FBC summer camp completes third year
First Baptist Church of Cassville held its last day of summer day camp on June 14. The two-week program hosted children from kindergarten through fifth grade.
This is the third year that First Baptist has offered the summer program. This year, the day camp lasted two weeks instead of four like the previous two years.
According to Jeanna Jones, children's minister, the day camp started in 2011 when the Cassville R-4 School District was considering eliminating summer school due to cut backs. Realizing that many working parents in the community depend on summer school as childcare, the church decided to offer a day camp for children. Ultimately, the school was able to hold summer school, but Jones said that God had placed the summer camp on the church's heart, so First Baptist went ahead and held a day camp.
"This year, I believe our volunteer staff ran somewhere around 130," Jones said. "They are not all here all day and part of them are teenagers."
Retired Cassville teacher Diane Linebarger has volunteered as a small groups leader since the summer day camp began.
"I have first graders, and I just direct them in activities," Linebarger said. "Mainly, we talk about Bible stories, and we have been studying about Moses."
Linebarger said she is amazed how eager the children are to learn and how interested they are in knowing specific details, such as did Pharaoh die when the sea came over the Egyptians?
"We have had to do a little digging for that," Linebarger said.
This year, the church had 76 children participate in the camp.
Jones explained that mornings at the camp are set up like vacation bible school with children spending no longer than 20 to 25 minutes in a classroom at a time. In the afternoon, children learn what Jones calls life skills.
"We have kids that are learning how to sew that can actually thread a machine and sew their own project," Jones said.
Children also have the opportunity to learn how to cook, shoot a bow and play games with other children.
"I think it is really important to talk to kids about Jesus and about how he loves them no matter what," Linebarger said. "I think that is the most important thing for children to learn, so that they will have God with them the rest of their lives."
Jones said the ultimate goal is to impact the community of Cassville with the love of Jesus Christ. Her hope is that by mentoring to the children, the church can also reach families that may have a need the church can meet as well. Jones explained that First Baptist Church does not want to be in a bubble but rather be a part of the community.
"There is nothing sweeter than hearing a child pray and give their life to Jesus, nothing sweeter," Jones said.