Art Camp Brings VBS New Life

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The unique vacation Bible school (VBS) program at Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Princeton, Minn., has fostered remarkable success.

The church recently hosted its ninth annual BAC2ONE art camp for children in grades 2 through 8.

This year, all 150 slots were filled within eight hours of online registration, with more children on a waiting list.

“It’s huge in this area,” said camp director Julie De Haan. “God’s been really gracious in giving us people to work alongside of us.”

In previous years, Bethel’s VBS program yielded disappointing turnouts. De Haan’s mind began to race with possibilities, however, after seeing her own kids’ excitement from attending a Christian art camp. At that point, she “caught the vision.”

That vision appears to be contagious. At least half of the classroom teachers for BAC2ONE are from the community and belong to other churches. “People literally arrange their summers to be part of BAC2ONE—that’s how excited they are about it,” said De Haan.

Teens also play a large role in the program. Jason Ruis, Bethel’s youth director, loves watching how God is “raising up young leaders in the church” and impacting the community as a result.

Abbi McCray, a high school small-group leader said, “Watching a second-grader come to Jesus before my eyes was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
Ethan, a 9-year-old boy from the community, told his leaders, “This was the best week of my summer.”

Participating campers were divided into two groups: grades 2 through 5 and grades 6 through 8. This year’s camp theme, “Imagine That!”, challenged campers to see God’s creative hand in the world and in their lives.

Approximately 150 team members and countless financial sponsors made the art camp possible, and with it, the ability to point kids and adults alike to God.

About the Author

Jessica Oosterhouse is the Banner’s regional news correspondent for classes Lake Superior, Minnkota, and Wisconsin.

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EverGreen Ministries in Hudsonville, MI has been running an arts camp for a number of years as well.  It has found similar results.

Westwood CRC in Kalamazoo has done a similar art camps (two each summer) for the past seven years. Each year  the camp is full with a waiting list.  Next year we hope to multiply the camps to various  church locations around Kalamazoo using our gifted staff for several weeks in the summer. 

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