L’Arcada Sports Camp: Reaching the Youth in Spain

All campers and staff.

In Catalonia, a region in Northeastern Spain, the hopelessness is palpable. With a virtually non-existent spiritual climate and very few churches, many people live with deep, unanswered questions. L’Arcada, a camp and conference center located in the valley of Sant Miguel, provides a safe place for locals to ask questions. Anyone who steps foot on the 750-acre property for summer camps and other events hears a message of hope – that Jesus holds the answers to life’s hardest questions.  

After two years of cancelled camps and events because of the pandemic, young people and families were eager to return to L’Arcada in 2022. The staff and summer volunteers were equally enthusiastic to welcome them!

Campers gather for morning devotions.

Each summer, L’Arcada offers several different themed camp weeks. And a favorite among Spanish teenagers are the weeks of camp organized and led by GEM workers and Sports Camp Directors, Dave and Cindy Bintz. High school Spanish athletes are excited to play sports with and be coached by the volunteer American athletes and coaches the Bintzes have recruited to help. Their mission is to show campers how deeply they are loved and invite them to have a relationship with Christ – a new concept for most campers. 

The appeal of being trained by American coaches and playing basketball, volleyball, football, cheerleading or mountain biking alongside American teenagers is what motivates most campers to attend Sports Camp, but L’Arcada offers them so much more. Coaches – on the field, on the court, or in the dining halls – not only teach campers athletic skills but also train them in the Word and share the hope of Jesus. 

Each morning after breakfast, campers gather with their counselors for a devotional time where they study the Bible, ask questions and hear about the love of Jesus. While they do this at every camp, this year the response was greater than anyone imagined! Instead of counting down the minutes before they could get back out on the field, fifteen campers asked their counselors if they would be willing to get up early and study the Bible with them before breakfast. They were running out of time to ask their questions in the devotional time and were longing for more answers from the Bible.  

A young camper holding a Bible.

The campers were so hungry for spiritual things, some campers even skipped their free time so they could hear more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. That week, more than sixty campers asked for Bibles. In the camp’s 30+ year history, staff have never seen a response like this! 

In this dark and spiritually desolate place, people are desperate for light and hope. As a result of coronavirus, most Spanish young people have experienced the death of someone very close to them, leaving many questions and a search for answers. The Bintzes know that answers can only be found in Jesus, so they’ll continue to offer Sports Camps that draw youth to L’Arcada, sharing with them the life-changing message of Jesus.  

Some of the counselors – made up of American and Spanish volunteers.

Please pray for the ministry at L’Arcada: 

  • More full-time staff is needed. Please pray for more workers! 
  • For Dave and Cindy as they spend time in the US this fall, recruiting coaches and players for next summer’s Sports Camps. 
  • For those following up with the campers from this summer – that the young people would continue to experience the love of Jesus while living in such a spiritually dark place. 

About the author:

Michelle Johnson serves with Greater Europe Mission in Athens, Greece.