2015 Camp Prep Series #9: Meet Your Camp Leaders!

Our office team just spent a weekend in March with these directors and assistant directors training, team building, preparing for the summer, and praying for you!

Our Camp Directors and Assistant Directors will be the ones on site at every CentriKid Camps location this summer making sure that kids have a great experience at camp, adults who come to camp are taken care of, and that the week of camp runs smoothly. What I love about the most though, is that they view their role as one that involves spiritual leadership, not just taking care of details and logistics.

Ultimately, our Camp Directors and Assistant Directors are here for you. While our staff will be pouring in your kids, our leaders will be making camp an easy week. They’ll take care of the details so that you are free to build relationships with your kids and grow your own relationship with Christ! We invite you to connect with these leaders for your week of camp. They can be found on the location page online, and you can reach them by email or by phone. You can even text the camp so phone number if you have a quick question or need to set up a phone call prior to camp!

Check out who your leaders are below!

CK1 (Ridgecrest, Norman Park July Dates):
Micheal Walley, Camp Director
Hannah McComb, Assistant Director

CK2 (Campbellsville University):
Isaac Kierstead, Camp Director
Justin Barton, Assistant Director

CK3 (Timber Creek):
JT Turner, Camp Director
Katie Walliser, Assistant Director

CK4 (Gardner-Webb University):
Caitlin Henry, Camp Director
Jennifer Hatley, Assistant Director

CK5 (Norman Park June Dates, Eckerd College, Lake Yale, SBU, Trinity Pines):
Sara Willis, Camp Director
Alli Sewell, Assistant Director

CK6 (Lee University, Austin College, Shocco Springs, Louisiana College):
Meg Brown, Camp Director
Ashleigh Ladner, Assistant Director

CK7 (Campbell University, Eagle Eyrie, Skycroft):
Will Croushorn, Camp Director
Jessica Phillips, Assistant Director

CK8 (Cumberland University, Jenness Park, Cal Baptist, Trinity Pines, Linden Valley, Ouachita Baptist):
Vincent Thomas, Camp Director
Taylor Brown, Assistant Director

Check out some pics from our Director/Assistant Director Weekend below!

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Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.





Getting FIT: Practicing What You Preach

This summer we have so many exciting things planned for kids and adults but it is so important to prepare our hearts for the truth that we will delve into during FIT:Faith in Training. As we prepare to teach campers the importance of reading scripture, prayer, giving, and christian community we need to make sure that we have a firm grasp of our spiritual lives before we lead campers to experience it for themselves.

It can sometimes be overwhelming  or disconcerting to evaluate your prayer life or how often you spend time alone with God, but it is so important to take time to reflect on your relationship with God. As leaders in your kids ministry, you must lead by example. If we want our kids and volunteers to read the bible, give cheerfully, and pray we need to be doing those things well in our own lives. Take a moment to think about all that God has done in your life and what you are doing in response to the grace that He has provided for you.

Being a part of a community of believers to encourage you and hold you accountable is vitally important. We are always stronger together.  And remember, perfection is not the goal. We will not always do everything right; we are in the process of transformation, we have not achieved it. Being willing to be transparent in your walk with the Lord with your community can be one of the most important things we can do.

Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” If we are not knowledgeable about God’s word, prayer, giving, or christian community we will not be able to speak into the lives of others regarding those things. Getting FIT for this summer requires leading by example and practicing what you preach.

Tiffany Francis

Tiffany graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in communication and media studies, and received her Master's Degree from Murray State. She has been with Lifeway Kids since 2010 and joined the camp team in 2014 where she works on Bible Study, the camp store, and many other elements.

2015 Camp Prep Series #8: Pre-Camp Planning

As the summer approaches, your kids are ready to get out of school and the craziness of summer activities begins! Here is a checklist of a few things that will help you and your group be ready when it is time to hop in the bus for camp!

Talk to your adult sponsors!
The people that you are bringing to camp will help shape the experience for all of your campers. Bring adults and students who you trust to invest in your kids throughout the week. While at camp, these sponsors will be the one answering spiritual questions and loving your children as they learn how to grow their faith in Christ. Also, be sure that all of your sponsors have signed the statement of compliance before they come to camp.

Meet with parents!
One of the promises that we make at CentriKid is that we provide a safe environment for the kids. This starts by providing you as group leaders with the information that you can share during parent meetings. Check out the Parent Packet and provide copies of it for all of the parents so that they also feel ready to send their kids off to camp. Getting copies of insurance cards and signing release forms is a vital key to preparing for camp. Also, be sure that you collect all the photo and DVD order forms so that the parents can get their snapshots of their kids at camp! Another way that we want to make each child feel safe at camp is by giving the parents a chance to fill out a special attention card. We as a staff take these cards very seriously and want to know about any physical or emotional/spiritual needs that the children might have. Don’t forget to fill out a special attention card if anyone in your group has a birthday the week of camp, we would love to celebrate with them! You can also show our new Parent Peace of Mind video!

3 weeks before camp!
The best week of the summer is getting closer and you are almost ready to go! Three weeks before camp, don’t forget to email your participant list that includes your adult sponsors so that we can have housing all prepared for you when you get to camp. You can get the participant list HERE, and you’ll email it to the email address found on your location specific page! At three weeks, you can also pay your balance for camp which will be due 14 days prior to camp.

We can not wait to see you and your kids this summer. We know that you put lots of work into getting your kids ready for camp and we want to make this process as simple as possible for you. If you have any questions as you prepare for camp, feel free to contact the CentriKid office or your camp director and we would love to answer any questions you might have!

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University in 2014 with a degree in studio art and editing and writing. He started working camp in 2013 and has served as a rec team member, stage host, and camp pastor. Isaac joined the office team in 2014.

Choosing the CentriKid Theme

In last week’s Camp Prep Series, Henry gave you a bit of insight into how we decide on our camp themes. We are excited that FIT:Faith in Training is our 15th CentriKid theme! We believe that a summer theme is a fun tool to help share the message of Christ to kids that come to camp.

Back in December, the CentriKid office team gathered with a few friends for an entire day to plan out the 2016 spiritual direction and theme.   You might be surprised that planning for camp happens so far in advance, but there are so many different things that must be written, produced, design, and edited, that it takes all of the 18 months to make camp happen successfully.

We follow pretty simple guidelines to structure our planning day and decide on the new theme:

quadrant.0011.)  Start with Scripture.  The spiritual content of camp is the most important thing! Before anything else, we spend time discussing and praying about the spiritual direction of the summer. Usually, a CentriKid Camp Spiritual direction falls within one of these areas: “Who God is, What God Does, Who We Are, What We Do.” To get an idea of this, check out the FIT: Faith in Training spiritual direction, which falls into the category of “What We Do.”

2.)  Choose daily themes. After we decide on the overall spiritual direction, we begin to focus on each day of camp, and how that should be broken down into smaller spiritual themes each day of camp. For example, this upcoming summer, each day of FIT: Faith in Training is broken up into smaller themes like “A Disciple is a Follower of Christ, A Disciple Encounters God Through His Word, etc.”  This is also where we begin ideating what scripture passages will be used as the basis for Bible Study and worship.

3.) Brainstorm overall motifs. After we have a solid foundation in the spiritual direction, then we begin coming up with motif. Last year, for example, the CentriKid team considered a motif of a factory, a greenhouse, and more before choosing the fitness motif for FIT: Faith in Training. When choosing the CentriKid theme, pairing the motif with the spiritual direction is extremely important to us, and we want the connection between the two to be clear.

4.) Leave the conversation open. Hopefully by the end of the planning day, we have laid solid groundwork for next year’s CentriKid theme, but we choose to leave the conversation open over the next few months. While we leave the meeting with an idea of what the spiritual direction and motif will be, we want to continue to seek the Lord’s guidance in the next summer, and we remain willing to adjust things if He leads us that way.

I hope that you have enjoyed getting a small glimpse into how we choose our camp theme!  Maybe you can use this guideline for choosing how you theme your kid events, D-Nows, or day camps.

We hope to see you this summer for FIT: Faith in Training, and at the end of your camp week, you will get a sneak peak at the theme for CentriKid 2016!


Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.





2015 Camp Prep Series #7: Sneak Peek

We hope you are excited about FIT: Faith in Training! Camp begins in only 2 short months, so as you continue your preparations, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of what you will see this summer.

When we create a theme for CentriKid, we always start with Scripture. The spiritual content of camp is the most important thing! If you missed my last post, be sure to check out the 2015 CentriKid Spiritual Direction. After we nail down the spiritual direction, then we try to create a motif that supports the content. This year, we are excited to get FIT as we grow closer to Jesus! Check out the key verse poster and cover art for FIT: Faith in Training below:



We always try to create a fun environment in the auditorium that goes along with our theme. This year, when campers walk into the auditorium, one of our head trainers will welcome them to Club FIT! The stage will look similar to a locker or equipment room at a fitness center, and many of our videos and characters will have connections to Club FIT. Check out an early mock-up of our stage design below:


Music is also a very important part of camp. Our music selection this year will feature an original theme song created specifically for FIT: Faith in Training (“FIT for God”), as well as many other familiar worship songs:

  • Your Glory is Forever (from 2015 VBS)
  • Here with Me (from Worship for Life)
  • This is Amazing Grace
  • 10,000 Reasons
  • Forever Reign
  • Our God
  • Lord, I Need You

We know many of you have been waiting all year for another chance to shuffle like a monkey. Don’t fear, because the Monkey Shuffle will be back again this summer, and we will also introduce a brand new dance song created for CentriKid Camps! For a full sneak peek of the music you will hear at CentriKid this summer, be sure to check out our camp music page. The music page provides links to download music files so you and your kids can get familiar with the songs before you arrive! Check back often as we continue to update the music page in preparation for the summer.

We are excited about all the things you will see and here this summer at CentriKid Camps! We hope to see you there!

Henry Dutton

Henry received a BA in Christian Studies and English from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is currently pursuing a Masters degree from the seminary. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Peach Needs a New Voice: APRIL FOOLS!

Yesterday, you might have read that we are looking for a new voice of our friend, Peach. Well..APRIL FOOLS!

We are happy to announce Peach will most certainly be returning to camp this summer for FIT: Faith in Training, and he will still sound like the Peach we know and love!(The actor did not move to Alaska to become a polar bear trainer.)

We received an overwhelming amount of incredible videos of you guys showing us your best Peach voice! We know some of you just can’t wait to see some of the videos that were submitted, and while no one will be the new voice of Peach this summer, we thought it would be great to show you what all of these awesome potential voice-artists would sound like as our favorite fruit!  Check out the video below!

Again, thanks for playing along and we can’t wait for you to see Peach once again at camp during FIT: Faith in Training as we teach kids spiritual practices to help grow their faith. Our team has LOVED all of audition videos that were sent in yesterday, and most of all, we are thankful for such amazing fans of CentriKid and Peach that are willing to have fun! CentriKid would not be what it is without fun friends like each of you, and God does amazing things through the fun!

Check out a few of our favorite videos below!

Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.

Peach Needs a New Voice!

We have some bad news. The worst news ever. Almost as bad as if there were new rules created for OMC. Over the past 3 years, Peach has become a staple at camp even sometimes leaving kids in the crowd screaming, “Peach! Peach! Peach!” Unfortunately, the actor who regularly voices our friend Peach has packed his bags and moved Alaska to pursue a career as an polar bear trainer. We are happy for him, but we are left in a bad situation. We have no voice for Peach, and we need to record the videos for FIT: Faith in Training very soon.

We need your help. Peach needs a new voice immediately, or else Peach will not be able to be at camp this summer. We must find a new voice for Peach by tomorrow, or else we will never hear phrases like “Hey Everybody!” ever again.

Do you think you have what it takes to be the new voice of Peach?  We are holding a nation-wide online casting call.  Here’s what you can do to send in your audition:

1. Record yourself performing this script. You can sound like the old Peach, or create a completely new voice. Males and females will be considered! Please stick to the script. There’s no need for this video to be professional-quality.  A phone or computer camera will do.

2. Send your video to centrikid@lifeway.com. Please submit your video by 9pm Central time tonight.  Our CentriKid Office Team plans to stay up all night selecting the new Peach.

3. Check the CentriKid.com blog tomorrow. We will announce the new voice of Peach on the CentriKid.com blog tomorrow afternoon. Be warned: if you send in a video, there’s a good chance it might be shown on the blog!

We are devastated that our beloved Peach may not make it to camp this summer.  If you love Peach, please do your part and send in a video.

For inspiration, check out the Peach videos below!


Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.





Teaching Kids about Easter

Teaching kids about Easter can be challenging. Easter holiday is much like other Christian holidays because there are cultural traditions as well as Christian traditions, and two don’t always make sense how they go together.

Kids wonder what makes “Good Friday” good? What’s the connection between the Easter bunny and the Easter story? Why can’t we hide hard-boiled eggs in the house anymore? (OK, that’s my question from when I was a kid!)

In helping kids understand why this holiday is so important to our faith, here are 4 pointers to help you prepare for teaching kids about Easter.

  1. Use age appropriate terms as you talk about Jesus’ death on the cross. Going into gory details with young kids can scare them, or possibly just take the attention off the main point by getting them caught up in the physical details.
  2. Talk about the gospel. In explaining the “what” of Easter, never leave out the “why.” Through the sacrifice of Jesus death on the Cross and his resurrection, God made a way for us to have a relationship with Him!
  3. Include the resurrection. Sometimes I’ve heard leaders emphasize how Jesus died for our sins … but without the resurrection of Jesus, the cross means nothing.
  4. It’s fine to celebrate culture, but don’t let it crowd out the reason for Easter. My daughter and I will be hiding Easter eggs for the 2 weeks before Easter, and probably the 2 weeks after easter, but we also talk about how this is a fun game, but celebrating Easter is more about the things of God and how Jesus rose from the dead.

Also, check out these cool coloring pages from LifeWay Kids that you can use this Wednesday or Sunday with your preschoolers and kids at church.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.

2015 Camp Prep Series #6: Care Packages

Camper care packages are back in 2015! We have some exciting new items to help campers get FIT this summer. The items in the 2015 Camper Care Package are the CentriKid backpack, OMC shirt, Water Bottle, Sweatband, Eye Black, Colored Team Bracelet, Missions Bracelet, and Staff Poster. The backpack, OMC shirt, water bottle, sweatband, eye black, and team bracelet will be in your team color.

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Care packages are $30, and contain $37 worth of CK swag! Again this year, pre-orders for camper care packages will be accepted until June 1st. Be sure to place your pre-order here. We can guarantee your camper care package upon arrival to camp as long as you pre-order before June 1st. Any orders placed after June 1st will be subject to availability.

Also this year we are bringing back the camp store cards. They will be available in increments of $5, $25, and $50. These are ways that parents can be sure that their child has money to buy fun items
in the camp store, but is not carrying around a pocketful of cash. Camp store cards can only be used to purchase items in the CentriKid Camp Store (these do not apply to snack shops or souvenir shops on campus). Any money left on the camp store cards at the end of the week will be added to the missions offering.

We are so excited to serve you in the camp store this summer. Make sure to visit the camp store for all of your CentriKid gear!

Check out this sneak peek to see what’s in the camp store this year!

Tiffany Francis

Tiffany graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in communication and media studies, and received her Master's Degree from Murray State. She has been with Lifeway Kids since 2010 and joined the camp team in 2014 where she works on Bible Study, the camp store, and many other elements.





Balancing Work and Home

Achieving the perfect balance of work and life has proven to be a myth in today’s world. Many times I’ve believed that if 2-3 things fall into place, then I’ll finally be caught up and won’t worry about work stuff at home. I’ve even had occasional times of feeling great about my progress at work, but realized that laundry is piled up, the dog needs grooming, and the dishwasher isn’t draining right. But this blog isn’t designed to be a discouragement … there’s hope, and here are 4 tips to help you navigate balancing work and home responsibilities.

  1. Establish clear priorities. For most all of us, that means articulating that faith, family, and health are all important priorities that should come ahead of work. As important as ministry is to the kingdom, balancing work and home means identifying what is most important.
  2. Set boundaries. Once you identify priorities, you must draw a line in the sand. No one will protect time with your family for you.
  3. Reinforce your priorities and boundaries with your behavior and choices. Many well-meaning co-workers or church members will take up time in your schedule that you’ve intended for other priorities, unless you guard that time. For me, it requires using a word that is sometimes hard to say … and that is “no.’
  4. Acknowledge that you won’t be perfect. We all have seasons where there’s more demands from work, so realize that and know that balancing work and home is not an exact science. There are also seasons when we have illness, grief, vacation, or school activities for children. Know that from time to time, there will be more time required by one area than the other, but you can still honor your priorities and return to your normal boundaries after that season.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.