Fun and Games with a Purpose

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Fun, games, and sportsmanship rule at Ideal Park Christian Reformed Church’s Monday-evening sports camp in Wyoming, Mich.

Nearly three dozen 4th- through 8th-graders play indoor versions of dodge ball, kick ball, jump rope, hula hoop, limbo, and other activities, adapted for team and Olympic-style games by leader William Van Eerden.

Many of the youths have little or no exposure to church other than through the camp, in its second year. “It’s to get the kids comfortable with coming to church,” Van Eerden said.

 The 128-member church built the activity center where the games take place for neighborhood outreach, he explained. While teaching basic sports skills, leaders advocate Bible principles such as kindness and consideration and invite the youths to the church’s GEMS and Cadet clubs.

Free hooded sweatshirts serve as incentives to bring friends, and attendees receive a free T-shirt. To accommodate the growing attendance, leaders split girls and boys into alternating weeks.

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