By Kris Buckman
Ah, summer camp … wet bathing suits, bug spray, sunscreen, campfires, staying up all night, early mornings, and amazing memories. Do you have any childhood memories of summer camp? As a girl I attended Camp-Wo-Me-To for two summers and also attended a camp in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with my youth group. Those are some of my most treasured childhood memories! I cherish the few photos I have from those sweet weeks spent with no care in the world, singing songs around the campfire, splashing in the pool, hiking trails, and making new friends.
Guess what? Summer camp is back this year and memories are just waiting to happen! And this summer you have a unique opportunity to give the kids from your church a summer experience like none other! Let 2021 be the summer you build stronger relationships with your kids, encourage them in their personal faith, and make memories that will have them begging to return next year!
Skycroft Conference Center hosts CentriKid each summer! It’s a race for churches to lock in spaces at this incredible summer camp for their kids each year, but this year, unique circumstances have made room for your church! If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with your kids after a long year apart, this is it!
Here are three reasons to take your kids to CentriKid this summer:
- Relationship Building: As “kidmin” leaders, you know that any ministry is only as good as the relationships that are built within them. It’s hard to spend “quality” time with your kids when you’re arriving early, setting up, greeting parents, making sure everyone has all their supplies, checking the clock, and cleaning up. CentriKid camps are completely run by Lifeway students. And I will tell you they are amazing! You will not set up one game or plan one Bible lesson while you’re at camp. Your job will be to hold the towels, Bibles, sunscreen, and enjoy the smiles permanently etched on their faces. You get to have conversations with them that you will never have the chance to have at church. Evenings will be spent seeing their personalities shine and watching their relationships with Christ blossom. And you will not have to plan any of it. Read that again. Your role at CentriKid is to have fun with your kids, get to know them better and, yes, even have some time for personal reflection and networking with other kidmin leaders. CentriKid is a place where relationships with the kids in your ministry will undoubtedly grow deeper.
- Lasting Impressions: CentriKid gives your kids a rich spiritual experience mingled amongst the fun and adventure that summer camp brings. Kids are in their Bibles several times a day at different age-graded Bible studies. They experience worship on their level with an energetic live band that gets them on their feet and praising God! They soak in daily sermons tailored just for them. Between the rounds of bazooka ball and trips down the Damascus Road water slide, kids will be deepening their faith as they absorb the messages the CentriKid staff give at every interaction. Every game, the Bible study and recreation track includes a time that points back to God. I’ve heard parents tell me that their kids are actually reading their Bibles daily after returning home from camp and waking up to spend time with God each morning. CentriKid will leave an unshakeable desire within your kids to know Christ more deeply.
- First-Timer Friendly: CentriKid is geared towards kids who have completed second through sixth grade. For kids that age, this may be their first sleep-away summer camp experience. Understandably, kids (and parents) may have some anxiety about that. The beauty of having a CentriKid location so close to all of our churches within the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) reassures kids that they’re not far from home. This may seem small, but in the mind of an elementary kid, it’s a big deal. They can rest easily, knowing that mom and dad are at most no more than a three-hour
drive away. Some of our BCM/D churches are so close to Skycroft the trip is less than an hour! The staff at Skycroft go above and beyond to make each camper feel welcomed, safe, and settled in for the week. Many times, kids think they’ll want their parents to visit, but once they get there, they’re so busy and engaged they don’t even think about it! During our first night there, in my room full of girls, we take turns passing my cell phone around as they say good night to their parents and get a chance to hear their voices. By the third night, no one even asks to call home! CentriKid at Skycroft is a great first summer camp experience for kids which will leave them sad to go home at the end of the week.
Skycroft management is carefully following the CDC’s COVID-19 protocols. In addition to masks and social distancing requirements, staff require pre-screening prior to arrival. They provide daily temperature checks and cleaning between scheduled events and clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces frequently throughout the day. Also, the facility is running at a reduced capacity, limiting total camp participants to two-thirds of the maximum capacity, allowing church groups more room to spread out. The staff is also staggering mealtimes and they have assigned seating in the dining hall (or provide options to dine outside).
No matter what your plans may be this summer in your ministry, CentriKid can always be worked into the schedule. Skycroft offers four weeks of camp to choose from. You may be hesitant to hold VBS again this year and that’s understandable! It’s a lot of responsibility to not only keep kids safe in general, but to also keep them safe from COVID-19. CentriKid at Skycroft is a great option! Skycroft has been operating during the pandemic following all safety precautions and guidelines set forth by the county and the health department. There’s no safer place to be this summer!
This summer’s theme at CentriKid is “The Discovery,” centered around 1 John 2:6. Campers will discover what it means to be imitators of Christ. Jesus is the ultimate example that they should follow as Christians and they’ll be taking a look at scriptures that help them know Jesus and walk as Jesus walked.
To register your group for a week of CentriKid at Skycroft, visit skycroft.org.
The summer is coming — take every advantage to reconnect and build relationships with the kids in your ministry and give them a lasting impression of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
Cover photo provided by LifeWay.