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Active Worship and Fun Taking Place at Camp GC

Kids attending Camp GC at General Council are having a great time as they learn about Jesus in their lives.

Songs of praise, team building, crafts, small groups, joyful shouts and screams, and so much more are just some of the exciting things that can be found at the 2017 Camp GC being held in the Anaheim (California) Convention Center at General Council.

The airplane theme for the camp is PILOT — Prepared, Involved, Loving, Open, Team Player. Currently there are 550 children registered for Camp GC, which provides kids with a variety of specialized rooms to accommodate teams and age levels, and includes inflatables, super-sized games, a praise and worship center, activities rooms, and more. Sixty-five skilled children’s workers lead the children, including those children with special needs.

“Matt and Carolyn Espina from Special Touch Ministry are handling the ministry to kids with special needs,” says Camp GC Director Patti Chapman. “They also provided training to our other leaders in how to best lead children with challenges.”

Terra Wouters, the worship leader at Camp GC and children’s ministry director at Verdigris Assembly, located 15 miles south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was excited about the kids’ response to worship and Camp GC.

“Every day, we emphasize that we’re praising God and it’s all about Jesus,” Wouters says. “The kids are beginning to understand what they do in their everyday life is a way to worship Jesus.”

One of the key moments of morning services is small group time. During Wednesday’s small groups, leaders admitted their greatest fears and then kids were allowed to do the same. They then were asked, “What makes you feel safe?”

Chapman then came to the stage and gave a brief lesson about how God is not only where safety can be found, but that He is with them all the time.

And safety is a primary concern at Camp GC as thorough safety measures have been put in place.

“Safety is paramount,” Chapman says. “We want parents to know that all safety measures and background checks are in place so that they can feel secure leaving their children with us.”

One of the things kids are enjoying about Camp GC is simply what adults know as “fellowship.”

“In my school, there are not a lot of Christians,” Jada, 11, from California says about Camp GC. “It’s nice to be around other Christians.”

Aleyah, 9, from South Dakota agrees. “It feels good to be here because in other places you can’t find a bunch of kids that believe as you do.”

Jen Bauchspiess heads up the preschool portion of Camp GC. As the children made edible crafts, she explained how they participated in praise and worship time with the main group in the mornings, but then had their own lessons and activities.

“The highlight, though, is Roscoe the puppet,” Bauchspiess says, who is the early childhood director of Sioux Falls (South Dakota) First. “Each evening Roscoe shares a Bible story with the children — and for some, he’s all they talk about!”

One young man, Zion, age 3, was eager to support Bauchspiess’ observation. When asked if he knew Roscoe, he immediately responded with undeniable excitement: “Yes! Do you have a picture of him? Can I see?”

That kind of excitement is also generated in the elementary ages. Matthew, age 8, from Arkansas, loves the evening Bible stories. “I like how they tell the story of the Prodigal Son,” he says. “I like how they involve the kids in it. It was fun and funny!”

Even Mercy, who is a 12-year-old child with special needs and is wheelchair bound, was all smiles and happy to respond to questions, saying she loves watching the movies.

“It’s already been a fantastic week,” says Chapman. “Kids are loving it and so are their parents as kids as responding and digging in deep to what God has for them.”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.