By Jennifer Lamey
Ontario Bible Camp (OBC) is located in Oswego, NY on the shores of Lake Ontario. OBC which serves as a conference and retreat location, shifts gears in July to focus on discipling young people at summer camp. Camp Director Cynthia Proietti describes Ontario Bible Summer Camp as “one week of the year where they (the campers) can be in the Lord without distractions.”
Proietti explains that OBC works carefully to create an atmosphere where campers feel safe, connected, cared for, and free to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus. OBC’s leadership team does this by personally seeking the Lord throughout the year, deliberately organizing the summer camp schedule, and putting together a team of Christ-loving counselors that will pour into the lives of the campers. Just before camp starts, the counselors go through a week of in-depth training where they learn not only the camp activities and safety for campers, but also how to weave the year’s Bible theme into daily camp life. “Staff are trained so they can incorporate and refer back to the theme” Proietti explained. This is important because when the campers have questions about what they’re learning, counselors are the first point of contact. Having had extensive training on the Bible topic they are able to point the campers back to the truth of the Word. The position of role model is not held lightly at OBC. Counselors know that campers are looking up to them and that their words and actions will have a lasting impact. With a strong training program prior to camp starting counselors are able to better connect with campers and encourage their walk with Jesus.
Ontario Bible Camp’s main goal is to save hearts for Christ. Following Jesus’ lead they focus on developing strong relationships. It’s not just one week of the summer packed with non-stop activity that’s quickly forgotten. OBC has a fun-filled week of camp, but what sets it apart is that instead of adventures with strangers, campers get to have adventures with new best friends. “Many of our campers and counselors stay in touch throughout the year. … We really love our campers. We love to serve them and their families. We know who each camper is, what makes them unique and what their personal needs are. The campers love the friendships. They know that they can trust the staff. They are treated with respect and love” Proietti said. It’s this long term focus that makes OBC unique. The atmosphere lets campers know the moment they arrive that they are a part of the family, welcomed with open arms. The unofficial tagline Proietti often hears campers say is, “Go to OBC for the summer and it stays in your heart for a lifetime”. Campers that are spread out over the region from many walks of life reunite with friends at camp and haven’t missed a beat.
Not only do the campers reunite, but the staff does too. Proietti is excited for this summer and to welcome back OBC’s core group of committed leaders. Returning from Florida Al Squitieri, who became a pastor after retiring from his career as a police officer, will teach the Bible classes with compassion and love. And all the way from Kansas, Gary and Astrid Bailey will be the summer camp directors. “They are passionate about the Word and infusing it in teens. They’re FUN” Proietti said. OBC’s previous director Dave Proietti now serving as the principal at Oswego Community Christian School will be returning for evening programing. Al and Gary will be traveling to OBC for the month from Florida and Kansas, respectively. In addition to the leadership team, many counselors will be returning to pour into the hearts of campers. “Even young adults that have graduated from college want to come back to Ontario Bible Camp to serve as counselors. They have caught the vision. God is sending the right people to be here. It excites me and gives me confidence. This is God’s ministry.” Proietti said. Ontario Bible Camp’s main goal is to save hearts for Christ. “We do a baptism service after the closing ceremony each week, if there are any campers who desire to be baptized. They get their parents’ permission, and this way the parents can be there because it’s just before they leave camp” Proietti said.
This July Ontario Bible Camp will continue their long legacy of building lasting friendships. The theme for 2018 is the Parable of the Sower. With a camp for each age group, tons of fun activities, and a great atmosphere to grow in the Lord, this is an adventure your kids won’t want to miss!
To learn more about the July 2018 summer camp schedule or to learn about their accommodations for church groups, conferences, and retreats please visit www.OntarioBibleCamp.com.