Getting away from the noise of everyday life and into God’s creation can bring light to a person’s life.
Each year, God brings 1,500 to 2,000 people to Camp Tuk-A-Way, a Grace Brethren camp in Blacksburg, surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.
Outside groups rent the camp from March to November, and the camp has two weeks of its own programming, which welcome about 100 kids each week.
The camp was established in 1964 with a donation of the land from Mr. Bolling, who attended the Patterson Memorial Grace Brethren Church in Roanoke, Va. Today, the camp is Grace-Brethren-owned but operated independently of a district of churches.
For the last ten years, Roy Glass III has served as the camp manager and director. “I am the only paid employee, so all of our staff are volunteers. Each week, we have around 30 volunteers to keep things running.”
The campgrounds feature many unique attractions that campers can enjoy. There are the typical campfires, dining hall, and pond, but the camp also features many different sporting options. There is a rifle range, an archery course, and a paintball field. Additionally, there is an Olympic-size swimming pool, as well as a pond with a Blob, an inflated toy that sits on top of the water that provides hours of entertainment.
The camp also includes a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, tetherball, a ball field, swings, and a gaga ball pit. (Gaga ball combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees.)
Two separate cabin areas (used for separated boy and girl cabins during summer camp) along with a staff cabin and rooms in the dining hall will sleep up to 190 campers.
This year, the theme of the camp is “Glow in the Dark.”
“We live in a dark world,” says Glass. “The effects of and the acceptance of sin by society around us is causing this world to grow even darker. We need to understand that the only cure for darkness is light. John 5:14 calls Christians to be the ‘light of the world.’ We are to ‘Glow in the Dark,’ so that those in darkness can see the light of God in our lives and be drawn to the light of Jesus.”
Glass has seen God at work at the camp in many ways over the years.
“My mom and dad met at Camp Grace, which was one of a few Grace Brethren camps back then. Most of the Grace Brethren camps in the east grew out of that camp. I enjoy seeing God bring life mates together. We have had a couple of weddings as a result of God’s work at camp,” Glass says. (His parents are Arlene and the late Roy Glass Jr., a long-time Grace Brethren pastor.)
Most of all, Glass appreciates God’s use of the camp to bring children and teens to Christ.
“Every year we see children and teens make first time and rededication decisions for Christ,” Glass shares. “Most of our volunteer leaders come out of our camps over the years. They want to come back and help introduce the next generation to what we do.”
[Connect:] Click here to send a note of encouragement to Roy as the camp season begins.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Charis Fellowship (Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches), click here.