Conway Christian Schools welcomed Kampout Day Kamp, a week-long traveling Christian day camp organized through Kanakuk’s summer camp program, made its way to Faulkner County for the second time ever this week.

This year more than 140 kids between the ages of 5 and 12 participated.

“Last year was fantastic, we had a great experience,” Jason Carson, president of Conway Christian, said.

Carson previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that he was a counselor at Kanakuk when he was in college and loved the experience.

When he started in his position at Conway Christian, he said one of the first things he considered was bringing the traveling camp to the area and reached out to them several years ago.

Carson said last year was one of the largest first-year turnouts that the group has ever had.

“We just want to do it as a service to the community,” Carson said. “We know Kanakuk, we know their reputation, the type of staff they send down here is just really, really one of the best campus that you’re ever going to find so it’s really a no brainer for us and we’ll continue to do it as long as they want to do it.”

Carson’s kids even attended the camp last year and he said they loved it.

“What they were able to learn from a Christian perspective but also just a character perspective was really priceless,” he said. “I think it’s stuff they’ll keep with them their whole life.”

The camp was directed by Ben and Stevie Samson of Missouri this year. The two are spending 10 weeks away from home this summer to do just that.

Kanakuk Camp is a part of both of their pasts.

Ben told the LCD that when he was a camper for six years and then once he got to college, he decided he wanted to be a leader.

“One of the craziest things as a camper is seeing older kids that I just thought were the best,” he said. “Seeing college students care about my life and love Jesus and be really excited about those things were huge for me so when I got to college it was a no brainer that I wanted to be that for someone else and this is what we teach.”

Now in a director role, he said he’s able to facilitate and guide their leaders into doing that for the kids that attend.

He said he and his wife think God wired them for camp and just believe in what it does for kids.

“We just believe in it ... believe there’s something special when you take a kid out of normal everyday context,” Ben said.

He said kids can grow and have fun and build character in a ways they can’t elsewhere.

“We just believe kids need camp,” he said.

During the week, students take part in Bible lessons and more as well as participate in fun activities including water slides, a rock wall, games and other fun activities.

In addition to that, Ben said, not only are the kids impacted but they take the lessons they learn back home and share that with their families; they’ve already heard multiple stories this week that have touched their hearts.

“We get to see mom and dad every day at drop off and pick up and so it’s really kind of a family ministry,” he said.

According to its website, the organization’s mission includes being “dedicated to developing dynamic Christian leaders through life-changing experiences, Godly relationships, and spiritual training,” and Ben said that sums what they do up beautifully.

“Everything we do at the end of the day is for the sake of the gospel and Jesus Christ,” he said. “That’s us.”