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Ava Harrison, 10, receives a guiding hand from Scott Caldwell, Safety Director at Kamp Kanankuk at Broadway Baptist Church in Southaven. The five-day summer Christian camp wrapped up its activities on Friday.

Robert Long|DTT

Where else can you scale a rock wall or glide down a zip line and hear a message of the life-saving Gospel?

Kamp Kanakuk's "Kamp Out Day Kamp Adventure" set up its annual summer camp compound on the campus of Broadway Baptist Church in Southaven this past week and along with helping some campers get physically fit and have a great bit of fun, there was a "spiritual workout" as well, according to Peter Casey, Kamp Kanakuk Kamp Director.

"We get to travel all across the United States, including the Southern United States," Casey said. "It's our second trip to Southaven."

Since 1926, Kanakuk, based in the Ozarks of Missouri, has been the Christian summer camp for more than 300,000 youth.

As a world leader among Christian summer camps, Kanakuk provides children with "fun, safe and professional outdoor youth camping experiences" that grow them "spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially."

"It's really a blessing to get to partner with the local churches," said Casey, who hails from Bolivar, Mo. "We're only there for five days but we get to see what the churches are doing day in and day out. The work the churches are doing goes on long after we are gone."

Casey said the summer camp experience is all about "building God's kingdom."

"God's kingdom will return through the local church," Casey said. "It's really incredible the amount that the kids can learn. We bring water slides, rock walls, obstacle courses, zip lines and other fun things for the kids to do and enjoy. But what we do is shine the light on Jesus Christ. We live in a day and age when kids are getting fed lies at every angle. With the internet, especially, it's important to fill their lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe and hope that this will help lead these young people to glory-filled lives in Him. What we try to do is be His hands and feet."

Scott Caldwell is the Safety Director at Kanakuk.

"Every week, we have, on average, between 130 to 200 young people," Caldwell said, adding there were about 60 campers at Kamp Kanakuk in Southaven. The scorching heat may have been a factor.

"The heart of this mission is to partner with churches and get kids involved," Caldwell said. "We provide Gospel-centered messages at every opportunity."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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