ALTON – A camp of Macedonia Baptist Church in Alton, was designed this summer to help students in fifth through eighth grade focus on others and ways to serve them. The camp theme, “Get Your Serve On,” helped the students focus on loving others and the practical ways to put others first.
“Kids at this age need to see the big picture,” Sue Hudson, camp director and member of Macedonia, said. “We wanted to lead them toward the importance of service and the opportunities for acts of service they could perform.”
Thirty-six children attended the camp for three days and two nights headquartered at the church with trips into the surrounding community for service. The campers were drawn from the church as well as other churches in the Eleven Point River Baptist Association and the community.
According to Hudson, more than thirty adults and high school students led the camp. “The members of our church are great,” she said, “they always pitch in to help. The thirty workers came at different times when they were needed.”
Hudson went on to explain that she designed a curriculum based on sharing faith and serving others. “I used the topic of ‘Gifted to Serve’ to teach morning lessons with scripture memory,” she said. “Then, our pastor, Joby Steele, tied the lesson into the evening message and built on it each day.”
The campers began their service with the church building and then moved out into their community with their acts of kindness. On Monday, they helped build a flower bed, a fire pit and flag pole at the church. Other projects at the church included trimming hedges, deep cleaning, and painting propane tanks. On Tuesday, campers helped pick up trash, pulled weeds from the city of Alton’s welcome sign, and visited nursing home residents in Alton and West Plains. On Wednesday, students visited local homes and did yard work for several ladies of the church.
The response to the good deeds was immediate. “When the church members saw what the campers had done they loved the improvements around our church,” Hudson said, “the veterans especially loved the flag pole. The nursing home residents thoroughly enjoyed the young people. They thanked us for bringing our children to visit and the ladies of the church appreciated all of the yard work.”
Hudson also said the pastor’s married daughter, Molly Burnett, did a wonderful job with the activities and crafts. The campers enjoyed basketball, dodge ball, making crafts, watching movies and worshiping through music. Even one of the crafts turned into a service project as they made gifts for the residents of the nursing homes.
Hudson and her crew were excited about the results of the camp. “One student became a Christian,” she said, “and many seeds were planted. All the kids loved it, they jumped in and worked hard. They showed compassion.”
Hudson believed the campers learned personal lessons. “They realized that the little things they do mean a lot,” she said. “We taught the youth that they can be on mission in their own community.”