Grenada: Science Summer Camp
Ryan Hellpap: Kingdom Workers Field Manager
Mary brought her 4-year-old son Jameel to the Grace Lutheran Science Summer Camp. She shared,” My son always loves spending time with his friends and making new ones. He liked making things that he could bring home to display, like the volcano.” She also mentioned the larger impact a Christian based camp has had on him. Saying that, “It was great to have Jameel in a fun, learning environment that re-enforced his awareness of himself as a child of God. As he had just turned 4, he really enjoyed the creative activities that introduced him to various elements of the earth as well as developing and expanding upon previous experiences with a teacher he thoroughly enjoyed.”
In July, Grace Lutheran Church held a unique camp in Grenada, The Grace Lutheran Science Summer Camp. The focus was to reach children at Grace and those from the surrounding community with the message of God’s creation and our role in it. Of the 74 children that attended, 45% were from the community around Grace and 90% are not Grace members.
12 volunteers from WLC partnered with 7 Grace staff and 6 local volunteers to carry out a summer camp in Grenada engaging the young minds of primary school kids from the Grace community in discovering the wonders of God’s creation. New Grace Principal Kelvin Dottin described a bit of what he saw as he was the spiritual leader filling in for Pastor Rautenberg for the camp. He provided daily devotions for the kids and answered any questions people had about the school and spiritual matters.
Mr. Dottin expressed at the beginning, he didn’t know much as this was his first time with the camp. “I knew it was going to be about science and the Bible would be worked in.” I also didn’t realize it would attract so many kids!” As the volunteers and staff began the camp, it became clear there was a lot more than just science and Bible education.
He said, “[There were] lots of activities! The [WLC] volunteers knew how to handle the kids and age groups that they worked with.” He also noted the practical application of a Grace Lutheran primary school education. “I observed that Grace kids actually behaved really well. The Grace kids were much more behaved than everyone else.” In general, he said because of the volunteers, “The discipline was good. All kids behaved really well. The songs were really nice. The physical education [volunteer instructors] were amazing. We actually want to use the techniques in our school.”
In particular Mr. Dottin noted that kids were changing and Grace was getting a good reputation in the community. He noted that one young boy really felt the impact. “The change in Jonathan was amazing! It was almost like miraculous. He was unstructured, unsettled, running around the place crying. It was amazing to me.” His parents were so thrilled they actually enrolled him at Grace after the camp. Mr. Dottin shared, “I really think it had to do with the whole experience he had at the camp. Mrs. Linda Ebling, she knew them really well and worked with him. He actually came to Grace after science camp. The parents saw the value of having him here and brought him in.”
Local volunteers really felt the impact as well. A young teacher from the community, Rosemary, actually helped Mrs. Ebling for the camp. She stated her favorite thing about the camp was, “[It was] craft time. It was really nice to see the kids from day one to the last day really start to understand what they were doing was science. Even though they were 4k kids, they really started to look forward to what they were doing each day. They even started doing things at craft time without instruction.” This left a profound impression on the parents.
In the end, the gospel was spread by daily devotion each morning and the incorporation of biblical principals were made in each science lesson. The children also learned bible based environmental songs that the performed at a community gathering on the final day of camp. The physical needs of the community were met by helping to establish at a young age the necessity of caring for God’s gifts to us. Namely, learning how the environment works and managing it in a sustainable way. At the same time, Grace once again increased their presence in the community by helping others and building relationships through local and international volunteer efforts.