Camp Aweegaway has just about everything a kid would want from a summer camp: cabins to bunk in, competitive outdoor games, even an end-of-camp talent show!
But Camp Aweegaway isn’t just a summer camp, it’s a Christian summer camp. And camp director David’s philosophy is that kids are just “a week away” from having their lives changed forever.
And that’s exactly what foster kid Will needs.
In the past six years since his parents died, Will’s been through seven schools and 22 homes. And after his latest rebellious antic (stealing a police car), he’s on his way to juvie.
That is, unless he’d be willing to check out Camp Aweegaway with foster mom Kristin and her son, George.
Although Will initially only agrees to attend camp to avoid landing in a juvenile detention facility, he finds that he actually likes it there. And more importantly, he discovers a family, with Kristin taking him home to live with her and George at the end of the week.
Will becomes friends with Avery, the camp director’s daughter who lost her mom when she was very young. Avery states that she hates being called “perfect” because it’s exhausting trying to be what everyone else expects her to be. Like Will, she’s still struggling to figure out who she is and where she belongs. And together, they realize that they don’t have to pretend to be someone they’re not because the people who matter—their friends and family—will love them no matter what.
George is a very confident person. When someone light-heartedly says he’s a “weird dude,” he genuinely thanks them. He also calls Will out when Will tries too hard to be considered “cool,” reminding him that the best way to actually be cool is to be himself.
When two teens avoid talking to each other because they doubt they’re “good enough” for the other person, their friends encourage them, reminding them that God made them just how they should be. And they later each try to “sacrifice” themselves during camp games to help the other win.
Will develops a rivalry with Sean, the camp’s golden boy, who happens to have a crush on the same girl as Will. And while the boys try to one-up each other throughout the film, they eventually realize that they’re both flawed people and become friends knowing that neither one of them is better than the other.
A Week Away is a musical, and we hear a lot about faith through song lyrics originally written by Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and others. These themes talk about finding joy and freedom through God’s grace, taking leaps of faith and discovering our worth in Christ.
When Will arrives at camp, he isn’t a believer. Truth be told, he’s angry with God because God took his parents away from him and he doesn’t think it’s fair. “What kind of god is that?” he asks.
However, after witnessing the faith of George, Avery, Kristin and the other campers, he starts to realize that trusting God isn’t about getting what you want, but about believing that God is working toward something good and amazing even when you can’t see it. Though Will tragically lost his parents, he discovers a group of people who love him and care about him. He learns what it means to be a part of something bigger than himself. And he finally experiences God’s love through the love of the people around him.
When things don’t go his way, a boy gets angry since he prays and serves God. He later realizes his actions were serving his own ego, not God’s glory.
Avery explains to Will how she handles her mom’s death by remembering it isn’t permanent and that she’ll see her mom again in heaven someday. A girl wears a cross necklace. We hear a joke about the devil.
A teenage couple kisses and holds hands. A girl kisses a boy on his cheek, and they joke about marrying each other someday. Teens dance together, often with boys twirling and dipping the girls. Some teen girls’ outfits are a bit revealing.
Will is pushed up against a wall by a police officer and handcuffed. Kids participate in dodgeball and paintball, receiving light injuries (one girl takes a dodgeball to the eye).
None, though we do hear a few uses of “sucks,” “jeez” and “gosh.”
Will lies to other campers about where he is from and his relation to George. When George confronts him about these lies (and how uncomfortable it makes George feel), Will convinces him that nobody will like him (Will) if they know the truth and promises to help George with girl problems if he’ll help Will pull off the lie.
Sean brags about his trip to the Arctic to save narwhals, selling t-shirts and collecting his own little band of followers who he nicknames his “apostles.” And when his jealousy gets the better of him, he also breaks into the camp director’s office to find dirt on Will, using it as blackmail later on.
We learn that in addition to stealing a cop car, Will also got into trouble for vandalism, disorderly conduct, curfew violations and trying to sell his high school online.
At camp, the kids are split into teams for competitions, which results in a lot of trash talk. And while most participants are just joking around, some of the insults are a bit mean-spirited. We hear that someone got sick from eating bad chili. Two boys have a belching contest.
A Week Away gave me some strong Camp Rock for Christians vibes. That being said, I loved it. As someone who grew up listening to a lot of the music sung in the film, I couldn’t help dancing and singing along.
But besides the catchy tunes, we also get a great story demonstrating what happens when Christians do life together.
Will is decidedly not church camp material. But for that reason precisely, he’s actually the perfect candidate for church camp.
This is a kid who’s bounced around the foster care system ever since his parents died. He’s just trying to find a family who loves him and figure out where he belongs. And crazily enough, he finds both 17.6 miles away from civilization in a camp full of “Jesus Freaks.”
Despite his past, Avery, George and Kristin treat Will with love and kindness because they know that God loves him. And none of the rest matters.
And it’s not like their lives have been perfect either. Avery lost her own mom years ago but maintains her faith in God because she knows life without Christ is no life at all. George has been bullied for his unique personality, but the acceptance he receives at Camp Aweegaway gives him the confidence he needs to push through, knowing that there are people who love him for being “weird.”
Teens who attend Camp Aweegaway might be a week away from having their lives changed, but viewers who watch A Week Away are only an hour and a half away from the same.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.