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These 5-Day Summer Camps Will Do More Harm Than Good

CEF’s 5-Day Clubs Are a Mix of Sports, Art, and Eternal Damnation

Coming to a town near you, Child Evangelism Fellowship’s 5-Day Clubs are attracting parents with a “free” weeklong camp that will intermingle “dynamic Bible lessons, creative learning activities, inspiring missionary stories, meaningful songs, and life-changing Scripture memorization.”

Image by Benjamin Sz-J. from Pixabay

While we’re all aware there’s no such thing as a free lunch, we should also challenge the existence of a free summer camp. Not only will CEF be asking for donations each day during these clubs (likely pretty forcefully if past behavior is any indication), but the “teachers” there will also very possibly be setting your kids up for years of therapy later in life, should they believe what they’re being taught there.

Child Evangelism Fellowship is well known for telling children as young as 4 years old that if they don’t dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ, they’ll spend eternity in a dark place away from their parents and loved ones. Through their popular Good News Clubs, CEF also teaches kids that everything in the Bible is literally true, because “God never lies,” and that until you accept Jesus, you’re inherently a sinner worthy of hell. In essence, you’re born with a disease called “sin” and Jesus is the only cure.

So best of luck to you and your positive self-esteem.

One quick look at this CEF chapter’s website promoting the 5-Day Clubs can set parents at ease. The clubs sound great to your average, run-of-the-mill Christian — Bible stories combined with other activities your kids might be interested in: soccer, tennis, playing detective, and arts & crafts. Most Christians would think this is harmless fun. But what’s missing from CEF’s website is the actual curriculum. Which Bible stories? What is actually being taught? How are these topics presented? You won’t find any of that here, because CEF keeps that information close to the vest. That’s not because they’re afraid you’re going to steal their intellectual property; it’s because they don’t want you to know they’re damning your kids to hell (especially the not-so-religious ones). While they say on their site that parents are invited to attend, they know very well that parent attendance will be very limited. After all, most parents are sending their kids because it’s “free” child care. Parents are using camps like this as a break to drop their kids off for a couple hours so they can run errands, get some work done, enjoy some silence, etc.

This video promoting the clubs doesn’t even mention the Bible stuff, and they use an acronym for the group hosting the clubs — CYIA. How’s that for transparency? CYIA stands for Christian Youth In Action. These are CEF-trained high school and college students running the 5-Day Clubs. Essentially, kids indoctrinating kids.

So if you’re looking for a summer camp to send your kids to, please be diligent about where you’re sending them. Upfront fees may be higher to send them to a secular camp to play sports, learn about nature, or do arts & crafts, but the cost to their mental and emotional health may be much higher when choosing a “free” camp that will tear down your child’s self-esteem in order to sell them a cure they never needed in the first place.

Your children aren’t inherent sinners. They’re just little kids enjoying their childhood. Don’t ruin that with anxiety about eternal punishment for just being who they are. Free soccer isn’t worth that.




Stories from people who have questioned their beliefs, left their faith, navigated doubt, and changed their minds about religion. Some are atheists, some agnostic, and some embrace a different kind of belief. All of them are recovering from religion.

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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis

Writes at ExCommunications & SecularVoices, formerly of Patheos. Author of Understanding an Atheist. Co-founder of Young Skeptics. @KevTweetsThings

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