Amanda Burke is the co-founder and author of Camp Change Ministries. She is an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) with more than 15 years of experience in the financial industry. She is also pursuing the CFP®(Certified Financial Planner) designation.
AFCPE: You’ve been an AFCPE Member since 2018, but we just recently were introduced to your organization, Camp Change. Tell us more about your passion for this work.
Amanda: At Camp Change, we teach children to be good stewards of resources that God has given them. Our team instills the application of Biblical principles and solutions to children’s everyday lives to develop their faith and financial understanding. With 4 out of 5 families living paycheck to paycheck, our vision is to equip the next generation to understand that all money is God’s money and that we are to be good stewards of what he has provided to us. In doing so, we are developing generous kids, who grow to become financially responsible adults that are able to assist financially with fulfilling the great commission.
AFCPE: What does the Bible have to say about money?
Amanda: The Bible has more than 2,000 verses that mention money. Jesus talked about this topic a lot, yet, it seems to be the least talked about topic within our churches and families today. With this topic comes an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and embarrassment for some.
AFCPE: What inspired you to develop Camp Change?
Amanda: There is a distinct connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. This is what led us to develop Camp Change. We recognized that it takes much more than behavior modification to change someone’s heart and mind regarding the use of money. We also need a spiritual transformation, to address the root of the heart issues.
AFCPE: Tell us more about the curriculum that you offer?
Amanda: We began our curriculum with discussion on the topic of tithing. Many children and adults will tithe, but many don’t really understand why they do it or where the money goes. In our first theme, we “Followed the Ten”, our ten percent tithe. We taught children where the concept of tithing came from, what the Bible says about it, why it is so important, how to plan for tithing, how to give a tithe, and how tithing supports missions on a small scale to a broad scale.
Our curriculum is carefully crafted to tie all together practical financial teachings that give children a basic understanding of money concepts and how they tie into scripture and real-life scenarios. We call this our “heart and head” approach. The heart and the head consisted of discussions on money values and tendering money, negative consequences of using invisible money such as debit/credit cards, planning and budgeting, and a simple lesson in investing and compound interest as well as how we can invest our time.
The “Interactive Experiences” gave kids an insight into missions through electives such as woodworking, culinary arts, media, photography, housekeeping and gardening. The interactive experiences were designed to fulfil a missional need within the community. For example, in the woodworking experience children made birdhouses for elderly shut ins, that were later delivered by members of the church during visits. Children also got to experience speakers who offered insight and wisdom from their experiences within ministry and learn how performing mission work blesses others.
AFCPE: Love the focus on interaction and service! What’s Camp Change’s vision for the future?
Amanda: During camp many of the children were excited to perform ongoing mission work. One of the long-term goals of Camp Change is to develop a mission program to encourage children and families to participate in their own communities and to shed light on mission projects that need assistance.
Additionally, part of our ultimate vision is to make Camp Change accessible to churches – to become part of church ministry and to allow for this to be a tool that the church and community can unify to bring awareness to the topic, as well as advancing missional purposes. For practitioners, this is a tool that can be used in a faith-based setting or even a practical tool to engage families to openly engage and discuss faith and finances together. Because Camp Change addresses behaviors and applies Biblical solutions to those behaviors, this helps children understand what consequences could arise from making poor choices regarding finances. We encourage open and honest dialogue between parents and children about successes and failures with money.
The parent’s involvement with implementing the teaching of Camp Change at home is an important factor to making this program an ongoing successful mission to equip our children. Looking ahead we have plans to continue to keep families engaged throughout the year by developing a YouTube channel and podcast. We also envision partnering with other practitioners and pastors in the field to help counsel families.
Amanda answers the Friday 5:
My Why: I am passionate about creating a better financial environment for families and educating the next generation by using a Biblical based approach.
My Favorite Quote: “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C. S. Lewis
Often, clients feel that they are too far gone in their financial situation and are left feeling like they have failed with their finances and that they cannot be redeemed. Financial success looks different to many families because no situations are alike. Celebrate the successes for each situation. The key to financial success is learning from failures and staying the course, because success will be eminent.
My Hero: Jesus Christ, he came to save us all. (John 3:16)
My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: The Bible. The Bible has over 2,000 verses that mention money. Definitely get a good budgeting resource like, everydollar.com, The Money Challenge by Art Rainer is a great resource that discusses God’s design for you and your money, and of course the Camp Change curriculum for children and families.
My Best Advice:
For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: Be bold, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be transparent about your financial situation so that you can get financially healthy. I compare it to going to the doctor. It might be scary and uncomfortable at first, but it’s so important to share as much information as possible so that you can get the proper financial diagnosis.
For a new professional entering the field: Being a financial counselor is one of the most rewarding experiences. Professionally the AFCPE certification gives you credibility, but beyond that you are giving individuals and families a new hope.
BONUS 5: Amanda breaks down the 5 Benefits of Camp Change:
Money no longer is a taboo subject. Camp Change assist churches and families with gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to speak openly and honestly about finances.
Children and families begin to associate stewardship with missions and families will have a desire to participate.
Children gain confidence in their own personal finances and discover that earning and learning about money is a rewarding experience.
The financial and Biblical principles children learn stick with them because Camp Change approaches them in fun and interactive ways.
Children learn a Biblical approach to the behaviors that will help them be successful with finances and demonstrate an excitement and willingness to make changes.
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