GROWING THE NEXT GENERATION

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Sylvia Dickson

All areas of ministry at French Camp Academy – home, school, work, recreation – are vital to the growth of our young people. Our house parents are planting, watering, weeding in their own patches, and working diligently with others in growing the next generation.

French Camp Academy is like a garden with a variety of plants. Young people from many backgrounds gather, bringing various talents, skills, needs, and dreams that are nurtured, encouraged, and yes, pruned. With the help of loving house parents, teachers, and other staff members, they are trained to grow in “wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men,” (Luke 2:52). Then with God’s mercy and blessing, the harvest comes.

The homes are places of belonging for the students. Wholesome activities, birthday celebrations, and sharing chores and meals are all part of family life at French Camp. Training in Christian principles in a family-oriented home setting is the bedrock for our young people. Each home is a place that provides safe, secure, and stable surroundings. Young people find a place where they can grow physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

House parents decorate each home in their own warm and welcoming style. Many house parents have their own children and students share in their family life, with the hope that they will pattern their own lives after these loving relationships, and each will come to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and love his neighbor as himself.

Home life at French Camp Academy extends to the church, school, athletics, music, and other activities. If the students are involved, so are the house parents: being there during failures and successes; comforting, encouraging and guiding; listening to dreams and heartbreaks; praying and sharing Christ.

The plants that come to our garden are withered, broken, overgrown with weeds, starved and thirsty. Most come from broken families, either by divorce, death, abandonment, or incarceration. Many have little exposure to the life that Christ can give. So we set out our plants in the soil of Christ and hope to see roots go deep. We water and feed, carefully weed, prop up and stake, gently prune, and pray diligently for the harvest. When we see the fruit starting to form, we rejoice and are even more vigilant in protecting our plants and fostering growth.

The French Camp Academy community gives our students a safe place to grow strong in Christian values. Then they can take them back to their own homes, churches and schools. Their personal growth here will reach beyond themselves to influence their families, community and country.

Morality and good citizenship make for a better world, but only the gospel of Christ gives life. Our highest calling is to speak, teach and live the Word of God, because only the holy Scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” (II Tim 3:15). Our greatest joy is that these “little ones” come to Christ and believe. So we diligently plant God’s Word. What greater joy can we have except that our “children are walking in the truth.” (III John 4).

Each student is showered with the Word of God. The truth is planted in weekly worship times at the community church, informally at work and in the classroom, and in home vespers and daily devotions. Individual discipleship, prayer and private devotions are encouraged. As the truth of God’s Word is taught, the power of that truth penetrates and changes lives. Then we see the best produce of all: servants of Christ, loving Him, praising Him, living for Him.

Now let us show you some of the fruit of our labor, our young sprouts. You may want to be part of  the work of growing young people into “oaks of righteousness.” We always welcome another pair of hands. So, come and join with us as children and teens blossom through the opportunities that French Camp Academy gives them to grow and thrive.

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About frenchcampacademy

French Camp Academy, a safe, stable, healing place dedicated to providing a Christian boarding school and home experience in central Mississippi for young people needing an alternative place to live and learn. Though their backgrounds are diverse, all of our students need an environment where they can thrive emotionally, spiritually, academically, physically and socially.

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