As June 20, the first day of our summer season steadily sneaks up on us, parents scramble to find openings at summer camps. For my son, not just any camp would do. For him to pack his bags and save a few extra dollars, the camp experience has to be a unique one. Summer vacation with a bunch of strangers would have to be worth his while. What finally caught his attention was his Dad’s email about a rock and roll music camp in Orange County.
Camp Jam sounded like a good deal. Even Michael Jackson’s guitarist, Jennifer Batten, would make an appearance this year. But there was still something missing. Weeks passed and my son had not given us the okay to sign him up. Perhaps a family vacation to Washington State would have to suffice. Both my kids looked forward to that.
Then a friend sent me an email about Camp Electric in Nashville. This sounded like a better fit for my son. Location had everything to do with it, as Nashville seems to be the heart of music. I’m not quite sure when rock and roll moved over there, but it has. Plus, Trevecca Nazarene University will be hosting this camp, which makes for a more secure environment.
The following statement, from Camp Electric’s website, explains the difference between this camp and any other music camp?
CampElectric’s belief is that actual music (no lyrics) is amoral. That is, neither moral nor immoral. However, song lyrics have the ability to speak life or death. The main difference of our camp is that we encourage all of our students whether they are pursuing secular or Christian music to pursue their walk with Christ first. We actually encourage all types of music-Christian and secular. With that said, we also teach kids that the lyrics we meditate on and the artists we admire do matter. There will be no explicit lyrics at CampElectric or admiration for artists that use them. “You wouldn’t put garbage in your mouth, so don’t put it in your mind.” All instructors at CampElectric have personally given their testimony of Jesus Christ and seek to use their music to glorify Him.
I thought it would be fun that this summer camp for teens was on campus and that students would be staying in dorms. A little college atmosphere might prepare them to think about a college career.
There will be twenty seven instructors (for bass, guitar, keys, drums and vocals) at Camp Electric-all experienced, talented musicians with a heart to teach kids how to use their God-given talents. Steven Curtis Chapman’s bass player, Adam Nitti, will be there as will Dave Luetkenhoelter from Kutless. Pillar’s bass player, Rich Gilliland, Traa from POD, and many others will have their own workshops. The instructors my son is looking forward to interacting with and taking classes from are Lori Peters from Skillet and Mark Graalman, the drummer for Sanctus Real.
The age for this summer camp ranges from 13 to 18. The schedule will include a concert every night by bands such as Red, Kutless, Barlow Girl, Toby Mac (co-owner), Blue Tree and an ultra-mega mystery guest. Speakers like Tom Jackson will teach kids how to be a natural on stage and how to make their audience feel comfortable and listen to their every word.
Camp Electric will have song writing sessions, live on stage time, and even a battle of the bands event. Students are also given the chance to perform together with any of the instructors.
Dates for Camp Electric are June 28to July 2 for week one and the second camp (added after last year’s success) will run from July 5to July 9. Registration is conveniently done online. They have teamed up with a few airlines to give campers a discount on airfare and ground transportation is available to and from the airport.
Chaperones working at Camp Electric are over 21 years of age, have been personally investigated, must sign a full disclosure application, and include a personal testimony of their faith. Female chaperones will be assigned to girls and male chaperones for the boys. There is one adult for every twelve campers.
As so many of us struggle to keep our kids busy for the three months of summer vacation, it’s good to find a place, for at least one week, that will teach our kids how to use their gifts and talents to make a difference in this world.