Every year, Calvary Lutheran of North Richland Hills carries out a summer mission trip with their youth and young adults, led by Janelle Miller, children’s and youth pastor of Calvary. Lucky us, this year they chose to come serve the Nelson Center and bring a building team plus a crew to do “Day Camp” (like Vacation Bible School). They brought around 40 people and came with BIG hearts, open and ready to help!
The building team worked in the heat all week and accomplished three BIG projects for us:
· Building up the exterior fence of the Nelson Center property.
· Tearing down the old pool bench area and the “shaded area” that didn’t really provide any shade.
· Building a brand new, beautiful gazebo and bench area by the pool – complete with all-day shade and storage for life jackets and pool toys.
The Day Camp crew worked with our kids from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and created a series of activities that resembled the best VBS you could hope for. The kids rotated through five activities that kept them engaged, learning about God and how to work with and respect each other. The activities included:
· Arts and crafts– picking out fabric to making and personalize our own teddy bears from scratch – reminding us that we, too, are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
· Bible time– making birdfeeders to illustrate how God cares for creation, making collages of Bible verses, tie-dyeing t-shirts, making prayer boxes, and having water games – all with a Bible story as the focus.
· Recreation– playing bean sack dodge, pilo polo (a favorite!), kickball, and just getting lots of energy out while working together.
· Cooking time– learning the important life-skill of cooking, making our own snacks like chocolate chip muffins, red velvet cookies, soft pretzels, rice krispy treats, and more. YUM!
· Scrapbooking time – every child began a memory book with pages dedicated to their strengths, likes, interests, hopes, and dreams.
Some other great parts of the week:
Every day the kids sang and danced and worshipped along with staff and volunteers during a closing ceremony; kids even held hands during “Jesus loves me. ”
The Day Camp crew also took on two HUGE other projects – giving the chapel an extreme make-over by bringing in new paint, art, furniture, and offering a blessing over it at the end of the week; and the other project was helping to organize my office and all the donations!
The kids were VERY excited about each new day of activities; even kids that typically refuse activities jumped right into the fun. Everyone including staff all received beautiful shirts for Nelson Center pride.
The volunteers are pumped and ready to come back! One volunteer put it best; she said, “I left on the last day feeling unsatisfied – not that we had a bad experience or didn’t do enough while we were there; but there is so much more to do! We are ready to go back.”
Calvary Lutheran, we’re really looking forward to having you back. Thanks for a great week!