Our church has plenty of traditions as do most of you! Our summer has consisted of Sportscamp for 23 years leading up to 2020. It is a full day of running, team building games, crafts, picnic lunches and pool time..oh and more running. This year the original director of camp passed away which hit us all pretty hard. With all the disappointment the global pandemic has caused, it seemed like the easy way out for us to say Sportscamp was cancelled this year due to the virus. Many churches did cancel their VBS plans and this is no dig at them, I promise. Every church has to do what is right for their congregation. But I just kept feeling this push inside of me and these ideas kept flowing. I will of course give all credit to the Holy Spirit, I did seek out his guidance and prayed heavily about the whole shebang! Here is how we changed it all up for the sake of safety in the wake of covid-19.
Huge disclaimer: totally out of my comfort zone! So expect that as a possibility.
It did require loads more preparation than usual and sportscamp is a beast of a job to pull off each year any way! My goal was not completely clear in the beginning but I knew it needed to be family friendly, less tech, more hands on, fun and engaging. Tall order? Yes! Especially since we were using VBS curriculum which I usually only take the devotions/Bible stories for camp and adapt those. So more new territory! I read through every resource they gave us and pulled out what I thought might be easy and fun to do at home. We used Orange curriculum: Focus and they did have an online element for us to share,which I kept to a minimum.
We have a volunteer team that usually helps me with camp and we did several zoom meet ups so I could throw things at them and get feedback. They had some great ideas and we were rolling.
Families would register their kids, and we required one adult to sign up. Families were put onto teams. They needed to join our Sportscamp Facebook group. This would be where we had all the zoom links, Bible story links, etc. The only cost was $10pp for the camp shirt to help show some solidarity since we were not at camp together, we all had the same shirts. These shirts also had Ms. Nancy’s (first director) name on the sleeve to honor her memory. Scholarships were available. We raised money to cover the cost of supplies and made up a Camp bag for each family with most of what they needed for the week inside.
The BIble videos were uploaded the week before and scheduled to post the night before so families could watch them before bed or during breakfast before our zoom meet up. They had a choice between the 7 minute or 25 minute video to watch. These we found were best pinned to the top of the page to be easier to find. As families started posting pictures they would get lost in the middle of it all.
Each day centered around the Bible story theme and we had activities and challenges they could participate in as a family to earn points for their team.
My goal was to have a short 20-30 minute zoom meet up everyday. So we would explain the bigger challenge for the day and then head to breakout rooms by team and discuss the Bible story. Breakout rooms were made easier to fill by having families rename themselves their team name-last name. We came back to the main session to pray and head out for the fun of the day. They were encouraged to take pictures doing the challenges/activities and upload them to the group so we could all see each other all week.
Some of the challenges: Monday: scavenger hunt in 4 parks with 10 rocks with Bible verses showing God’s character. They had to bring a Bible or use a Bible app. Tuesday: Drive through at church to drop off pictures for the nursing homes to encourage the residents. Wednesday: food drive. Thursday: Obstacle course set up all day at church and Drive through at church for our own Royal Family Kids Camp campers: while they waited their turn, they could do bubble or chalk prayers. Friday:Drive through at church for our own Royal Family Kids Camp campers: school supply drive.
Each drop off was from 1-2pm and 6-7pm to accommodate any working parents. We had volunteers manning the stations for us and social distancing was practiced and masks were worn. There were other activities available each day as well and I will attach that document here too.
Running/walking still happened too. They could log up to 2 hours per day per person and other family members were allowed to participate.
Each night or early morning, families had to upload their total family points/miles in the google doc in their team section for that day. This doc was also pinned to the top of our Facebook group. Team leaders did have to help a few people with this but it went rather well.
In all we had 63 campers, 103 total participants and more adults joining in. The zoom meet ups were my biggest source of anxiety. I have led plenty of meetings on zoom, but there were 32 boxes and between 2-6 people in each box on some days. Tech is always an issue as you all have experienced, but God is good. It was pretty well received and they kept showing up! We ended up logging 1,418.5 miles and we had people participating in KY, Ga and Tn as well as locally.
I am so grateful the Lord gave me the nudge and I am so glad I listened. It was hard work, it was stressful but so amazing to see families actively participating in learning about Jesus and sowing his love to the community. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and swam upstream against the current but with the Holy Spirit guiding me, I can feel nothing but blessed to have been a part of his plan.
EXTRA DAILY ACTIVITIES FOR INSIDE/RAINY DAYS/CAN’T LEAVE DURING THE DAY:
CHOOSE FROM ANY OF THESE OR ONE OF THE EXTRA DAILY ACTIVITIES IN YOUR PACKET WITH PARENT’S HELP:
· CHALK A NEIGHBOR’S DRIVEWAY WITH AN ENCOURAGING MESSAGE/PICTURE
· MAKE SIGNS TO PUT UP IN YOUR WINDOW/NEIGHBOR’S WINDOW
· OFFER TO HELP MOM/DAD WITH WORK AROUND THE HOUSE
· CALL A FRIEND YOU HAVEN’T TALKED TO FOR AWHILE
· CUT FLOWERS FROM YOUR YARD TO GIVE AWAY
· GLOVE UP AND CLEAN UP SOME LITTER WITH PARENTS
· WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE TO THE MAIL CARRIER OR GARBAGE MAN
· WRITE A CARD TO SOMEONE AT OUR CHURCH & MAIL IT
· TURN OFF THE ELECTRONICS AND GO SPEND TIME WITH SOMEONE
· EMPTY THE DISHWASHER OR PUT SOMEONE ELSE’S DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER
· OFFER AN APOLOGY TO SOMEONE YOU OWE ONE TO
· MAKE SOMEONE’S BED AND LEAVE A SWEET NOTE
· GIVE A FAMILY MEMBER A HUG
· WAKE UP EARLY AND DO YOUR SIBLING’S CHORES
· CHECK IN ON AN ELDERLY NEIGHBOR
· MAIL A LETTER TO SOMEONE TO CHEER THEM UP
· GREET EVERYONE WITH A SMILE TODAY
· DONATE CRAYONS AND COLORING BOOKS TO CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
· HIDE A DOLLAR IN A TOY SECTION AT THE DOLLAR STORE
· TELL SILLY JOKES TO MAKE SOMEONE LAUGH
· LEAVE A HAPPY NOTE FOR SOMEONE TO FIND, LIKE IN A LIBRARY BOOK
· DONATE BLANKETS TO ANIMAL SHELTERS
· WRITE A CARD TO YOUR PASTOR
· COLLECT BOOKS TO DONATE TO LOCAL SHELTER (I.E: PROJECT HOPE)
· SET UP A FREE LEMONADE STAND
· HELP MAKE DINNER WITH YOUR PARENT
· MAKE A BIRD FEEDER
· PLACE A JAR OF PENNIES BY A WISHING FOUNTAIN
· OFFER TO DO YARDWORK FOR OLDER NEIGHBOR
· OFFER TO WASH THE CAR/ NEIGHBOR’S CAR
· WALK A NEIGHBOR’S DOG
· BUILD A FREE “LIBRARY” BOX IN YOUR YARD
· SING OUR CAMP SONG AND POST IT TO THE FACEBOOK GROUP
· MAKE BROWNIES FOR A NEIGHBOR OR THE LOCAL POLICE OR FIRE DEPARTMENT
· GRATITUDE SCAVENGER HUNT (SEE ATTACHED DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS)
*REMEMBER, TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR FAMILY AT DIFFERENT DESTINATIONS & UPLOAD THEM FOR CREDIT*