Camp Genesis

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Camp Genesis Backpack Program

Camp Genesis provides an opportunity to help the families of those who are or have been incarcerated. We offer several programs that focus directly on children (ages 8-17) who have experienced firsthand the traumas and stigma associated with the incarceration of an immediate family member. These programs include a week-long summer camp called Camp Genesis, monthly cards of encouragement/support for previous campers, a special prayer group that focuses on individual children who have attended Camp Genesis, and more. Check out these and other programs by scrolling down this page.

Camp Genesis

Held at the Episcopal Church camp of Chapel Rock in Prescott, AZ, Camp Genesis focuses on the special needs of children (ages 8-12 and 13-17) living under the stigma of having an incarcerated immediate family member. This special camp allows them to just be kids among other kids who understood what they are going through. Camps for each age group occur simultaneously during the summer and last a whole week, allowing siblings of different ages to attend at the same time. During camp, the kids participate in a variety of fun, age appropriate activities and have an opportunity to explore their artistic and musical talents as they form bonds of friendship with other campers who share their experience as well as with our caring/understanding staff. Kayaking on a nearby lake, zip-lining, and rock wall climbing are just a few of the highlights as the kids bond and form community. 

Most of the kids that attend this camp live in foster homes or with grandparents/other relatives who are struggling to make ends meet without having both parents and are often the major breadwinner around. That’s why we offer this camp at no cost to the camper. But the only way these kids will get to participate in an experience like Camp Genesis is through the generous support of donors. The cost to send one camper to Camp Genesis in 2022 was $430. We are praying that we can continue offering this camp and even expand it to include additional weeks, but we need your support.

Download our “Support Camp Genesis Flyer” and share it with your congregation, family, and friends.

Donations can be made online by clicking the button below OR sent to Kelly Wood, Director, Chapel Rock, 1131 Country Club Drive, Prescott, AZ 86303. Be sure to make checks payable to Chapel Rock and note that the donation is for “Camp Genesis Scholarships.” 

Registration begins in January and the 2024 camp will be held from June 30thth to July 6th. Applicants must be between the ages of 8 and 17 and have or have had an incarcerated family member (parent, grandparent, sibling). Attendance for ages 8-12 group is limited to 14 campers; ages 13-17 is limited to 10 – so register early to save your spot! CLICK HERE to get the interest letter and form which can be sent to the parent and/or guardian of a child you know who might qualify for camp. For more information and registration forms or to volunteer, please contact Rev. Canon Jana Sundin.

Camp Genesis 2023 Photo Gallery

Camp Genesis Backpack Program

Camp Genesis Backpack Wishlist

Because the children that attend Camp Genesis are often living at or below the poverty level, backpacks containing camp essentials are provided for each camper. Items such as reusable metal water bottles, sunscreen, hats, and lip balm are definitely needed for summers in Arizona, even in the cool hills of Prescott!

A Camp Genesis Backpack Wish List has been created on Amazon. CLICK HERE to see the list OR scan the QR Code on the side. You or your church can order one or several of the items included on this list with just a few clicks. If you don’t have an Amazon account, you can use the list to find the items elsewhere or you can make a donation for the item/s and our team will purchase them.

Please contact Becky at prisonministry@azdiocese.org  for more information about how you and/or your church can be involved in donating items for the backpacks. We hope you will include a notecard welcoming the campers to Camp Genesis. Cards are tucked into the backpacks and have brought joy and amazement to these kids each year.

Camp Genesis Card Program

The Camp Genesis Card Program was created in order to keep the camp experience alive in campers’ memories, encourage them throughout the year, and remind them that they are loved by God. Each month, members from different churches within our diocese gather together to write cards to these campers (at least one card per child). The cards mention the camper by their first name and include simple words of encouragement, assurance that they are in our prayers, or whatever words the Spirit provides. If you or your church are interested in participating in this rewarding ministry, CLICK HERE for more information and contact Maryanne, Coordinator of the Diocesan Camper Card Program, at prisonministry@azdiocese.org to sign up!

Individuals and/or churches who “adopt a month” will receive a reminder prior to your month, an announcement and photo that can be featured in the church newsletter, and further instructions for sending the completed cards. CLICK HERE for a sample flyer to announce the card signing. Please join us as we try to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Camper Prayer Heart Program

CLICK HERE to download the Camper Heart Program Flyer

A church in our diocese has come up with a great idea for praying for the kids from our most recent Camp Genesis experience. The program coordinator creates palm-sized hearts with the name and age of one of the campers written on the heart. Members of the congregation “adopt” a camper heart and sign a pledge to pray for that camper every day during the next 12 months. In June the following year, the hearts are sent to the campers along with a note from their prayer warrior. Each year, the hearts are a different color so campers who have attended multiple camps will end up with a rainbow of hearts!

The main idea is that children know there is someone out there other than a family member who cares about them, prays for them, and values them as worthy human beings who matter in this world. That’s also the reason for including the note and pledge card from the person who prayed for them. The children should know that they were thought about every day for an entire year. Having an someone choose the heart of child can give purpose to that person as well, plus it could help increase their own prayer life. Best of all, it doesn’t cost the person participating in the program anything! They don’t have volunteer time or money that might pose a hardship. But they can pray for a kid.

If your church would like to start a Camper Prayer Heart program, please contact Rena at prisonministry@azdiocese.org.

To read more about the Camper Heart Program, go to our article Prayer Hearts for Kids

Camp Genesis Sunday

The 3rd Sunday in September was adopted by Resolution as Camp Genesis Sunday at the 2019 Diocese of AZ Convention. Churches within the Diocese are encouraged to actively raise awareness about Camp Genesis within their congregation and engage in a special offertory collection on Camp Genesis Sunday to assist in providing scholarships, backpacks, and other needs for the children who attend Camp Genesis at Chapel Rock.

In order to properly track donations received, please make checks payable to the “Episcopal Diocese of AZ – Camp Genesis” and mail the checks to Rev. Kim Crecca, Coordinator of the Diocesan Prison Ministry Program. 

Camp Genesis provides a much-needed outreach to the family members of those affected by incarceration. The 7-day camp is held at Chapel Rock in Prescott, AZ, and hosts children (ages 8-12 and 13-17) who have or have had an incarcerated family member. It provides a safe, fun, and faith-motivated environment for these children, many of whom have never even been to a church or camp before. Your support is needed to continue this important ministry. CLICK HERE to download a flyer for Camp Genesis Sunday at your church!

Online Mentoring Support Program

Camp Genesis partners with Project Avary to offer ongoing support for our campers. This online mentoring/support program continues to build community among children (ages 8-18) who have experienced the incarceration of a family member. The one-hour weekly sessions are free. Each session lasts six weeks and kids can sign up for as many sessions as they want.

Register at https://www.projectavary.org/onlineprogram.  Click HERE to download the flyer for more information.