FUMCFW’s innovative summer day camp wrapped up last week, and we are still all abuzz with excitement about this year’s version of Summer Jam! A First Church first, last week’s virtual camp inspired the 65 registered kids to create something new – together.
This year did look and feel very different from years past, but Mister Mark, Janice, Dr. Mike, and everyone worked hard to create a wonderful, albeit virtual, Summer Jam! And they have been working extra hard to make this year’s other summer favorites also feel special. “In many ways it won’t be the same,” Mister Mark explains. “I know that; but while the format is virtual, the message will be real, the fun will be real, and the love will be real.” He adds that there’s lots of fun in store for the rest of our Summer fun — and a few surprises too!
Summer Jam 2020 included live-stream events as well as pre-recorded videos, with and hands-on activities delivered right to your doorstep! Each child who registered for Summer Jam received a new backpack containing a 2020 Summer Jam T-shirt, materials for “make-and-take” items (such as an art project and a simple musical instrument), a “change for the sake of change” tub to collect loose change, and other resources safely packaged by a FUMCFW staff member. In fact, everyone in our Children’s Ministry spent all last week safely distributing those Summer Jam backpacks filled with fun crafts and treasures to all those participating!
No, this is not your typical arts camp; every Summer Jam project was specially curated by our Children’s Ministry team to help kids to process their feelings — and eventually help shape those feelings into song. By learning to communicate feelings into words, they will also be learning how to develop their compassion and empathy along the way.
So here’s how this year’s Summer Jam is unfolded throughout the week. Each day the kiddos came together for a virtual zoom gathering time where they will first engage with the program via their pre-packaged arts & crafts bags; then they heard a special lesson from Mister Mark; then played some music together with their simple musical instrument. Throughout the week they also learned and worked on writing their own song via a special songwriting workshop.
Mister Mark and all of us here at FUMCFW can’t wait to discover what our Summer Jam kids come up with in their workshop! Hopefully, they’ll soon share the song they wrote last week about how love has the power to conquer anything. Whether or not you are involved directly with this program, please celebrate with us how our First Church kids are still gathering together – in new and exciting ways – to deepen their connection with God, and with one another.
And although Summer Jam is over, the rest of our Summer Fun is just beginning! The final day to register for this year’s Vacation Bible School is this Friday. So if you haven’t had time to sign up, now is your chance to discover the wonder and awe that is VBS at FUMCFW. The kiddos registered for VBS will receive a safely packed bag, similar to the Summer Jam set up, but with new and wonderful VBS activities and projects for your “socially distant knights of North Castle” to play with and use all week long.
Mister Mark also created a brand new Children’s opportunity with Sacred Spaces. Each Monday morning, a new activity is released for you and your kids to do together at home when you can. We have found that by creating a special praying place in our own homes, it helps us not miss our favorite Worship spaces we may be missing right about now.
Our Children’s team at First Church have had to work hard to create new and innovative ways to keep learning and growing our relationships during this difficult time. They have created some very special ways to help stay connected, even though we may be physically distant, our hearts and minds can still feel connected – to God, and to one another.