Camp at the nZone

August 7, 2013

I’mLunchCamp writing today surrounded by boilers, palates of bottled waters, and donated furniture. No my office has not been relegated to the nZone garage. However, it’s the only place in the entire building where I can find the silence I need in order to concentrate and write this blog post. Also, I just found out it’s the only place in the building where my computer doesn’t get wifi, so I guess it’s time to focus.

As I type, hundreds of frenzied kids run around the nZone participating in summer camps, each camp offering its own unique program. One camp using the nZone facility this summer is Camp KidZone. It’s organized and executed by the Family Ministry of New Life Christian Church. Camp Kidzone attracts approximately 60 kids from the nearby Meadows Community and beyond. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday these children participate in fun games, creative crafts, dynamic Bible teaching, and organized fitness.

CraftThe kids attending Camp KidZone range in age from 5 to 14, so the camp staff faces a significant challenge: How to offer a program that engages the interest of every camper. Not only does the age range present a challenge, the fact that the same kids show up every week requires the staff to be creative and make each week unique. That’s exactly what they’ve done. To date the kids have: Raced throughout the world during the Amazing Race week; Studied the science of surfing during the Surfs Up week; and competed in feats of endurance, strength, and coordination during Survivor week. Other themes include: Butterflies; Medieval Knights; and Lights, Camera, Action to name a few. While the themes are creative and provide a framework for the program, that’s not what attracts the camper or even keeps them coming.

One young boy came to Camp KidZone for the first time yesterday. A smile emerged across his face from ear to ear when I welcomed him and told him I was glad to see him. Then he explained to me that he had recently moved to the area after his parents got into a fight. He told me as soon has his friend told him about the camp he wanted to come because it sounded like a safe, fun place. Yes, Camp KidZone operates around a program, but it’s focused on building relationships with kids like my new friend. It’s a safe place for kids to experience God’s love, discover more about Him, and be mentored by His people.

Camp KidZone is but one of many camp programs using the nZone this summer. However, while most camps seek to provide families with a safe place to send their kids while off from school, Camp KidZone seeks to build relationships with the youth from nearby neighborhoods, and relationships that will last long after the summer ends.

Fredrick Douglas once said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to mend broken men.” By investing their time, wisdom, and love into the kids at Camp Kidzone the camp staff is investing into the next generation to develop holistically healthy boys and girls in our community. Please feel free to join us in this endeavor. If you’re interested in volunteering or want to know more about how you can help, email Heather Smith (Heathers@newlife4me.com).  We’d love to see you sometime!

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