Nik Asmussen, Youth Ministry Director with the Great Falls Rescue Mission, says, "Camp Life Light is bigger than it has ever been. We average 70 kids a day compared to last year with 50 kids per day". Ninety kids are signed up and despite expanding the camp, there is still a long waiting list. Asmussen credits three things for the growing need for services like Camp Life Light. He says part of it is the economy, another part is the camp's good reputation, and thirdly he says it's because kids love the camp.
They were able to expand the camp thanks to Cutbank Community church donating a second school bus. The kids are picked up at 8:30a.m. and dropped off at 4p.m. for 6.5 weeks. It's the second year Travian Gomez has been coming to camp. He says, "my parents are at work, so if I wasn't here I'd be at home". Baylie Fuhrman is in the same situation. She says,"I'd be sitting at home watching TV".
Asmussen says while the kids are at camp they're getting 2 meals a day, exercising, practicing social skills, and learning. After chapel they break up into small groups based on age. Travian says, "small group is where we discuss what we do in chapel".
The camp has strong religious over tones, but kids are learning much more than a Bible lesson. Baylie says she's made a couple of new friends this year and she's learning about the value of friendship, loyalty, and trust.
There are no requirements for this camp; everyone is welcome. With the high demand enrollment is done on a first come first serve basis. You just fill out an application and pay a small fee. Asmussen says, "we don't want financial needs to be a burden at all. We want kids to be at camp, so we'll write scholarships for 100% of the camp".
It's all made possible thanks to many community partners. Cutbank Community Church donated a bus. Foothills Christian School donated the building. Other organizations and individual people donate many other things from food, sunscreen, bug spray, towels, and bathing suits for the camp to use. Asmussen says he is very grateful for these donations and they are in high demand every summer.
Baylie enjoys camp so much that she plans on returning when she's old enough as a counselor. She says. "you get to help the kids and see their expressions".