Tuesday, June 30, 2015

theCAMP and CAMPjr

Our church, Trinity Presbyterian has been hosting theCAMP since 2008. It is a high-quality Sports, Art and Bible camp for children from our church and from the Young Terrace Neighborhood in Norfolk. The YT neighborhood is extremely poor, with many single-parent families who live significantly below the poverty line.  Since theCAMP began, we have partnered with PB Young Elementary to continue to build relationships with families in the neighborhood through things like Homework Club, Gardening programs, GED access and a great Fall Festival. CAMPjr originally began as a Vacation Bible School geared mostly towards younger kids of our volunteers and it has blossomed into much more. We recently began brining 4-5 year olds over from YT to Trinity to participate in CAMPjr. Last year we had 32 campers join us and therefore we needed to make a big, exciting change this year. For the first time, we combined theCAMP and CAMPjr at PB Young Elementary which meant we had approximately 400 campers and over 150 volunteers in one location. It was beautiful. Loud and chaotic, but beautiful.

I was blessed to have a chance to lead CAMPjr again, this year with Liz. Erin also served as our faithful assistant and huge supporter! Last year, I did most of the planning on my own. Learning from my mistakes, however, I realized that it can't be me, but it had to be God running the show. So, I bathed CAMPjr in prayer, especially as we were short of volunteers 2 weeks prior to the start of CAMP.  God provided in a BIG way. We partnered with other local churches, the United Way and the US Navy! WOW. We had more volunteers than we knew what to do with. All campers were safe, loved and cared for and had an awesome week. Our volunteers had endless amounts of energy. So many of them were outside their comfort zone, leading 10 kids around for a whole day. But they gave hugs, laughed, cleaned scrapes, did monkey bars and acted silly! They loved with a BIG love that is only possible because God first loved us.
Erin, so thankful for her!! 
The kids had an amazing week learning about how powerful God is. We played games, did arts, ate good food, sang songs and danced! Jackson really loved CAMPjr this year and was smitten with his two CITs (counselors in training) who we are eagerly looking forward to making our new mommy's helpers around the house! Jonathan coached soccer for two days at CAMP, which was interesting considering the 102 degree heat on Tuesday. He really enjoyed his time with the younger campers, teaching drills, taking frequent water breaks and being an encourager. 
the Byrnes love CAMP and matching shirts! 

Rachel's first year at CAMPjr

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