Plattsville EMC loves to bless their community. A few years back they discovered there were no summer camps or other programs in operation for kids. With the heightened need for daycare in the summertime, this was a real need. “We realized we could do something about that”, says Pastor Tim Clayton. They decided to run a day camp.
Except for last summer when COVID made it impossible, each year they have hired staff, developed their own program according to the gifts and abilities of the current staff, and hosted children for fun-filled, fast-paced day camp, running from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays. For those parents who needed it, there has been the option of dropping kids off an hour early and picking them up an hour after each day’s program ended. Plattsville, Ontario is a small community of under 1500 and is a bedroom community for those who work in nearby larger centres.
This year they filled their available spaces and ran five weeks of summer day camp. They purchased four 20×40 tents and set them up in the parking lot. They divided the kids into cohorts and they rotated from tent to tent for crafts, theme activities, an imagination station and sports.
Government grants helped the church hire summer students, and over the course of five weeks, 160 kids enjoyed themselves this year, with the help of a team of fourteen staff made up of students, church staff and others from the church. “Our primary goal is to meet the community’s childcare need,” says Pastor Tim. “We talked about Jesus and invited someone who works with YFC to help, but it was not a VBS.”
As they have consistently met this childcare need over several years, now people are calling the church before summer to find out the dates and sign their kids up. Each fall the church plans a fun family event and invites all the families whose children came to day camp. Lots of families show up, clearly comfortable attending an event run by a church. “We want to be building a bridge for those who may be considering investigating faith in Jesus and what church is all about.” This year in late September there will be laser tag, a food truck with poutine (yum), and other surprises.
This article is featured in the Fall 2021 edition of The EMCC Together newsletter.
Download a PDF copy of the newsletter and previous EMCC Together publications here.