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All About Day & Overnight Camps at Maranatha Camp & Conference Center

Welcome to the “Away from Here” weekend series, where All Things Madison features exciting businesses, events, and opportunities outside of Madison. This weekend we’re traveling over to Lake Guntersville and sharing about a summer camp option within close proximity to Madison. Your child may just have the best summer of their lives after you read this article. Enjoy!

When Gerrit Burke and I began discussing a summer camp of sorts called Maranatha, I knew next to nothing about the camp besides that it was located on Lake Guntersville. By the end of our conversation though, I was going down a rabbit hole on their website figuring out if we could sign up our own kids for the summer experience of their dreams. Burke’s passion for Maranatha is absolutely contagious, and I’m thrilled to share a closer look at the opportunity of a lifetime just 45 short minutes from Madison.

Maranatha Camp and Conference Center | Maranatha, an independent non-profit organization, is most popularly known for its summer camp opportunities for students, which the camp has been offering for four decades. 

Burke, a Madison resident and long-time board member at Maranatha Camp and Conference Center, says that Maranatha is fixed on a 95-acre property along a mile of beautiful waterfront. Maranatha is a place where individuals and groups are invited to attend summer day camps, summer overnight camps, or host conferences and retreats. They offer camp options for rising kindergarteners and up, while their conference/retreat options are available to youth and/or adult groups of all kinds and for all purposes.

Maranatha, an independent non-profit organization, is most popularly known for its summer camp opportunities for students, which the camp has been offering for four decades. 

Maranatha Camp and Conference Center | Maranatha, an independent non-profit organization, is most popularly known for its summer camp opportunities for students, which the camp has been offering for four decades. 

Parents can register their children for one week at a time and choose from either a day-camp option or a Sunday-Saturday overnight camp option. 

Maranatha runs summer camps from June 5th through July 23rd, so campers are invited to attend as many weeks throughout the summer as they’d like. 

Maranatha Day Camps

Day camps are available for rising kindergarteners through rising 5th graders. 

Because Maranatha hosts many youths each summer from Madison and Huntsville, they actually offer daily transportation for the day campers from both of these communities. The bus alternates which weeks it transports students from Madison and Huntsville; Pick-ups and drop-offs for Madison students will take place at Cabela’s (near Bridgestreet just east of Madison) this summer and be offered the weeks of June 13th, June 27th, and July 16th.

Campers will participate in activities such as the high-ropes course, lake and pool swimming, the zip line, climbing wall, and more. 

Maranatha Camp and Conference Center | Maranatha, an independent non-profit organization, is most popularly known for its summer camp opportunities for students, which the camp has been offering for four decades. 

“For us, the point of camp is to get kids outside and show them a really good time.”

“We wear them out at camp and then bring them back home,” jokes Burke as he discusses what a fantastic option the bus offers both students and parents alike. 

Maranatha Overnight Camps

The traditional “sleep-away” camp is for rising 3rd through 8th graders. Campers are dropped off by their families on Sunday and will be ready for pick-up on Saturday morning.

“They’re going to come home begging you for another week,” jokes Burke.

Maranatha Camp and Conference Center | Maranatha, an independent non-profit organization, is most popularly known for its summer camp opportunities for students, which the camp has been offering for four decades. 

{Author note: I chuckled when he said this during our conversation because I keenly remember going to my first “classic” overnight summer camp and feeling devastated when it was over. All I wanted to do was stay for another week!}

Burke says that some kids do stay for several weeks in a row and have a blast. 

“There’s enough going on where kids will never be bored,” says Burke. “You’re never going to find a kid complaining about going down the zipline again.”

Maranatha Overnight Adventure Camps

Burke says that Maranatha is thrilled to offer their adventure camps for middle and high school students, where they’ll have the opportunity to go camping, white water rafting, caving, and even participate in a leadership program as future counselors.

More about Maranatha Camp & Conference Center

For Burke personally, Maranatha is a place he can’t imagine his life without. He shared that he was first introduced to the camp when a friend suggested he join his as a summer counselor.

“I was a senior in high school and frying chicken for a fast-food restaurant,” he says. “I didn’t know anyone else at the camp, but as soon as I heard about the idea, I was in!”

He says that he unknowingly met his wife the first day on the job, who was serving as a counselor as well. 

Burke says that he spent two summers having the time of his life learning about and working at Maranatha, but took some time away from the camp for several years once the “realities of college life and growing up hit us.”

He says that after living and working for a short time in Texas, he and his wife eventually moved back to Madison and began looking for ways to get involved with Maranatha again. He was a part of a grassroots movement of raising $100k for the camp, which is around the time that it became its own independent non-profit. 

He says that his work with this campaign showed him how many people care deeply about the future of Maranatha. 

“There is something really special about it,” he says. “It’s the history, the beauty of the grounds, it’s the memories. Most people say that there is just something special about this place that’s hard to put your finger on.”

Burke’s own daughter, a current second-grader, started attending the day camp at Maranatha as a rising kindergartener, and he says that their family is one of many that has multi-generations with summer memories at “camp”.

Maranatha Camp and Conference Center | Maranatha, an independent non-profit organization, is most popularly known for its summer camp opportunities for students, which the camp has been offering for four decades. 

“A lot of people will sum us up by saying that we’re a quintessential camp for kids where they make friends while having a life-changing experience, and I think people really identify with what we mean by that.”

Burke says that the base of everything Maranatha does is rooted in a Christian foundation and that they strive to ensure that every kid who comes to camp leaves knowing that God loves them. Burke says that one way they incorporate Christian values into the daily camp experience is by sharing age-appropriate Bible stories.

When asked what motivates Burke to continue serving Maranatha the way he does, he pauses and then shares that he just simply can’t imagine not being involved in something that poured into him so much.

“I feel very lucky to have found of my life’s passions, which is serving Maranatha.”

Year-Round Conference and Retreat Options

As aforementioned, Maranatha is a fantastic option for conference and group retreats. Lodging options include 16 hotel-style rooms as well as camp-style cabins. Burke says that Maranatha can comfortably accommodate up to 170 people for a week or weekend. 

“It’s just far enough away to feel like you’re getting away,” remarks Burke as he discusses the many groups from the North Alabama area who routinely choose Maranatha as their “group getaway” destination.

He says that Maranatha is a popular option for church youth groups, corporate weekend family retreats, school class retreats, and more.

“When groups book out our whole camp, they’ll have access to our ropes course, lounge areas, and much more.”

Open House on April 23rd, 2022

Maranatha Camp and Conference Center is hosting a free open house on Saturday, April 23rd. Burke says this is a perfect opportunity to check out the grounds for yourself, ask questions, discuss pricing (including sibling discounts), and get all of your questions answered to ensure your maximum comfort and excitement about sending your kid(s) to Maranatha for any amount of time this summer. Save the date and make plans to attend!

Quick Links for Maranatha Camp & Conference

Website | Facebook | Instagram 

 

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