By Gordon Govier

Get Away to Get Grounded

InterVarsity’s four camps and training centers are just a few of the locations where representatives from many of InterVarsity’s 864 chapters at colleges and universities across the country are meeting this month for Chapter Camp. Each of InterVarsity’s 14 regions has its own Chapter Camp location. Sometimes regions pair up to do Chapter Camp together.

“Chapter Camp is perhaps one of the most strategic times for us to do basic training and planning for our students for the upcoming year,” said Chuck Hohnbaum, a veteran of almost two decades of Chapter Camps before he became InterVarsity’s interim director of Strategic Ministries. “For our student leaders, this is the first chance for some of them to get away and spend some concentrated time together, working on their responsibilities, creating a team dynamic, looking ahead to the coming school year, and trying to understand how they can advance the mission of InterVarsity at their school.”

A majority of Chapter Camp attendees are students who have been chosen to lead an InterVarsity chapter on their campus for the coming school year. “Some places have a culture where if you are one of the leaders of the chapter, what some call an exec team member, you are required to go. If you accept the role, you are also saying ‘yes I will be at camp,’” Chuck said.

The number of representatives from a chapter varies from just a couple to several dozen. In addition to incoming chapter leaders, some participants come just because they want the discipleship training, manuscript Bible studies, and other training that’s offered. And often there is a small percentage of attendees who haven’t yet decided to become a Christian.

“They are attending because they have intersected with us in a meaningful way on campus,” Chuck said. “They have been invited to camp and they have come. It’s not surprising to see students come to faith during their time at Chapter Camp.”

The individual classes that are offered and the way the camp is structured, varies from region to region and from year to year, depending on what the planning staff sees as the best way to engage current students with the Gospel in the campus setting. Over the years planners have worked to create experiential learning components so that more than just lectures are offered.

Chapter Camp is often a crucial transition for InterVarsity students. “It’s a place where those who have been on the receiving end finally step up to be on the serving end and start exercising their leadership gifts,” Chuck said. “It’s not unusual to hear alumni reflect back and say it was at a camp experience of some type where their faith matured in a significant way. It’s a sign post in the journey of their life; they can look back and see it.”