Do you have little girls like I do? Ever wish there was a camp for young girls that would focus on biblically based character qualities, while pointing them to God’s Word in a fun and active environment? I sure do!
As I began looking over our summer and planning fun events for my kids and our family, I began longing for a camp like that, that also didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. Well, I didn’t find it. I began praying about what God would have me do with my girls this summer that would point them to him as well as focus on some of the qualities that we desire to see them develop. As has become typical in my life when I pray, I didn’t get something I could send my kids off to, but instead, God showed me ways that I could create this fun and equipping camp for my kids…. right here in our home! I know it sounds crazy, but just trust me, if you asked my kids what their favorite week of the summer was, they would be sure to tell you about “Camp Virtue”.
Camp Virtue is what I chose to call it. We held “camp” for 3 days in mid-July right here in our home. It took planning and “Pinteresting”, and prayer and study, but it was definitely worth it. My kids came out with a greater understanding of several stories from scripture as well as how they relate to our every-day lives. I never want them to think that the Bible is boring as some disenfranchised folks would have them believe. It’s just not true! And this Mama will spend her last bits of energy pointing her children to Christ so that they will truly know him.
Here’s a peek at “Camp Virtue 2014”:
One of the first things I did was raid our local Dollar Store like Southerners raid the grocery store before it snows. This didn’t cost a lot to do, but the impacts were profound. I put together a whole Hawaiian theme, complete with hula skirts for the girls, because what game isn’t more fun with a hula skirt on??!
We started each morning in our living room, which we nicknamed the “Cozy Room” for the week. I would tell my “campers” the agenda for that day and go over our theme verses for the week. We would play games to remember the verses and by the end of the week, even the baby was trying to say it! “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
Then we’d move “fireside” where I’d tell our first Bible story, which had to do with the virtue we were studying that day. While those verses are jam-packed with amazing virtues, there was only so much time, so for our camp week we focused on goodness, self-control, and perseverance. Each story showed someone learning or exhibiting these virtues. Now, when I say one of those words around the house, their little ears perk up and I can tell they are recalling the lessons they learned from Camp Virtue. Games are an essential part of any camp, so we played many. They were a mix of games I read about on-line or played with my own sisters growing up. My Mom rarely let us watch t.v. so we were always coming up with something to entertain ourselves. Thanks Mom! Your perseverance paid off!
We did several games blind-folded (because it’s fun) and because one of the verses that follow our key passage says: “But whoever does not have them (the virtues) is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” So, I tried to keep reminding the girls that we are to put these virtues on in increasing measure and not forget what God has done for us in forgiving us of our sins.
Snack time was a highlight of each day. I bought some simple Hawaiian themed toothpicks to poke into fruit or cheese some days, but our favorite was this little gem, which a friend had posted on Facebook and I knew I had to use. It’s called “Bear on the Beach”. Isn’t it cute??! This “honey graham bear” is laying on a fruit Roll-up towel. Adorable.Other game-times included going outside and using balloons or playing “pin the beach ball on the Flamingo” inside. While most games went according to plan, I did learn that water balloons look a whole lot easier to fill than they actually are and unfortunately never got to use those wretched things! I was disappointed about that one!
Craft time was probably the girls favorite part of camp. We had so much fun painting sea shells, making Sand Art, and modge-podging (for the first time ever!) I don’t consider myself crafty, so this part was a stretch for me, but the girls love it, so I figure it’s time to embrace craftiness and just go for it!
This hot air balloon craft followed one of our Bible stories, where some men brought their friend to Jesus to be healed (Mark 2). Jesus didn’t only heal the man, he also saved him! Our theme that day was “Carry goodness to all you meet”. These now hang in the girls’ bedrooms as a constant reminder.
On our last day, we made bookmarks with our theme verses on them. I wanted the girls to be reminded of our fun week of camp all year-long as they read or just look at it. More importantly, I want them to hide God’s word in their heart, so this was a fun way to help them to do it. We laminated the bookmarks and used paper from our other crafts.
So there you have it…”Camp Virtue 2014″! If you ever wanted to do something like this or were inspired by reading this, do it!! You’ll be glad you did. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll learn a lot and your kids will too! Next year, we hope to invite a few friends as my prayer for our little girls (and myself) is that they would grow to be more and more like Christ.