358 kids and adults joined together this week for Kid’s Camp 2011 at Camp Berachah! The theme was “Extreme” and every part of the week lived up to the name! Extreme activities, extreme worship, extreme fun, extreme exhaustion! The mornings were early, the pace was fast and the nights were late. Overall, every moment was used to the fullest.
The great thing about our network kid’s camp is how intentional they are with the flow of the day. We have 3 environments where kids get the same message repeated to them and allow them to soak it in using different opportunities. The first environment is morning chapel. This chapel is high energy and extremely engaging. It introduces the message for the day and give the first opportunity for response. The second environment is cabin devotions. This time allows the cabin to discuss the topic of morning chapel and dig through the message. The third environment is response chapel. This falls right after cabin devotions and right before bed. As a close to the day, the kids are invited into a quieter chapel environment for one more chance to act on what has been spoken over them all day. This might look like visiting a prayer station or singing along to a passionate worship song or praying with a leader. All day the kids have had the opportunity to let the Holy Spirit speak to them about the message and the last thing they do before bed is a have a chance to respond to what the Lord might be working in their heart.
The other great thing about kid’s camp is the flow of the messages through the week. The first day message is usually about getting sin out of our lives and salvation. It’s all about getting right with the Lord. This is great for first time campers and those not familiar with Christ. It’s also a good reminder and a fresh start for those of us who have been in church and camp environments before. The next day focuses letting go of things that hold us back. We talked about how God made us very good and has created us with all we need for life. As things happen to us, we have added different things into our lives that God didn’t intend for us to have. The second day message dealt with the baggage we carry through life and need to let go. Day three focuses on the Holy Spirit and His power to give us boldness to share about Jesus and what He has done in our lives. We also shared how the Holy Spirit give us passion and peace. This is one of my favorite days because we ask kids to pray for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment! I know a lot of kids get excited to know that God wants to help them talk to their friends. With the Holy Spirit’s help they can do more then they ever imagined. Day four focuses on service and how we can serve anywhere, at anytime. Not everyone is called to be a full time pastor or a missionary, but they are called to serve in someway. Kids were invited to seek the Lord about where He might want them to serve. The last day is always a celebration of what God has done and a commitment to follow through once we leave camp.
Power Play is a great opportunity for the kids to engage in fun challenges and hear stories from missionaries. Power Play is formatted by having the kids go to different locations around the campground based on clues. At each station they hear powerful and extreme stories about missionaries. This section of the schedule is so amazing because kids can see how exciting missions can be. Our other missions theme at camp revolves around our offering project. This year our goal was to raise $1500 toward building a roof for a christian school in Tanzania. I’m happy to report that we did reach our goal and as a result the camp leadership team got soaked by the kids in the giant water fight.
As you can tell there are a lot of spiritual moments to look forward to at summer camp. Mixed in with these extreme moments with God are extreme activities and kids just being kids! Many of our students conquered their fears and went all the way to the top of the big swing. They raced each other at go-karts and pigged out on candy at snack shack. Jeremy’s favorite time with the kids is during the swimming hour. Every day the kids ran off their energy playing wacky outdoor field games. Also there was a campfire with silly songs and S’mores the first night. Fun is mixed in with everything at summer camp!
Summer camp is an awesome experience for students to get out of their normal routine. It gives them dedicated time to focus on God and deepen relationships with others. It was certainly an extreme time and one that hopefully won’t be forgotten quickly! I praise the Lord for the moments I had to pray with students and hear their hearts. Join me in prayer that what God started at camp will come to completion in the lives of our students!