For 10 years, summer has meant lots of soccer-playing kids for First Christian Reformed Church in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. This summer was no exception.
More than 80 kids registered for the church’s soccer camp, run during the third week of July. Every year participants in Youth Unlimited’s ENCOUNTERs program help lead camps at the church, including the soccer camp.
Alexandria (Ally) Vanderlei from Wingham, Ontario; Aaron Elsing from Flushing, Mich.; and Adrianna Oudman from Wheatfield, Ind., said they felt challenged both physically and mentally during their time leading the camp.
Vanderlei, a member of Lucknow (Ont.) Community CRC, loved her ENCOUNTER experience. “There were physical and spiritual challenges as I was forced to do things that I don’t normally do—like act and talk about my faith in front of a group,” she said. “I now feel confident in my abilities because I was forced to work outside my box. I would do something like this camp again in a heartbeat!”
Camp director Ernie Sandstra said the ENCOUNTER teams are valuable to the church. “We’ve had some really terrific teams come out,” he said. “We know many seeds have been planted not only for the kids, but for staff members, parents, and so many others touched by this camp.”
The soccer camp is just one of several offered by First CRC each summer. That makes it one of the longest-running ENCOUNTER projects offered by Youth Unlimited. ENCOUNTER programs are longer than regular service projects and focus on leadership training.