The fourth-annual three-day Man Camp, a time of fellowship and growing closer to God for men and boys, is on the calendar for Aug. 31 through Sept. 1 at the lower club grounds of the GKL Wildlife Association in the Mingo Junction area.
It begins at 5 p.m. Aug. 31 and continues through the afternoon of Sept. 2 with a special concert on Sept. 1 featuring the men's gospel group Trumpets of Joy, according to Jim Westfall, camp organizer.
The cost for the weekend, including tent space and all meals, is $20 for men and for boys 11 and older and $10 for boys age 10 and younger.
"I started Man Camp over four years ago with a vision to see men and their sons get together for a weekend of camping, recreation, fun and devotions. The camp is meant to be a laid-back enjoyable weekend where we spend time playing in the creek, sitting around the campfire, eating and enjoying good Christian fellowship," Westfall said.
"We watch movies on Friday and Saturday nights outside under the stars on our jumbo screen while sitting in our lawn chairs. We have morning devotions that give us the opportunity to be alone with God. Each man is given a set of scripture to read and a list of questions for them to answer and reflect on - essentially giving them some down time, unlike our normal daily lives which require us to run from activity to activity with barely enough time to think let alone dig into the Word of God," Westfall added.
Westfall, who resides in the New Alexandria area with his wife and two sons, is a former member of kalledout, a Christian hip-hop singing group. He is an electrical occupations instructor at Western Area Career and Technology Center in Canonsburg, Pa., and a member of Kolmont Community Church in Mingo Junction where he serves as deacon, youth adviser and is studying to become an ordained minister.
"The goals of the camp are to see men spend quality time with their sons. It's also a great time for grandfathers to spend with their grandsons. We also want to help men see the man that God wants them to be and help them understand that they have to find a balance between work and family, and must allow time to study the Bible. Society so often determines success by the amount of money you have in the bank and how high you can climb the corporate ladder. It is our goal to teach men that God has a higher calling for them," Westfall said.
Having a sense of accomplishment, "a sense of doing something meaningful," is something Westfall said he believes most men want to experience.
"In addition to being a former member of kalledout, I am also one of the former owners of Faith Out Loud Christian Apparel and Music Store formerly located in the Fort Steuben Mall. We were forced to close in March of 2008 when the economy went sour. For so long I blamed the economy for our store's failure, but finally realized,after many long hours of prayer and study, that my poor decisions were more responsible for the closing," he said.
"It wasn't until I got real with God and myself when I realized that I made mistakes and that I can't do everything on my own. Unfortunately, it took losing my business, my home and almost my family before I realized that I wasn't a victim of the bad economy, but a victim of my own poor choices," Westfall continued.
"I had to choose to fall or allow God to stand me up, dust me off and help me become the man He wanted me to be. I had to ask for His forgiveness and that of my family before I could begin to heal my broken spirit. It has been a long hard road since that last day of March 2008, but through prayer and support of those around me, I am finally back where I need to be. It is because of my past failures that it is so important to me to help other men realize their full potential in this world and in their relationship with Jesus Christ," he said.
Westfall said his vision for Man Camp is that it grows to become an Ohio Valley event attracting hundreds of men and boys to come together to grow closer to each other and God.