Archive for February, 2013

2013 CentriKid Prep #7: Planning your Parent Meeting

The time is here to start scheduling your parent meetings and informing parents on all of the details about your week at CentriKid!

Here are some specifics you’ll want to remember:

• Share your plan for how you will be getting to camp and how you will be returning home. Include lunch plans, times to drop off/pick up their camper, etc.
• Share camp address for letters from home (found on page 4 of your group leader information/on your location page on this website).
• Collect photo and DVD orders ($6/group pic, $30/End of the Week DVD)
• Have them bring their insurance cards and the completed release form for each camper.
• Have a notary at your meeting so that release forms can be notarized. Only one form needs to be notarized, but you will want to bring a copy of that form with you to camp (just copy them all after they are notarized). You will turn in the orginals to CentriKid during Check-In and will keep the copy. Make sure every participant has one, even sponsors.
• Pass out and go over the Parent Packet (starting on page 18 of Group Leader Information) with parents.

Use the parent meeting as a time to answer all questions parents might have about CentriKid. For a more detailed plan of what to talk about at your parent meetings, go to page 16 of Group Leader Information.



Declaring God’s Promises

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3

God’s many promises and His faithfulness to keep those promises never stop amazing me. In just a matter of three verses in Isaiah, God promises that the Messiah is coming to preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release from darkness for the prisoners, comfort all who mourn, provide for those who grieve. He promises to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. And then, after all of that, He says that these people, who were once poor, broken, and captives, will now be called oaks of righteousness that display His splendor.

Can we all just let that sink in for a minute? These three verses are packed with promises from God that fill us with hope and joy and leave us completely in awe of the One who provides these.

Not only should these promises leave us thankful for our own freedom, but we should also be overwhelmed with the desire to declare these promises to those who remain poor and broken. We’ve all mourned before and we’ve all been held captive by our own sin, but we have been set free, and we must not forget just how much of a miracle this is.

Are we declaring God’s promises to those who don’t know Him? Are we living as oaks of righteousness and displaying His splendor, or are we living as if we have not been redeemed and have not been set free? God sent His only Son to preach good news to the poor and to release prisoners from the darkness. Receiving this freedom shouldn’t be enough for us – we should long to share God’s grace and love with others.

Take time today to thank God for the freedom He has given you and to ask Him for opportunities to share this wonderful, undeserved freedom with those around you who are still being held captive. Go forward in boldness and confidence because you have been called an oak of righteousness, and the Lord’s splendor is displayed in you.



Feb

26

2013

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2013 CentriKid Prep #6: Spiritual Focus

This summer as we dive into Out of This World: Where God is Always With Us, we will focus on various passages of Scripture and the life of Jesus as we learn the different ways that God has been, is, and will always be with us.

We will use our key verse, Revelation 21:3 to drive the conversation about God’s presence among us.

“God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” –Revelation 21:3

Here’s a brief overview of what campers will study each day:

Day 1: God with us from the beginning: Creation- We will take a look at God’s creation story and how humanity, or people, fit into that. God created people because He wanted a relationship with them. God has been with us from the beginning and promises to be with His people forever.

Day 2: God with us on earth: Jesus- God made a way to be with His people on earth by sending Jesus, who lived among the people so that we could live with God. We will study the Old Testament story of the tabernacle and contrast it with Jesus tabernacling, or living among us, as the Son of God. We will introduce the concept of Immanuel: God with us.

Day 3: God with us at all times: Holy Spirit- In Exodus, the Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire directed and protected the Israelites on their journey to the promised land. God was with them then, just as He is with us today through His Holy Spirit. We will learn how the Spirit is always there to live among us, direct us, and protect us each day.

Day 4: God with us to lead us: We Follow- In the book of Joshua, God rescued the Israelites and continued His Kingdom through His presence with them. God does big things and allows us to be a part of what He is doing by following Him in His mission of making disciples. Disciples follow by watching, listening, and spending time with their leader, just as we follow by knowing God and knowing His Word.

Day 5: God with us: Forever- Campers will look at practical ways that God can be their God as they leave camp. We are reminded that God promises to always be with us, that God has a plan, and that we are called to live in a way that people will know Him.

Laura Register

Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Counseling and Human Development Services, focusing on Recreation Management. She began working for CentriKid in the summer of 2010 and joined the office staff in 2012.

Feb

25

2013

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Adapting Games to Meet Your Needs

If you’ve worked with kids for any length of time, you’ve probably discovered two basic truths: kids love games, and things rarely go according to plan. A rain cloud can quickly move your event or activities indoors. Perhaps you’ve shown up to the field or gym that you reserved only to find the space already occupied. Or maybe you’ve even faced a situation in which the game you planned requires 10 players, and you end up with 4…or 40. Working with kids often requires quick thinking and a little creativity to accommodate for things such as inclement weather, lack of space, or group size. At CentriKid Camps, we often have to adapt or tweak our games to fit the situation. Here are a few tips for adapting games to meet your needs:

1. Keep a Positive Attitude – This is the most important tip for changing the plan or adapting games. Kids will respond based on your response. If you think something is fun, they will, too! As the leader, your attitude will quickly become the attitude of your group.

2. Swap out Equipment – Using “unconventional” equipment can not only make your game more suited to your environment, it can also make the game more fun or interesting. If your game of Ultimate Frisbee® is forced inside because of rain, consider swapping out the Frisbee® with a rubber chicken. Chances are your kids will think Ultimate Chicken is way more fun, anyway!

3. Split into Smaller Teams or Groups – If you have more kids than expected, consider playing the same game in two smaller groups, or divide kids into more teams. For soccer, place a goal on all four sides of the field and play with four teams.

4. Play a “No Equipment Required” Game – It’s always a good idea to keep a handful of simple games in your back pocket that you can play at any time in any place. Simon Says is always one of my favorites.

Check out some additional ideas for Small Group Games, Large Group GamesRainy Day Games, or check out our Games Category on our blog. Comment below to share with us some of your tips for adapting games.

Henry Dutton

Henry received a MA in Christian Studies and a BA in English, both from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Feb

22

2013

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Special Needs Kids Ministry: Inclusion

What would it look like if we were to fully include children and adults with special needs into our churches and ministries?
This is a question that has been on my mind since my initial involvement in Special Needs Ministry. Mary, a dear friend and the director of the Special Needs ministry at Spring Hill Baptist Church, has been a huge help informing me about inclusion. Thanks Mary!

Here are some ideas to help you include children with special needs into your ministry:

Sunday School: One option for families is to allow their child to be mainstreamed into a regular classroom with a “shadow” or “buddy.” The “buddies” should be people you trust who are willing to stay with the child to assist in various ways. They may not have experience working with children with special needs; this is a great way to start!  A Sunday school class is also a good starting point for most families with a child with special needs.

Another option is to start a self-contained classroom for these children and adults. If you have a couple families with children with special needs it might be helpful to have a class specifically for them. My church offers 2 self-contained classes on Sunday mornings. One is for adults; the other is for children and youth. If this is feasible for your ministry, it is a great option. Some students will do great in a typical classroom setting. Others may benefit from being in a smaller self-contained setting.

Sunday morning service: Get them involved in your service! If there is a kid who loves to sing or play the piano, invite them to share their talent with the congregation as a part of worship. Have them assist in taking up the offering. Steve, a sweet friend of mine, greets people at the front door of my church and also helps to hand out bulletins. How can you get the kids and adults with special needs in your church involved in your Sunday Morning service?

Game Night: Have a game night for the special needs families in your area. It is a great time of fellowship and fun. My church holds a game night for teens and adults. Parents drop their kids off and are able to take a break and catch up on errands or go on a date, two things they do not get to do often. The kids love it and it is a great opportunity for parents. There is always someone with nursing skills on hand in case of seizures or other medical needs. Try to recruit enough volunteers to have a one to one ratio.

VBS: Find a way to involve children with special needs in your Vacation Bible School! This might mean adding an entire class for kids with special needs. You can also choose to have someone “shadow” with these children in mainstream VBS classes.

There are so many more options and things you can do to include children with special needs into your ministry. What are some ideas or programs your church has for children with special needs? Comment and let us know!

Want to know more about Special Needs Kids Ministry? Check out this post on loving with language!



2013 CentriKid Prep #5: Team Assistant Program

At CentriKid Camps, we have a 1:5 adult to kid ratio policy in order to help ensure the safety of your kids. Getting kids interested in camp is usually pretty easy. Getting adult sponsors to sign up for camp can often times be more difficult. In 2010, we launched the Team Assistant Program as a way to make it easier for churches to meet the 1:5 adult to kid ratio. We’ve heard a lot of great feedback about the Team Assistant program, and we want to make sure that you know all the details.

What is the Team Assistant Program?

The Team Assistant Program is an option designed to give your most-trusted high school juniors and seniors or young college students a behind-the-scenes look at being a camp staffer while they act as a sponsor for your church group. Middle school students and high schoolers who are not at least rising juniors may not participate.

What Will They Do?

• Count toward your 1:5 adult to camper ratio and stay with your group.
• Shadow a Team Leader (camp staffer) during the morning.
• Help out with tracks in the afternoon.
• Get a good idea of what serving on camp staff is like, in case they want to apply one day.

How Do I Sign Them Up?
Register them just as any other camper or adult sponsor. Remember, they must be at least a rising junior or older. Identify them as “Team Assistant” on the Participant List that you turn in two weeks prior to camp.

While at camp, Team Assistants follow a special schedule that allows them to get tons of hands-on experience. To view the schedule, or to read more information about the Team Assistant Program, check out Group Leader Information (available on your camp’s location page).

Henry Dutton

Henry received a MA in Christian Studies and a BA in English, both from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Feb

20

2013

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Four Reasons to Write Thank You Notes

Here are four reasons you should actually write thank you notes to express appreciation for the people you serve with:

  1. A hand-written thank-you note sets you apart from the majority of people who don’t take the time to be intentionally appreciative.
  2. It only takes a jiffy to jot a quick note and share something specific that you are thankful for.  Remember, this doesn’t have to be a novel, and in some cases it only has to be a sentence or two.
  3. A note is better than an email.  Even though its quick, it does take more time than just firing off a quick email.  Since email is so much of a day-to-day communication form, writing a note shows that you’ve gone above and beyond to say thanks.
  4. A note is more meaningful than most other forms of communication and a card or note is something that can last.  It always amazes me to see notes I’ve written pinned to a co-worker’s desk or wall, but it goes to show that the expression of thanks was meaningful and that they wanted to hang on to the memento.

Not everybody is naturally inclined to write thank-you notes, but everybody should be able to express their appreciation to someone for something specific they said or did.  I’ve heard it said that “if you don’t write a note, you aren’t thankful.”  When I heard that, I realized how far a note goes when showing someone how important they are to you.

Take a moment to jot a note today for someone you appreciate.  You can hand-deliver it or mail it, but I’m confident that a hand-written note has the power to brighten someone’s day.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

2013 CentriKid Prep #4: Camp Fundraising Ideas

Raising money for camp can often be an overwhelming task, and yet, it is also one of the most important things to plan prior to camp. That’s where we come in! We’ve put together a list of fundraising ideas to help you make sure you get the money you need for camp and to help even more kids have the opportunity to hear about Christ this summer at CentriKid. Check out the list of fundraising ideas below:

  • Envelopes This is a new idea we heard about from Angela, one of our awesome group leaders in East Texas. Collect standard envelopes and number them from 1 to 100. Place the envelopes on a table in a central location in your church, and then ask members to take an envelope (or more than one) and simply return it with the corresponding amount of money inside. This provides a wide spectrum for folks that can give a little or folks that can give a lot, and the total you will raise if every envelope is returned is $5050!
  • Plan a Meal Sunday afternoon meals are a great way to earn money for camp. Encourage kids to serve as waiters and waitresses. Some meal suggestions include spaghetti, chili or soup, sandwiches, or pancakes. These are all low cost meals, so you will have very few expenses to deduct from the funds you raise.
    Tip: Instead of setting a particular price, ask for donations. Many guests will be very generous.
  • Compile a Cookbook Encourage kids, parents, and families in your church to submit recipes for your cookbook, compile all the submissions, then print the book and sell it in your church or community. You can get your cookbook spiral bound at a company like FedEx, or to save money, punch holes in your pages and place them in a folder.
  • Car Wash This is a fun way to serve others and earn money for camp. Make sure to announce the time and location of your car wash to the members of your church.
  • Scholarships Ask members of your church to sponsor individual kids from your group. This can be anonymous if you choose.

Check out these links for even more fundraising ideas from our team at CentriKid Camps, and please comment with your ideas! We love to hear about new ways to earn money for camp.

Fundraising Tips

2012 Fundraising Ideas

2011 Fundraising Ideas

Making Sure Everyone Gets to Camp

Fundraising Idea…Kroger Cares

Fundraising // Waiting Tables

2010 Fundraising Ideas

Henry Dutton

Henry received a MA in Christian Studies and a BA in English, both from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Special Needs Kids Ministry: Loving with Language

Over the past couple years I have grown deeply passionate about Special Needs Ministry. One thing I have learned while serving in Special Needs Ministry is how important it is to be mindful of the language you use. If you have never worked with a child or an adult with special needs, it can be tricky to know what and what not to say.

Here are some tips to use when communicating with children with special needs:

  • Always use Person First Language when addressing those with special needs. Person First Language puts the person before the disability. Person First Language also helps to describe what a person has instead of who that person is. This helps eliminate hurtful and offensive language and demonstrates respect. For example, say boy with Autism instead of Autistic boy.
  • When talking about places with accommodations avoid using terms such as “handicapped” or “disabled.” Use the term “accessible” instead. For example, refer to an accessible ramp versus a handicapped or disabled ramp.
  • Avoid using the words “confined” and “confirmed” when referring to a child with a physical disability that requires them to use a wheelchair. A better way to phrase this would be to say that a child “uses” a wheelchair.
  • Never use the term crippled when speaking about a child or adult with a disability.
  • Avoid labeling children with special needs as disadvantaged or unfortunate. Their disability is not always life-limiting or negative.
  • Show children with special needs the same respect you show to other kids. It is vital to not only make them feel that they are treated equally, but to genuinely treat them the same.
  • When you communicate with these children and refer back to kids without disabilities avoid using words like “normal” or “healthy.” One way to phrase this in a less negative manner would be to say a “child without disabilities.”
  • Sometimes you will need to communicate with a child’s aide or parent in certain situations. At times, it is easier to go straight to the caregiver. However, do not try to communicate through the aide or parent. Always do your best to communicate directly with the child.
  • Terms such as retard, slow, and mentally handicapped can be hurtful when used. Special needs, child with a learning disability, and intellectually or cognitively disabled are more respectful correct terms to use.
  • Always ask before you help a child or adult with a disability  They often find value in doing things on their own, so helping before asking could be offensive.

The children and adults with special needs at my home church are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. In my experience in Special Needs ministry, loving these people with the language I use is just one of the many ways to serve them better!

For more information on Special Needs Ministry check out http://www.lifeway.com/n/Ministries/Special-Needs.



Valentine’s Day: What is Love Anyways?

Has anyone ever told you that you don’t really know what love is? Chances are, they’re probably right.

No matter how far along life’s journey we get, I’m not sure that any of us will ever be able to fully comprehend the depth and the weight of God’s love for us and the magnitude of all that He has done. Ephesians 3:10 reminds us that we are striving to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge”.

So what makes this love that God has for us so big that we can’t quite wrap our minds around it? God’s love for us is a direct overflow of His character. Jeremiah 10:12 tells us that “God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding”.

God, in His infinite power and wisdom, created the very world we live in today. He breathed His own breath into our lungs in hopes that we, His own creations, might walk in a relationship with Him, our Father. He made this world and said that it was good, until we lost sight of our love for Him and walked away from His truths. As Adam and Eve brought sin into the world for all of us, we lost sight of what true, intimate love with God looks like. Our sin caused separation, as a perfect God could never be a part of something as imperfect as us.

Only perfection could bridge the gap that our sin created, and as we all know, we are never really able to live in perfection. But God, who continued to love us in the midst of our unfaithfulness, gave us a greater gift than we could ever imagine. He sent His own son, as perfect as God Himself, to live among us, to show us the way, and then to take the weight of all of our sins to His death on the cross. Because of His sacrifice, we now have the opportunity to walk in forgiveness and again be unified with God, just as we were created to be.

With the opportunity to be unified with God comes the growing knowledge of His love. As we spend time getting to know the heart of God, we begin to grasp more and more of the beauty of His love story. We understand love for others only out of an overflow of Christ’s selfless love for us. 1st John 4:19 reminds us that “We love because He first loved us”. If we are not seeking to know His love more, we are not able to fully love those around us.

Do you fully grasp the weight of His love in your life? Do you know it more clearly than you did yesterday? I pray that we each remember today just how much He has done for us and how very worthless our lives are without His love and grace. We do nothing to deserve to be loved the way we are, and I pray today that the Gospel is fresh on your mind and heart. Let His words dwell in you as you walk through today, seeking to understand His love more and to love others well as an overflow.

Laura Register

Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Counseling and Human Development Services, focusing on Recreation Management. She began working for CentriKid in the summer of 2010 and joined the office staff in 2012.