CentriKid celebrates birthdays in a big way!
Recently, I was helping remind kids at my church to sign up for CentriKid when one kid raised his hand. I called on him and he asked, “What week is camp?” I told him the week we are planning to attend and he replied, “but that’s my birthday.” Around the room, eyes got big, and other kids started saying, “YES!” and “ooooooh!” Why? Because those kids had been to CentriKid and they knew that CentriKid makes a big deal out of birthdays!
I quickly explained that some fun surprises were headed his way at camp, and the other kids got really excited as those words left my mouth. It’s so much fun to reassure a child that his birthday will be celebrated at camp. Many parents worry about sending their child away during his or her birthday week, but CentriKid is such a great place to celebrate a birthday, and I’m so glad that campers remembered that, even eight months later!
CentriKid works hard to help every kid have a life-changing experience at camp. For kids who celebrate birthdays during their time at camp, that means making a big deal out of each birthday that happens at camp! Want to be a part of the fun? Sign up today for the best week of the year!
A few weeks ago a group of us completed a ropes course together, followed by a trip up a climbing wall. This certainly wasn’t my first climbing wall experience, but after having just come off the ropes course, my upper body strength was shot. I found myself more than once using a phrase I never like to hear: “I can’t”.
Has “I can’t” ever been the mindset in your life or ministry? If it has, you know that it’s a road barrier. Giving in to the idea that something simply cannot be done will kill your motivation, inhibit your potential, and worst of all, show your lack of faith.
While “I can’t” is a phrase I’d like to all together cut from my vocabulary, it’s both important and humbling to realize that sometimes really is true. The truth of the matter is that we, as people, will encounter things we are unable to do on our own.
The good news is that a realization of our own inability speaks strongly to who God is and how deeply He cares for us. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. There will be days and situations that we cannot conquer on our own, but that’s because we aren’t supposed to. We trust that God is always able and will give us the strength and wisdom we ask Him for. As a believer, your “I can’t” should always be followed with a realization that “God can”.
Take some time today to think about the situations that you are trying to tackle on your own. In what areas of your life do you need to remember that you can’t, but God can?
When a child sincerely makes the decision to follow Christ, they have a hunger inside of them to grow deeper in their relationship with the Lord. Often times, however, they struggle to know exactly how to do that. That is where we come in as mentors, teachers, parents, and ministers. It is our role as believers to guide and direct those that have been placed in our charge, as stated in 1 Peter 5:1-5. This is a big task, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may seem. We must simply be obedient to what the Lord has called us to. Here are just a few ways that I have learned how to disciple young children through looking in scripture:
1. Live life with one another. At CentriKid, you often hear us say that ministry happens best in the context of relationships. Jesus understood that full well. He lived life with the people he poured in to. Whether you’re a coach, mentor, or parent, spending time with kids is essential when it comes to discipleship. Children don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
2. Get into the Word together. God’s Word is alive and active. It has the ability to cut deep into our hearts and change us to become more like Him; and this does not exclude children. Helping kids understand the importance of Scripture is crucial in discipleship. Teaching them how to read and understand Scripture gives them the jump-start they need to develop a deep hunger for God’s Word on their own.
3. Be readily available. It’s understandable that we can’t always be with the children that we minister to. However, we can always be available to encourage them at any given time. When we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit in our own lives, we can develop the wisdom needed to encourage the people that are around us.
4. Correct, guide, and redirect. Part of being a shepherd means that sometimes you may need to do some guiding and sometimes be a little authoritative. This doesn’t mean that you don’t show love, it simply means that out of your love, you may need to help a child correct some problematic behavior or actions. Jesus did this often in His ministry. He helped people see where they needed Him most. It’s okay to let a child know where they messed up, but don’t ever miss the opportunity to direct them back to the Gospel.
Daniel Teague is a long time CentriKid staffer and is about to begin his third summer serving as a camp pastor for CK7. Daniel is from Alabama but teaches high school and coaches soccer and track in Byram, Mississippi. Daniel loves spending time with students at his church, is an avid coffee drinker, and will be getting married in September.
We’ve got a new teammate who will join our team after camp! Collin Spindle is one of our summer camp directors coming to serve in our office after camp.
Collin is from Texas and will be graduating from Texas A&M this semester. This summer he will be leading the “CK8” team as they go to do CentriKid Camps at Jenness Park Christian Camp, California Baptist University, Howard Payne University, Trinity Pines Conference Center, and Ouachita Baptist University.
He brings leadership experience from serving at his church and several summers of CentriKid experience too. Collin has been on traveling teams and he’s also been at Millsaps College all summer last year with CentriKid as a Rec Leader.
Please join me in welcoming Collin to the team – we look forward to having him join us!
Have you ever wondered what it looks like to interview for a staff position at CentriKid?
We spend a large part of our time in the interview simply getting to know staffers, hearing their stories, and listening to see what makes them a good fit for camp. We always ask to hear their testimony, as well as their ministry involvement and Bible Study experience. We ask interviewees to share the Gospel with us and walk us through talking with a kid about Salvation. We look for staffers who are passionate and can articulate the Gospel clearly, in a kid-friendly manner, and who can make Biblical connections in daily life situations.
Before an interview, we always tell potential staffers the key verse and ask them to prepare a few questions they think kids may have about it. Here are a few common questions that we heard based on this year’s verse, Revelation 21:3, and how we might answer some of them:
“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.”
Q: What is humanity?
A: Humanity simply means people. That’s us!
Q: What is a dwelling?
A: A dwelling is where something lives or abides. Just like you dwell in your house, God’s dwelling is with people. It’s where He lives. In the beginning, God dwelled with His people by actually walking on the earth with them. Sin entered the world and caused a separation from God, but then Jesus came and dwelt among the people. After He died on the cross, God gave us a very special gift. We have the ability to have God dwell with us again through the Holy Spirit inside of us.
Q: How can God be with us?
A: God can be with us through the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus loved us and died on the cross, we have access to God by asking His Spirit to come and be with us.
What other questions do you think kids may have about the key verse for the year?
Losing someone close to you is not easy for anyone, but can be especially difficult for a child. As a parent, mentor, leader, or friend, you have an opportunity to be there for a child during this pivotal time. Here are a few practical tips for walking with kids through this situation:
1. Be there to listen. A child needs to know that you are there and are going to help them process through the situation.
2. Let them talk when they’re ready. Part of listening well is being patient. Kids will process at different speeds and in different ways, so never try to force words or emotion from them. Let them know that you will listen whenever they are ready to share.
3. Help make sure they know what’s happening. Loss can be confusing, especially for younger children. Make sure that they understand the situation, but be careful to explain in a kid-friendly manner. Keep them informed and help them to understand the permanence of the situation.
4. Don’t miss this chance to share salvation. Loss will bring about a lot of questions, so don’t miss this chance to share Christ. Talk with kids about the salvation of the person they’ve lost, but take this as an opportunity to share with them the hope and life that comes from Christ in their own lives.
5. Always point them back to Scripture. As you support them, help kids understand that it is Christ they should run to in their hurt and brokeness, not just you. Explain that you will be there, but use Scripture to assure them that God is near and is our strength. 2nd Samuel 22:3 says that God is our rock, refuge, and salvation. Help them understand that people come and go, but God is constant and forever.
6. Remind them that it is okay to be sad or even angry. Share with them that it’s okay to hurt, but hope can be found in Jesus. God already knows how they are feeling, and it is okay to let Him know, so long as we trust Him and know that He will loves us and has plans for our good.
7. Be sure to stay in the Word yourself. You cannot lead out of emptiness. Caring for a child in this situation can be emotionally and spiritually draining for you, so be sure you are filling yourself up as you pour out. Remember that your role is to be strong for the child, but not to deceive them. It’s okay for them to know that you are hurting too, but lead by example as you seek Christ in your hurt.
Today is the last post in our 2013 CentriKid Prep series. If you’ve followed along through the whole series, by this point you’ve learned all about Group Leader Information, fundraising, the camp store, and the new rules of OMC (April Fools).
In case you missed any of the info, here is a recap of what we covered this year in our CentriKid Prep series:
2013 CentriKid Prep #1: Group Leader Information – This important packet of information contains all the information that you need to prepare for camp. Each Group Leader Information packet is unique to its location. You can find the specific information that you need on your camp’s location page.
2013 CentriKid Prep #2: Manage Your Account Online – Through your online account you can update your contact information, add or reduce attendance, modify male/female counts, or make a payment. Check out this post for a tutorial.
2013 CentriKid Prep #4: Camp Fundraising Ideas – In this post, we pulled together some of our favorite fundraising ideas, and we also posted links to ideas from the past 3 years.
2013 CentriKid Prep #5: Team Assistant Program – Having trouble finding adults to meet your 1:5 ratio? Check out this post for an overview of the Team Assistant Program.
2013 CentriKid Prep #6: Spiritual Focus – This post provides an overview of our Spiritual Focus for camp. Kids will dive into God’s word in Bible study, on the rec field, during track times, and during worship as we explore the truth that God is always with us.
2013 CentriKid Prep #7: Planning your Parent Meeting – Check out this post for tips and suggestions on planning and leading a meeting with your parents.
2013 CentriKid Prep #8: Pre-Camp Devotion Guides – Our Pre-Camp Devotion Guide provides you with two days of activities to do with your church group before coming to camp.
2013 CentriKid Prep #9: What’s New in the Camp Store – We’d love for you to check out some of the items that we are offering in our camp store this summer! We’re excited about stronger, better-quality backpacks and Cooper plush toys!
2013 CentriKid Prep #10: What You’ll See at Camp this Summer – This post highlights some of the changes that we’ve made to the schedule for 2013, and it also gives a “sneak peek” of some of the production pieces you’ll see at camp this year.
2013 CentriKid Prep #11: Meet Your Camp Leaders – Take a moment to meet the Camp Directors and Assistant Directors that will be serving you this summer. You can see your specific Camp Director on your camp’s location page.
2013 CentriKid Prep #11.5: New and Improved OMC – This is a fun post from April Fools’ Day that overviews several “new rules” to OMC. We got some interesting responses to our joke. Check out what folks said here.
2013 CentriKid Prep #12: Planning the Road Trip – Who doesn’t love a fun road trip? Take a look at these tips for planning your road trip to camp.
2013 CentriKid Prep #13: Things to Do 2 Weeks Before Camp – Camp is approaching rapidly. Read this post to find out all the things you need to do at least 14 days prior to your arrival!
2013 CentriKid Prep #14: Track Time Cards – Have you given your kids a chance to choose their track times? Don’t forget to fill out your track time selection cards prior to arrival.
2013 CentriKid Prep #15: What do expect when you arrive – If you’ve made it to this post, you are ready for camp! Check out these details of what you can expect when you step on to campus.
We’re here for you and want to come alongside you to make your camp preparation experience as easy as possible. If there are questions that we can answer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with someone from our office team. We are looking forward to seeing you at camp!
Saftey is one of our CentriKid promises. We take safety seriously, and make it a priority with kids. Camp is a safe place for kids – emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
One way that we make camp a safe place physically is by training our staffers on how to be kid-friendly in their physical contact with campers.
Here are some ways our staffers practice kid-friendly physical contact:
Hugs – Who doesn’t love hugs? Hugs can make a bad day instantly better. However, there are appropriate ways to hug. Our staffers are constantly being approached by children wanting hugs.
Try these two ways to handle an oncoming child ready for a hug:
High Fives – We love high fives at CentriKid. Instead of stopping a hug with a stiff arm, try smoothly transitioning into a high five. Not only are they fun but they are also super kid-friendly.
Here are some ways to spice up your high fives:
Today is the last day of the Bible Studies for Life Giveaway! Before we lead you to the winner, take a look at some awesome features about Bible Studies for Life that we and churches who have tried it out already love.
Bible Studies for Life – Kids is a great curriculum that we know will be used to disciple kids and strengthen families. The One Conversation Page and the Family App are both super helpful tools that will allow parents to connect with their kids of all ages and ask them questions to continue the learning process even after they’re at home.
This curriculum is age-appropriate and really reaches out to kids on a level that they can understand and get excited about. Bible Studies for Life – Kids provides a plan for kids to learn the way God has wired them to learn.
Another great feature is that all units connect to the other age groups with a common life application concept. Twice a year, the whole family is on the exact same Scripture/ Story for six weeks, which will continue to connect them even more. And most importantly, Bible Studies for Life – Kids is completely rooted in Scripture.
Make sure you check it out at www.biblestudiesforlife.com if you haven’t already!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Bible Studies for Life giveaway this week. Click here to see who won!
We’ve gone through just about everything you need to know on how to prep for CentriKid before your week of camp finally gets here. Now let’s walk through what you can expect when you arrive at Check-In at your location.
As you pull into your location, you will see CentriKid flags and staffers in red t-shirts, jumping up and down to greet you. All campers and adults except for the Group Leader will get out of your vehicle and go with staffers to finalize track time cards if they have not already been completed, receive giveaway t-shirts, and line up for the church group photo.
Group Leaders will go inside to take care of the indoor Check-In details. The first person you will most likely talk to is the Assistant Director. While talking to him or her, you will confirm camper numbers, fill out special attention cards, hand in your track time cards, and turn in your participant forms. You will also have the opportunity to turn in your photo/dvd forms and pay for them and your camper care packages. You can use a credit card, cash, or check. You will also get housing information and keys for your rooms.
You will be able to pick up your nametags and a few other helpful things, and then you and the CentriKid Director will walk out to find your group. You’ll receive your t-shirt then we will take your church group photo. After your picture is taken, you will be able to settle into your dorms and get ready for a great week of camp!