Summer Camp A Success
By M. Patterson | August 17, 2012
What began as a faith venture became a reality and proved to be a godsend for over 200 youth and their parents in the Greater Oklahoma City area. Rev. J. A. Reed, Jr., Senior Pastor of Fairview Missionary Baptist Church, made the decision that the church would sponsor a Summer Youth Camp for children in the community.
The goal of the camp was to offer local children a summer of structured activities in which they could be involved in while their parents were working. The target group was children of parents and grandparents who could not afford to pay the fees of other summer camps and programs in the metro area.
The camp, which began on June 18, was open to youth, aged 6 to 17. The parents were asked to give a small donation of $10 per week per child for one to two children and those with three or more children would donate $5 per week per child. This included breakfast and lunch as well as supplies for varied classes, projects, and field trips. The hours were 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in hopes of alleviating the need for parents to pay child-care costs during the summer school break.
Since it was evident that the requested donation from the parents would not cover the expenses of the camp, the members of the church were asked to give monetary donations and to volunteer their time to work as staff persons.
“The call went out and the result was phenomenal,” stated Senior Pastor Reed. “As word of the camp spread throughout the community, there were not only youth signing up from across the city but monetary donations and offers to volunteer also extended beyond our church membership.” Positive responses came from community leaders, politicians, organizations, businesses and private citizens who made monetary donations, arranged for low-cost and no-cost field trips, assisted at the camp by teaching classes, provided supplies, food, and many other forms of support.
The day camp was designed to provide positive and wholesome activities for the youth. The topics over the six-week period covered subjects such as Basic Life Skills, Washing Dishes, Proper Etiquette, Bullying, the Books of the Bible, How to Deal with Peer Pressure, Personal Hygiene, Arts and Crafts, Rap Sessions and an array of others. The campers had Theme Day each week, aerobics daily, and went on weekly field trips, which included the Botanical Gardens, the Oklahoma City Zoo, bowling, water slides, skating, and the movies. During the last week, they were treated to a Health and Spa Day at the campsite, with dress-up for the younger children.
of the camp participants and their parents and guests were invited to attend worship service at Fairview on Sunday, July 29. Over 100 children and their parents were in attendance for the close-out program. Several community volunteers were also present. The youth were allowed time during the service to show the congregation some of the skills and exercises that they participated in during the camp. Each child and group leader was dressed in T-Shirts that displayed the name of their assigned Team while attending camp. The Pastor had prepared a special message for the youth. At the end of the worship period, the campers assembled in the church’s Donald Burns Fellowship Hall for a reception. Each was presented with a backpack filled with school supplies.
The final day of Summer Camp was August 3. “This camp has bonded relationships, mended broken spirits, and most of all, given us a spiritual connection with the Lord,” stated Sheila Williams, volunteer Camp Director. “We appreciate the support of the parents and the children; without the children, we would have no camp,” she continued.
“We would like to thank all of the many supporters and volunteers, individuals, businesses and organizations, who gave of their time and means to help make a difference in the lives of these youth,” stated Pastor Reed. Rev. Reed also expressed his thanks to the parents for bringing their children and allowing them to participate in the camp. “This camp and these children have been a blessing to Fairview,” he concluded.
Plans are underway for the church to sponsor future mini-camps to accommodate youth during other school breaks such as Christmas Break and Spring Break. Once finalized, details will be made available through public media, the church website at www.fairviewokc.com or interested persons may call the church at 405-232-1621.