Great response at the 2016 Creation SuperCamp
Published: 26 January 2016 (GMT+10)
The 2016 SuperCamp was a five-day event held at the Tops Conference Centre at Stanwell Park between Sydney and Wollongong. The conference centre is located within pristine bushland on the escarpment edge overlooking Stanwell Park Beach with spectacular scenery and bushwalking experiences. Torrential January storms at the beginning of the week caused local flash flooding, made news headlines, and hindered campers’ enjoying the beautiful surroundings. But there was an upside; participants found much more time to chat to each other, developing a great sense of community early in the event.
Of the over 800 participants, approximately 550 stayed on site. People came from every Australian state, as well as from New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, USA, Canada and United Arab Emirates.
In addition to the lectures, there was an abundance of other activities. On two of the afternoons, participants were given an opportunity to attend geology excursions with Dr Tas Walker to Stanwell Park Beach and associated rock exposures; to join Jonathan Sarfati’s simultaneous chess exhibition; or participate in adventure activities including: abseiling, high ropes, giant swing and cart racing among others.
After much work by Dr Mark Harwood to gather half a dozen quality telescopes, only one of the four planned stargazing nights could be held, because of the poor weather conditions! On the fourth day, the night skies cleared enabling campers to view the stars … created on Day 4! Not surprisingly, the on-site swimming pools also remained largely empty.
An international speaking team
The camp was blessed with speakers from the USA and Singapore as well as Australia. All up, there were 19 professional talks on topics ranging from: the ‘big bang’ to local rivers and rocks; superbugs to antibodies; ice age to current climates; and from the dynasties of ancient Egypt to current atheist arguments; as well as challenges to education. And of course, the powerful message underlying all of these talks was how science reveals our Creator God. Four bonus talks referred to as ‘night owl’ talks (one each night) catered for the insomniacs.
One of the most popular sessions was the question and answer segment, with the majority of speakers on stage at the same time. The participant response to this session was outstanding—over three hundred questions were posted! The speakers answered as many as they could in the time available, with a promise to continue discussions with those whose questions could not be answered due to time restraints. Contact has been made with those who provided email addresses.
Each day also included morning devotions, prayers and Christian music as the participants praised the blessings of the Lord.
Children and youth
There was a special focus on engaging children and youth. A crèche was organised daily for around 10–15 children (infants to pre-school age). At the same time Tom and Donna Nichols from the USA ran an exciting daily program with approximately 100 children engaged in Bible teaching, puppet shows, science projects, and music, to name but some of the activities.
A few activities were organized for high school students (year 7–year 12). About 90 youth enjoyed an ice-breaker on the first day, an exclusive dinner with the SuperCamp speakers, a movie night, and a special lunch together. The speakers’ dinner was a highlight for many. Parents expressed gratitude over the following days for the excitement that youth expressed afterwards:
“I thought the dinner with the speakers for the teenagers was an EXCELLENT idea and the night movie good too.”
“Although they (the teenagers) were reluctant to attend without knowing other teenagers, they have enjoyed and learnt … Thank you for the fundamental and foundational Biblical messages.”
At the end of the camp, the teens were also given an opportunity for feedback on a scale of 1 = terrible to 10 = excellent, on a range of attributes. The youth consistently rated their experiences (overall camp experience, youth activities, lectures, food and the like) between 8 and 10! Many secondary school teachers would love such feedback.
The SuperCamp continued to reinforce the Genesis-Gospel connecting message proclaiming that Lord Jesus Christ is Creator and Saviour of the world. It provided an excellent opportunity for people to digest current research and learning, and to join ad hoc discussion with each other, CMI Staff and the speakers. Many participants also appreciated the wide range of resources provided and the advice of speakers and CMI staff on those resources pertinent to matters of their hearts and needs.
A highlight of this SuperCamp was the broad and growing range of creation scientists who continue to work towards a deeper understanding of how science relates to Genesis history. Many participants recognised the importance of the new young speakers who took to the stage this year. As one participant emailed after the event:
“And the young guys who are fruit of CMI’s ministry and encouragement—they truly are champions and weapons in the Lord’s hands already, and they are just warming up down the end of the runway waiting for the control tower clearance to take off!”
What the participants thought
The feedback sheets completed on the final day provided an abundance of positive comments:
“What an incredibly valuable time!”
“Speakers were motivated, engaging, biblical and experts in their field.”
“Excellent choice/variety of topics. Good to see young speakers … and speakers from a variety of cultures.”
“Wonderful. What I needed more than anything was the company of like minded saints. That was abundantly provided.”
“Thank you for the WONDERFUL 5 days.”
“Overall the camp was AMAZING! I’m so thankful I was able to come. I was really blessed and I’ll definitely come to the next one.”
“Our first experience at a Christian camp was so positive and enlightening, exceeding any expectations … Thank you to all concerned for a blessed time.”
The feedback sheets are abundantly clear on this point—Australian national camps of this nature are highly effective. Indeed we received requests to reach out more frequently, and we do appreciate the thoughts on how this can be achieved.
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