Last week was a great experience as we hosted Winshape Camps for Communities. Here were our favorite parts:
- Camp comes to you: I’ve always loved watching children enjoy the camp experience. There is something powerful in disconnecting from the world and focusing on Christ for several days in a row. However, going to camp has gotten very expensive. We made the decision several years ago at my former church to do without camp due to the great cost for families and for our budget. All the things that you love about camp are part of Winshape – and you get to sleep in your own bed!
- The staff: Winshape brings a fabulous staff of college aged students who run the camp. They lead worship, small groups, skills (activity tracks), and everything else involved in the camp. The staff was extremely personable and good with the kids! They were extremely high energy and repeatedly pointed kids toward Jesus.
- Villages: Kids are assigned to one of three tribes that gives them an identity for the week. They are also in a smaller team. Each village and team has cheers. Every kid likes to feel like they have a place to belong and this structure helps assure kids feel that from the first day of camp.
- The Content: I was extremely impressed with the content taught during the week. Each day had a focus word, such as surrender, mission, worship, that was defined but also had a memory hanger sentence to go with it. For example, for repentance, kids remembered “Don’t just admit it – quit it!” However, the content was not just cute sayings. The content had much more depth than I’ve seen at most camps. The presentations of the gospel were some of the best and most clear I have seen. What I loved even more was hearing the camp pastor encourage campers to ask their small group leaders really tough questions about Jesus.
- Salvation was the win: The staff celebrated, like yelling, cheering, jumping, when discussing individual salvations. During one large group time, a 3rd grader shared that she had surrendered her life to Jesus, and the room went wild. It was so great to see kids led to cheer for what really matters, without it seeming cheap or forced.
- FAMILY!: One advantage to camp coming to you is that the family can be an integral part. So often when kids go off to camp it is hard for parents to know what is happening or know what God has done. Because kids come home each evening parents can hear all about it! Plus, each day a sheet comes home allowing families to talk about was learned. Friday is family fun day. Parents come and participate in a shortened version of camp day with their campers and then have a fun lunch provided by Chik-fil-a.
I highly encourage you to check out Winshape and see if it would be a fit for your community!