After School Camp

Recently, our Director of Camp Ministry, Dawn Rozofsky, had a parent's appreciation party to thank all of our camp families for partnering with us to help raise their children. It was a great night for the adults, as the staff met new people, mothers shared stories, and fathers tried to sneak a second cupcake. It was also a family game night. The gym was teeming with children throwing balls, rolling hoops, and running races.

I was glad to have this opportunity to meet parents and develop a relationship with them. I also wanted to know how the camp program was working from their perspective. Without exception, these parents were delighted to have us be part of their daily routine. For some, it was their only option to balance their work and home lives. Many of them have jobs that make it difficult for them to pick up their kids from school, much less tend to them the rest of the day. They can continue their work, confident that a friendly, competent team of caregivers pick their children up from school and bring them to a safe, nurturing, and educational environment. They know their children are given a combination of study time and physical activity and understand their children will not be subject to bullying or be exposed to unhealthy things on the internet. When they get home, they know their children's homework will be complete, and they can now enjoy the luxury of spending quality time with them.

Each day, our after-school workers share a ten minute Bible study or devotional with the children. For some, this reinforces what they are being taught at home. For others, it is the first exposure to the Good News that they've never heard. They learn life lessons that will serve them in adulthood and develop qualities like courtesy, sharing, and positivity. Between school and home, our after school camp is truly a bright spot in their day.

We can be proud of how our after school camp reaches into the community to make a difference in these families' lives. We are building relationships based on trust that I think will make both the church and the families more robust in the long run. You, too, can be a part of the magic as well with very little commitment. Spend just an hour a week reading to a child, helping with homework, or being the second adult on a bus run. You can help with snack time or watch over them as they play on our playground. Sometimes when a child has a bad day, they need some personal attention. It isn't hard, and it's so rewarding.

Such is life in the community of faith. God uses us in big and small ways. To God, be the glory!
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Brian Dale

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