When Mark Moore, 27, talks about his favorite things, Camp
Caraway for Boys ranks at the top.
“My favorite thing about camp is to hear the laughter of the
campers through the woods,” he said. An infectious sound like that will
instantly wipe away the winter doldrums.
Since the age of 7, Moore
has been coming to the camp near Asheboro.
It started at father-son camp and progressed to camper and
camp staff. Camp is in his blood. His father served on the staff as did a
brother and a cousin.
“Caraway has always been a vital part of my Christian
growth,” Moore said.
He lives at the camp year-round dividing time between the
camp and North Carolina Baptist Men where he’s children’s mission consultant
and Royal Ambassador director.
“We’re trying to reach all boys where they are,” said Moore,
who was just completing a mini-camp for 7-9-year-old boys, a first for the
camp. “We had great numbers for the first year.”
The camp maxes out at 180 people but this summer most of the
weeklong camps are averaging 100 boys or so, he said. While he believes the
economy is a factor, Moore doesn’t
cast the blame of lower numbers solely on the tighter budgets.
He’s trying to learn how to better market the camp. With
4,200 Baptist churches across North Carolina,
Moore said the key is getting the
word out to those churches.
“I think there is still something very special about
ministering to a boy in a single-gender setting,” he said of Camp
Caraway’s programs for boys aged
7-17. “We have a great potential for growth if parents will continue to buy
into our ministry.”
happy campers and parents will share their experience with others. In a recent
debriefing session with parents, Moore
shared that about 30 boys ages 7-9 gave $80 towards the North Carolina Baptist
Men’s medical/dental bus ministry.
This year’s theme Tools of the Trade highlights spiritual
gifts of Romans 12:6-8.
“Everything we do at camp is intentional to point people to
Jesus Christ,” he said. “Having fun is an avenue to minister to the boys.”
The counselors are trained to point every activity to a
Camp pastors and missionaries take different angles on that
theme as they teach the boys.
As director, Moore said it’s hard to be at all the functions
during camp but he tries to be at as many as he can — around dealing with
paperwork and fielding emails from parents and other general office
work. And planning for 2012 has already begun.
Building relationships with those boys pays off later, Moore
said. At least half of the boys in the older groups are repeat campers.
At the end of a recent mini-camp of 7-9 year olds, Moore
debriefed parents before allowing them to pick up their campers. He asked them
to partner with Camp Caraway
in prayer and to invite their son’s friends to hear about camp.
Moore said a
face-to-face meeting is worth more than a mailed DVD
The camp sometimes borrows the nurse across the road at Camp
Mundo Vista but also has a local doctor and nurse available for questions. Moore’s
medical training as a paramedic also plays a part.
Moore loves the
father-son option at Camp Caraway.
He likes the freedom in the schedule for fathers or male mentors to have time
with their boys. The youth and children camps are more structured.
“Caraway has been a place where I can always be myself,” he
said. It helped prepare him for “serving God in everyday life.”
salvation decision did not happen at camp, he credits the staff with
“creatively discipling me as a boy.”
“Camp helped motivate me to stand on my own feet spiritually
and live out my faith in Jesus Christ every day,” Moore
He also said being on staff helped prepare him for the
responsibility of parenthood. He and his wife Ashley have two children.
Center and Camp is in the midst of
a three-phase $7.5-million capital campaign called “New Beginnings.” Part of
the improvements will help with an indoor multi-purpose recreation facility
geared at visitors to Camp Caraway
as well as the conference center. “Whether former staff or campers, if they say
they support Caraway they need to back it up financially,” said Moore.
Gifts of stocks, bonds, real estate or other items of value
can also be contributed through the N.C. Baptist Foundation (NCBF) designated
for “Caraway — New Beginnings.” Contact Caraway at (336) 629-2374 or P.O. Box
36, Asheboro, NC 27204. Contact NCBF at (800) 521-7334 or 205
Convention Drive, Cary, NC
See more photos here.