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Day 1

With the first week of church camps starting, the staff started their morning meeting with bright smiles at the promise of running water and air conditioning. It ended moments after the first kids started to trickle in, every leader beginning to make sure they would be ready to do their jobs as quickly as possible. Chanting started loudly, Good Morning and JC Be ‘Bout It being shouted back and forth throughout the Event Center. When the last of the cars and buses brought their kids in, it was time to start praise and worship, with songs such as “Happy Day” and “Good Father.” IMG_8272

When Thomas finished up the service, it was time for Julia and Michael, our camp coordinators, to announce the rules and the game of the day. Since they are looking for a third coordinator, they ask the youngest republics to come do the Bobble Head Challenge. After the contestants shake their heads as hard as they can, the girls win with 45 shakes.

Pastor Craig was next, preaching about how Jesus wants us to work together as a team when it comes to sharing the word of God, and that we are “Better when Together.” With the church service letting out, it was time for the devotion with their republics, and then off to Specialties.

IMG_8587Activities like Extreme Sports, Drama, Songwriting, and Football all got the kids playing and laughing, new relationships being started through fun times. They spent an hour together before it was time for Lunch— made up of waffles, fruit, eggs, and sausage. After they got their fill of food, it was time for the team building exercises, and then off to the second specialties with afternoon additions like Photography, Dance, and Making of the Band. When it was time to come back, the kids all seperated into free time/rest, allowing some kids to play football and use the water slide, while others took a short nap in the hallways.

The staff finished out the day by showing the kids some of the longer chants like Banana, leaving everyone sweaty and smiling as the kids left one by one.

— M. Kelly

Day 2

IMG_8605With a few last minute updates the staff needed to hear, the day started bright and early with Specialty Leaders heading for a last-minute check on their supplies while Republic Leaders greeted their kids and helped them get breakfast if they needed it. Before they knew it, Thomas came up with the rest of the worship band to start out the campers’ day with showing God out love and appreciation with songs such as “What a Beautiful Name” and “Happy Day” to get the kids dancing and singing.  After he was done leading worship, Julia and Michael came in with yet another exciting game— this one called Football Fashion Show.

The two contestants were challenged to put on a football uniform– the helmet, pants, and shirt– over their clothes and shoes before doing ten jumping jacks. With both the boys and the girls cheering the respective teams on. Like the Nashville Predators in game four of the Stanley Cup Final, the boys managed to sneak in and tie it up at 1-1.

Pastor Craig preached once more, mentioning the story of James and John’s mother asking for them to get a seat on Jesus’ left and right side. He explained that, instead of wanting to be first or the very best, we should want to be humble and do as Jesus asks of us. With a prayer to close it out, the kids all hurried off to their morning devotion with their republic before Specialties.

Today, there was an extra, well, special activity for the younger kids in pony rides, which they were very excited for. However, with IMG_8665things like STOMP and Football for the older kids, they didn’t feel too left out. They played for an hour before coming back to eat hamburgers and watermelon with mac & cheese, before completing their team building exercise for the day.

After that was once again the PM specialties, and then free time– this time about 15 minutes longer to help give the kids using the slide more time to change and get ready. After their fun time was up, we had fun with some “Tanuk Tankuk” and then dismissed the kids one by one for the day.

— M. Kelly

Day 3

IMG_8879Today started with the doors to the Event Center closed, the staff having a private devotion and prayer session before the day officially started. The moment they had been dismissed by Cali to go do their last minute rounds, specialties’ leaders and republic leaders went to their respective rooms while the Counselors and Counselors-in-Training hurried to greet the kids with wide smiles and exciting chants such as Diverse City and Good Morning. The kids all filed in the EC after being signed in, greeted with (nut-free) cereal and granola bars for breakfast, the chanting continuing on through the now open double doors.

As the registration staff checked over their lists one last time, Thomas came up and led the kids into Shabooya as a greeter before singing “Happy Day” and “Fruits of the Spirit.” After they finished their songs, Julia and Michael came up to ask two kids to play yet another game— this one called Cheerio Beard. The kids were asked to smear Vaseline on their Republic Leader’s face, using Cheerios to make the best beard possible in a minute. After the minute had passed, and many cheerios were thrown onto the faces of the leaders, the boys came out victorious by leading it up to 1-2. Once the game was done, we all sang “Legacy” together before Pastor Craig came up to deliver the message.

Today’s message was on how we must show love to each other as a way to show our love for God and His Son. He explained that all of us are sinners (“All means all and that’s all all means”) and that we need to pray for salvation so that we can begin to let Him shine through us.

After Pastor Craig was finished, the kids were dismissed to their devotions, where they learned another bible story that they should be able to tell by memory to anyone they can minister to in the future. Afterwards, it was time for their first specialties, Film Production quickly getting to work on their short film while Extreme Sports skated by. With their energy from breakfast expended, it was time for lunch— also known as lasagna, garlic bread, green beans, and salad. We switched things up this week, though, and took group pictures of all of the republics instead of team building exercises.

After the change of schedule, we went back to our normal activities, heading to our afternoon specialties before coming back for free time and rest. This time, a girl’s republic decided to come take a nap, leaving fourteen girls excited for their afternoon all camp meeting before it was time to head home once more.

Day 4

IMG_9178With rain pouring down an hour before kids come– and no end to it in sight– the staff meeting consisted of a hurried change to the plans for the day. Outdoor Specialty leaders were asked to come up with a rain plan in case of severe weather (including an indoor gaga ball pit made out of tables and archery with rubber bands and q-tips) while the rest planned how to get the Iron Man Challenge moved around for an inside race.

After the kids filed in, worship began, with a few serious songs mixed in with fun ones like “Fruit of the Spirit” to get the kids excited for the day. Julia and Michael came next, with another fun game, this time playing hut-hut hike— where the teams of two had to hike a toilet paper roll through a hula hoop— and the boys managed to win once more. Even though it’s obvious that they win for this week, there is still one more chance for the girls to make it a close game.

Pastor craig came out next, delivering the word to the kids with the saying: “When you are weak, lean on we,” and explained that someone with a broken leg cannot lean on themselves, they need someone else to give up their time to help. Just like with a broken leg, we need to lean on the Godly people around us when life becomes difficult.

IMG_9299After Pastor Craig was finished, we released for Specialties as usual. With archery set up inside, football happily playing in the rain, and gaga ball set up in the Event Center, the kids were able to play without noticing what they were missing. Next was lunch, made up of nachos and Gatorade, and then it was time for the Iron Man Challenge.

Much like the actual Iron Man race, the kids played a timed relay where they went through a series of games, starting with creating the “baton” (A card with a footprint made out of an imprint of the fist and fingers) and ending with everyone signing it and handing it in to Julia. The kids were scored on time, hypeness, encouragement, and teamwork. As everyone headed out to their second Specialty– the rain having ended– Julia and Michael scored it.

In the end, the winners were Republic Six and Republic Ten, who all got golden medals for winning, before it was time to head home.