By Ellen Graves The Choctaw Plaindealer
Camp of the Rising Son located in French Camp hosts a total of 800 children throughout the summer giving them a camping experience they will never forget. CRS is a Christ-centered residential summer camp for youth ages 7-17 and is a support ministry of French Camp Academy.
CRS has grown exponentially since its founding in 1980. As the camp’s first director, Margie Newman, helped to mold the dream of a camp focused on bringing children closer to God into a reality.
During the camp’s weeklong sessions, children live in cabins with two counselors and have numerous camp activities to keep them busy. Some of the 23 activities that are offered include archery, crafts, swimming, sailing and vaulting. At the end of the week, a passion play is held where CRS staff portrays the ministry of Christ, His death and His resurrection.
Current camp director Carrie Browning began her involvement at CRS as a camper and has served in other various leadership roles for 15 years. “We focus on hands-on interaction with nature and the activities we offer are typically things kids don’t get to do,” says Browning. “We are purposefully technology free as far as the campers’ experience and that helps promote building friendships.”
It is important to CRS to “meet the highest standards for operating a fun, adventure-packed summer camp program.” CRS reinforces this idea by maintaining accreditation with the American Camp Association, which ensures the camp has regular, independent safety audits.
In addition to the summer camp sessions, CRS offers specialized camps for the older youth. One of these camps is the horse camp that is available to youth ages 13-17. Horse camp allows campers to explore over 300 acres on horseback, learn horse handling skills, and how to do gymnastics on horseback.
The latest endeavor CRS has taken on is their Waterfront Improvement Project. This project is to raise donations to improve the waterfront of Lake Anne to make it a more exciting and safer experience for all the campers.
Although a majority of the campers come from Memphis and Jackson, CRS encourages all parents and children to visit their website (www.campoftherisingson.com) and consider making CRS a part of their summer.
“What brings me the most joy is the children and seeing them having fun. Just hearing the squeals and the laughter, it’s neat to have that reward,” said Browning.