100 Wimauma Youth Camp at Home with Cedarkirk

100 Wimauma Youth Camp at Home with Cedarkirk

What happens when the traditional camp experience is cancelled due to Covid-19? Great minds, hearts, and the Spirit convene to ensure children and youth have access to a Christian formation tool that is both fun, contextual, and life changing.  Thanks to a grant by our friends at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in collaboration with Cedarkirk´s Camp at Home program, we were able to bring the Christian camp experience to 100 children and youth in Wimauma.

The team at Beth-El was in the midst of creating a faith formation event for small groups, instead of the traditional Vacation Bible School, when the cases of Covid19 started to peak in Hillsborough County.  It became evident that a couple of hours of face to face fun were not worth the risk of exposing our children and youth, volunteers, and staff.  A phone call from our friends at Cedarkirk revealed the opportunity to bring camp at home activity boxes in Spanish and English to 100 children and youth in Wimauma.

Our team reached out to children and youth who registered to go to Cedarkirk Camp this year, church families, and families with children in the community. On Wednesday, July 22 the children and youth received their camp at home boxes.  Some were distributed in a drive-thru model at Beth-El and others were delivered to their homes.

Just in case you were wondering what´s in the box:

Soon after the distribution, we started receiving notes of appreciation for the sweet surprise (Cedarkirk’s Cookies included), the opportunity to explore faith, and much needed recreation through creativity.

 

We also thank all our friends and partners who generously donated to send children to camp this summer. Your gifts will be used in the future to send more children to summer camp. And to all who contributed to bring joy to the children in our community, thanks for helping us put together what we called Bags of Joy. An activity bag to bring fun to the children in our community.

Our friend Cynthia Duncan donated snack bags with treats. Emma Donofry and Leslie Atkins crafted child size face masks. Junie Miller from Peace Church donated canvas bags to hold the items. Jean Harrison from Campaign Against Human Trafficking crafted and donated fun pieces of jewelry and children’s books. First Presbyterian Church Seffner also donated children’s books.  And many more joined this effort to put together 60 bags with coloring books, bubbles, crayons, and other items, that went to families with children under the age of 5. 

 As this summer ends, while mourn the ways in which we had to surrender great traditions as that as going to camp and VBS, we recognize that God shows us the creative, meaningful, and powerful ways in which we can connect our faith with the work of mercy and justice. Thanks be to God!

PRAYER

Light of the World, we give you thanks for showing us the way of mercy, compassion, and humility.  That we are able to perceive your dream for Your people in the midst of times that feel so different.  Yet your grace abounds and pours out to bring joy to our hearts through simple acts of kindness that reflect your love.  Continue to call us to climb these mountains, that we at the mountain top may give you always all the glory!  In Jesus name, Amen.