“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
One of the many cool things about Jesus is that he is always doing something new in his people, even as his deep love stays the same. Similarly, new things are in the works for a transformative Jr. High ministry this summer, while the same mission of loving each camper and valuing their unique identities remains at its core. Using my understanding of child and youth development and direct experience with this age group, I have been working hard this Spring to develop a camp program that is tailored to the unique experiences and needs of middle schoolers. Here are two developments that are new to Jr. High Camp 2015:
Bible studies and small group time will be inquiry-based.
Allowing campers’ own questions, observations, and reflections to direct small group discussions heightens engagement with bible study themes and ensures that the topics discussed are relevant to campers’ lives. At the beginning of each week, after a brief introduction to the large group bible study concept, jr. high campers will have the opportunity to submit anonymous questions or thoughts which they would like to like to explore throughout the rest of the week. Each subsequent small group discussion will be centred around these submissions.
Jr. Highs will have the opportunity to develop their strengths and leadership skills with Leadership Friday’s.
Middle schoolers are often caught in the “in between” space– not assumed to be old enough to be treated like adults, but too old to be perceived as children. It is my hope to create an empowering environment where these youth feel that they are taken seriously and are provided with the resources they need to grow as mature leaders. Each Friday, a jr. high camper will be paired up with a camp staff member to assist or take the wheel as is appropriate. The day will close with a debrief, in which campers will receive individual feedback about their strengths and ways they can continue to develop their abilities as leaders.
There are some aspects of camp that reappear year after year, unchanged. This summer you and your middle schoolers can expect to see more of the awesome activities and trips that made last summer so much fun! Here’s a sneak peek to ease some of the suspense (and build up excitement):
- Fear Factor
- The Amazing Race
- Day trip & more!
Hope to see you there!
Jr High Program Director