East Hills has changed the format and location of our 2008 summer children's outreach. Rather than a traditional vacation Bible school held at the church itself, we are hosting the All-Star Camp at Barnes Elementary School, 9:00 to noon on June 23 through 27. This is a free event, open to kids entering first through fifth grades whether they attend EHA or not.
VBS was split into five sites, with each child cycling through one site per day and seeing a different staff member at each one. Instead, All-Star Camp is broken into three tracks: soccer under Pastor Caleb Cox, cheer under Becca Reid, and arts under Rene Rennells. Pastor Ann Hight is the overall camp director. Each kid chooses a track at the beginning of the camp and spends each day under the supervision of that track's leadership team, hopefully allowing the kids and adults to build trust and relationships.
"Each of the tracks has really competent, talented staff that seem like a great fit," Ann said. "It has been amazing to watch the people who are going to be involved step into the right spots. We are looking at every activity from two directions: first, the kids from the North Kelso community who we don't know yet, and second, our Kidville citizens. We want this to be a positive and fun summer experience for both like previous VBSs have been. I believe we can do both well with the level of staff that we have seen step forward."
Even so, the departure from past summer ministry, both in what we do and where we do it, is a big undertaking. This is our first time running such a program away from East Hills. Barnes has a great deal to offer: not only do they have more and better indoor and outdoor facilities, they will serve lunch, and kids from the neighborhood can walk there much more easily. We expect about 125 kids, double what we have had in the past.
Each day will have its own theme, such as never quitting. During a break in activities, the speakers will relate the theme of the day to Biblical values, leading up to a salvation message on Thursday with an opportunity for the kids to respond. Friday will feature an exhibition soccer match with cheer and drama performances and hotdogs for the kids and their families. For those not interested in athletics, the arts track will include drama, cooking, and interesting and unusual crafts leading up to their own presentation on the last day.
"We are definitely out at the edge of our experience," Ann said. "All-Star Camp has been one of the most gratifying and encouraging programs that I've ever been part of. I am absolutely delighted to be a part of this."
About 30 people are already involved, but both large and small positions remain available. If you are interested in participating, contact Ann. One way everyone can help is to pray that the leaders will be able to form meaningful relationships with the kids. For church kids who want to attend, pre-registration is highly encouraged. The forms will be available in Kidville next week and through Barnes itself.