Kids Kamp Fun
This was the day I had committed to be a crew leader (pastor) to about five out of a hundred children. My age being closer to a hundred years (-30) than most of the leaders there. I prayed for strength, but mostly for the children, the little ones who came to sit on Jesus lap, get hugged by him through us and loved as He (Jesus) said, “Let the little children come to me” scrapes and tears and all. What I found in abundance though, was laughter – lots of it – and curiosity to learn.
I came that day wearing a silly plastic pirates mask with a parrot perched on the top. It was actually designed as huge sunglasses with one eye darker to represent an eye patch. I wanted the mask to not be scary so I even colored in the skull and crossbones on the hat. No one was scared. But, I was the only one wearing a mask. The reason I got a mask was to partially cover my face because of a skin condition. I was supposed to stay out of the sun. None of the other leaders, were wearing masks. I returned to that child from the prairies – the one who didn’t care what others thought of me. Free-spirited, carefree. My focus was on the children anyway.
As the days progressed it came to me, “this is a safe place to fail.” Everyday I saw mistakes and grace, failure and grace, and struggles and grace. What covered it all was the love for the children and the laughter.
The children laughed heartily at the antics of Shreddin’ Shirley, Louie La Palma and especially Captain Imagination who was leaping everywhere with his tall body draped in island survival clothes and a huge hat. He leapt over the chairs, he leapt on the stage and he leapt across the campus. How the children laughed and ran up for him to “fix” them just so they could be lifted in the air and hugged. For a moment it took me back to my childhood on the prairie where I would grab Mr. Turner’s arm on his way home from work and get swung from side to side. How I laughed.
One of the rooms where Louis led the activities, I thought might be a little boring for kids, but it wasn’t. The kids were engaged and asking questions from beginning to end. Louis taught the kids two memory verses by using the first letter from each word as a prompt. They jumped up and down to be the first to recite it. I did too. The children gave many wise answers to a grief counselor about how to comfort someone in grief.
The Imagination Station was led by Captain imagination, who taught the children certain concepts such as, struggle by doing an activity which often required a lot of struggle. Morse Code, making initials on a bracelet string that didn’t want to tie. My group asked for help. We did well. But the craft was not important. They didn’t have to get it perfect, just try, and ask for help when needed.
One of our favorite groups was Storytelling, where the children were involved in the story by acting out parts or answering questions about the Lion King Story. The Bible stories were on the kids level and I was surprised at how interactive the whole story was. I longed to be a kid for a while.
There were so many fun outside activities led by a big “kid” named Paul, and his helpers. The children learned how to team play using the concept of the day, such as, lonely, but we always responded with the phrase, “Jesus rescues me,” as well as just plain have fun getting wet. We encouraged the kids to join in, but they were never forced, just gently encouraged.
Towards the end of the week the children were disappointed that Kids Kamp would end. They looked at me, begging with their eyes and cajoling with their voices. But, as fun as it was for adults and kids alike, I had watched the adults slowing down until I thought they would all collapse in a heap, but with joy in their hearts. These precious little children would have the gospel of the man named Jesus, God’s Son, impressed on their hearts for years to come.