Oregon Church Expands on VBS

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Children who attend Son Seeker Camp at Oak Hills Christian Reformed Church in Beaverton, Ore., are not only learning songs and Bible verses but also discovering how to cook, build parade floats, and take photographs.

The congregation opened its doors to 125 campers ages 4 through 12, along with more than 70 volunteers.

After a morning of singing and Bible stories in the traditional vacation Bible school, older children may participate in activities called “electives.” Each camper chooses three electives when they register.

One group of children designed and built a parade float for the local 4th of July parade. Others learned about gardening and planted their own flowers in pots. A local photographer set up a small studio in a classroom and taught kids to take pictures with their cameras.

Shauna Westra, co-coordinator of Son Seeker camp said, “Kitchen Creations is the most popular. They get to eat whatever they make.”

Adults within the church and community choose an elective they would like to teach based on their gifts and interests. They only need to give an hour or two of their time each day. “It can be something they like to do and would enjoy sharing with kids,” said Westra.

About one-quarter of the campers are members of Oak Hills CRC. Most of the children are friends with others in the church or live in the Oak Hills neighborhood. “It has gotten our church involved in the summer camp aspect. . . . It helps [church members] see the kids in the community and get excited about it,” said Westra.

About the Author

Amy Toornstra is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Salem, Oregon.

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