Behind the Tribes | Kanakuk Kamps
Behind the Tribes

Earlier this week, kampers took part in one of Kanakuk’s longest standing traditions.. Tribal placement.

Every year, since the very beginning, new kampers have arrived on Kanakuk Hill and been carefully placed into a tribe. Whether they’ve come to kamp with a best friend or on their own, not one kamper ends this day without a family. The Komos are adopted into either the Kickapoo or Kiowa Tribe and for the Kuks, Choctaw or Cherokee.

This tradition is stamped on the history of Kanakuk and it is about much more than it appears. Tribals run deep within Kamp’s foundations and highlight many of the values we pray kampers take away at the end of the summer.

The world has painted a rather negative picture of what it means to compete; implanting an “if you’re not first, you’re last” mentality, encouraging us to cheat or lie as long as it produces a victory, or causing our rival to become our greatest enemy. But within our gates we have an opportunity every day to change these viewpoints by focusing on Jesus and competing in a way that would bring Him glory!

Terms begin with an announcement of the winning tribe from the previous summer and end with the crowning of the victorious tribe. Kabins are filled with members from each tribe so every day as they travel from activity to activity kampers are able to earn K-Work points for their tribe. At the end of the term, all the competition points from events like March Madness, wrestling tournaments, swim meets, track meets, Stunt, etc, are added up, along with K-Work from every individual and a Tribe is chosen as champion. These daily competitions have a way of teaching kids how to set goals and achieve them with diligence.

Kampers spend most of the daily activities with their kabin, so every time we have a competition, tribes get to come together and work as a team. Working as one for a common purpose, even if it is to win a sport, always builds unity. We want every kamper to know how vital he is in bringing a victory for his tribe. Just like the body of Christ, each tribe is filled with kampers who have different gifts or skills, but everyone is necessary for the Tribe to be the very best it can be! 

Leadership is another quality Tribal competitions bring out in our kampers. Each year at K-2, tribes vote on a senior to give up their summer and come set a Christ-like example for younger kampers at K-1 as a Chief or Princess. This role gives them a perfect opportunity to grow in servant leadership. As these high school students are growing in leadership, one of K-1’s own kampers is chosen to become a Brave or Mini princess. Braves and Minis are mentored throughout the term and have the special honor of also leading their peers.

As the years progress, our prayer is that tribals will give each kamper a chance to become more like Jesus; that they will grow in leadership, unity with each other, and they will be inspired to put even their rivals before themselves.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” –Colossians 3:17