.
Making Sure they are Confident when they apply for a job in a world that's not familiar.
All these skills are skills we begin to learn between our post puberty to adulthood years.
A Summer at KIVU will prep your teenager to know how to be comfortable meeting kids from different places, explore adventures they've never tried, and have good conversations about what it's like to go to College; all while having a BLAST!!
3. KIVU is a place to Explore Faith
My Post Graduate Work is in Philosophy of Religion. I've worked on the effects of faith all over the world, and have found the conversations about foundational belief systems are formed in our youth. We're not about forcing anyone to believe anything they're not ready to believe, but we are able to have a conversation concerning questions like...
Is there a God? and How do we know?
What is our Purpose here on the planet?
Where do we find Truth?
How do we belong to communities around the world?
No matter what faith you come from, all those questions are central to understanding how and why you wake up in the morning. I teach our students from a Christian Worldview, but I have a unique style of conversation allowing students to feel safe exploring their faith while helping to find REAL HONEST answers.
I've found, in 15 years, we've prepared thousands of students to begin their own Journey of Faith. Any my hope is: thousands more will be impacted by the work we're doing at KIVU.
So as you're thinking about summertime, check out http://www.campkivu.com for a Refreshing Summer Adventure that will last a Lifetime!