History and Partners
For many years, a team of representatives at the National Council of Churches gave oversight to the creation of a summer camp curriculum. They eventually started using the name, “New Earth Publishing” and rotated publishing houses among various denominational partners. It was all volunteer run and supported the work of camps for many years. Like most volunteer projects, it was a great gift that everyone new had potential to be even better. This project was the “seed” for InsideOut.
In 2013 something new burst forth. Chalice Press offered the project a permanent home and a writing process that included paid editors and writers with a passion for faith formation and outdoor ministry. This process paired with the committed denominational representatives and camp professionals produced a curriculum with more activities and a broader scope of resources than could be previously imagined. This was the beginning of InsideOut Camp Curriculum, which launched its ministry through the appropriately named curriculum, “All Things New.”
Partners from the Presbyterian Church USA, Church of the Brethren, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) worked together to support InsideOut and eventually were joined by representatives of the Episcopal Church. Partners from the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and Baptist communities have also been part of the ongoing conversation and partnership that shapes InsideOut.
In 2018, the Editorial Board of InsideOut began looking at research results from the “Effective Camp” study directed by Jacob Sorenson. We continue to work with partners, ecumenically and in the professional camping world, to produce a curriculum that will shape the faith of campers and staff for years to come, allowing God to change us from the Inside-Out.
Attention to Inclusivity
The diversity of God’s creation extends to our campers and families. We know that outdoors is not the natural habitat for all our campers, and we are sensitive to those unfamiliar with the setting. Coming from different backgrounds, all campers should find a safe and warm welcome at camp. We are intentional about creating activities and experiences that are affirming of all God’s people. Diverse images of God, appropriate language for ethnic identities, and words that do not devalue the humanity of a person for physical or emotional differences are important. This is equally important to issues of gender identity and expression. Allowing space for campers to share their own identity rather than label them is crucial to supporting their personal growth and spiritual journey. However a camper arrives at camp, and however they understand themselves, we want them to know they are a beloved child of God.