It’s kind of tradition in many churches in the summer to host a Vacation Bible School. Often the routine runs from 9 am to 12 noon. So to change things up, a few years ago, I started offering an after VBS Service Day Camp, 12 noon to 3 pm.
Camp is structured different than VBS:
- VBS is a ministry of the church run by volunteers. Day Camp has a paid staff; they receive a small stipend. College students oversee the programming and high school students are the camp counselors.
- Between the participant fee and a grant from the women’s group, the camp pays for itself – stipends, supplies and transportation.
- Kids brown bag their lunch, and camp provides afternoon snacks.
- It also helps families who work and need extended care for kids who have completed kindergartner through 6th grade. The camp runs Monday thru Thursday.
- The goal is to engage students with service projects that are not only age-appropriate but to connect students to God’s creation and community.
Here is what we did:
Day 1 – Kindness Rocks at a Local Park. Each kid designed rocks with words of encouragement, and then we hid them in a local park. The goal is that someone will find a kindness rock and be encouraged!
Day 2 – Nursing Home Projects. We did two projects for the nursing home.
First, kids decorated table tents, and then we placed the table tents on the dining room tables for the residents.
The second project was painting with the memory care patients. Kids were paired with an older person, and together, they used water colors to paint a picture. At church, we will frame their artwork to be part of the Fall 2019 art show.
Day 3 – Feed My Starving Children. Kids love going to pack meals at Feed My Starving Children. It’s a great field trip for this age group (1st – 6th grade).
Day 4 – Mystery Day. What’s a little service without a little fun? Mystery day was a walk into town to get some ice cream!