Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Princeton, Minn., replaced its vacation Bible school with a summer art camp five years ago. From the very start it has been a success.
This year, 163 children from second to eighth grades attended the July camp. Twenty-three more participated in a mini-camp for younger children.
Students selected from 75 different classes on subjects from creative writing, drama, sign language, and story telling to dance, making smoothies and ice coffees, paintball, and basket weaving.
“I learned how to paint on eggs [and] how to make stamps,” said 11-year-old Carrie Rosenberg.
Rev. Cal Friend, pastor of Bethel, said the most popular class was woodworking, in which students constructed Adirondack lawn chairs.
”Some of the kids came to make a present for their mom or dad,” he said.
Students also heard about how deeply God loves them. Biblical messages during the focus time centered on the theme “Be Rooted,” in which campers learned that life is best when rooted in God’s love.
Director Julie De Haan brought the camp idea to Minnesota after her two oldest children attended an art camp in Michigan. She knew her church included many talented people interested in creativity. Leaders range from teens to 90-year-olds.