Where God Has Blessed


About 17 years ago I signed up for a men’s retreat to attend Camp Barakel over a fall weekend. I was part of a large group of men who met in the church parking lot on a late Friday afternoon and headed north for a camp that I never heard of before going to FBC. This experience was new to me. I never been to a church camp before or attended a Christian men’s retreat. Men that have been there before assured me that I would love the place and would keep coming back. Well, they were right. I did fall in love with the place and I kept returning to the camp and every year I have been blessed to learn more about its history and how God has blessed its workers and visitors over so many years.

Camp Barakel was founded in the early 1950’s with a mission to minister to kids. They use the experience of outdoor camping to share the gospel of Christ. So from June to August every summer, the camp accommodates up to 10,000 kids. For the months outside of the school year, the camp offers weekend retreats for families, couples, men, women, father-son, mother-daughter, and youth groups. Some weekends are in the fall and some in the winter. These retreat weekends are filled with all sorts of activities such as biking, hiking, archery, rifle shooting, hay rides, swimming, fishing, zip lining, cross country skiing, tubing, ice skating, hockey, snow football, broomball and much more. Believe me; you are exhausted when you return from Barakel.

The weekend is not just about the fun activities, it’s also about growing closer to Christ through listening to messages, and worshiping through music, fellowship and prayer. Four chapel sessions are planned throughout the weekend, Friday night, Saturday late morning, Saturday early evening and Sunday morning. The pulpit is filled by a pastor or speaker that shares God’s word in a topical format that is applicable to the weekend’s relationships. These messages will challenge you to be a better parent, spouse, friend, employee and the list can keep going.

I’ve enjoyed 15 annual trips with my sons and now 4 trips with my daughter and a couple trips with my wife. We’ve been able to enjoy one on one time with each other playing, worshiping, talking and just being together. Lord willing, I am looking forward to many future trips and hopefully my kids will continue the tradition with their kids. So as I write this, I am convicted to organize a fall men’s retreat this year to Camp Barakel. Who knows…….maybe a new Barakel tradition will start for some families in our church. I think they will love the place!

– Tom Hollandsworth


Leave a Comment