In the middle of August, 152 kids from the neighborhood of Coit Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., participated in Spring Hills day camp. Coordinated by Jerome Burton, Coit Community’s pastor, Tim Basset, program director of Spring Hill, and Barbara Reed, principal of Coit Creative Art School, it was a place for children to hear and experience the gospel message.
Jack and Pat Buist contacted Burton and encouraged him to set up the camp in the Coit Community neighborhood. They set up a foundation to help children in Grand Rapids attend the camp following the death of their son Jesse, age 13, in 1997. “One of the things that really impacted Jesse’s life was Spring Hill camp,” said Burton.
“Most of the kids from the immediate neighborhood have never heard the gospel of Christ, and many of them have never attended church,” said Coit Community church administrator Kristin Burton.
In addition to hearing the gospel and learning more about the church, the children were also challenged to learn about trust through camp activities that included archery, bungee trampoline, camp songs, and a climbing wall.
“They were challenged to overcome fears such as heights, fear of failure, and fear of embarrassment,” said Burton. “The lessons to follow each activity talked about trusting God when we can’t see and fear is all around us.”
Burton also talked about the lessons the church and participating members learned from their effort.
“We can learn that God has already gone before us to prepare the harvest field. Therefore we don’t have to be afraid to go into our neighborhood,” said Burton.