By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
The sign-in table at Camp Vision looks very much like the gateway to any other Central Texas day camp.
A juice box sits precariously on the corner of the table next to the camp counselor sign-in binder. Papers and schedules are piled on another side of the makeshift desk and posters for upcoming events have been plastered to the walls.
But beyond the front desk at Camp Vision is a scene that doesn't play out at every other Central Texas day camp.
In the sanctuary at Greater Vision Community Church in Killeen, a group of about 15 teenagers share their worries, fears and frustrations. They ask for forgiveness from others they feel they have wronged. They pray for their family members and their friends.
Chelsea Hodges, one of the camp's leaders, calls Camp Vision "a spiritual growth tool" for children of members and nonmembers of Greater Vision Community Church.
The five-week day camp is a camp only in the sense that its participants create their own community. The closely-knit group is built around a love for God and efforts to share Jesus' message with the world.
Classes about the Christian faith combined with typical day-camp activities makes it a safe place for children aged 10 through 14 to ask questions and make friends.
Hodges said the camp was born out of a desire "to do something different" than the typical sleepaway camp that some churches do. Though campers go home each night, during the day they occasionally experience field trips and chances to leave the church for the day.
The Rev. M.E. Howell, assistant pastor at Greater Vision Community Church, said one of the most important activities for campers is developing the bonds amongst themselves.
"It's very important that the kids are coming together and being able to grow as far as integrity, life skills," he said.
When campers aren't learning about their faith and ways to share it, however, they teach their own leaders.
At 17 years old, Hodges said she has never had the chance to teach a class of students. The opportunity that camp provides her as a leader is one that she said she cherishes.
She said that while most people her age, and the age of her campers, sit around during the summer and become despondent, she sees people grow and change spiritually.
"I really like the classes," she said. "(It's great) for us to be able to teach instead of just sitting back."
Those interested in becoming campers at Camp Vision can contact the Greater Vision Community Church at (254) 200-4382. Tuition can be paid by the week at $35 per week.
Contact Hailey Persinger at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcity.