We have previously shared the story of Ridgeway Mennonite Church sending children from their community Kids Club to Highland Summer Camps. This summer, Highland was privileged to once again partner with Ridgeway in ministering to children from the Harrisonburg community. What’s more, Regina Shultz, one of our camp nurses and a member of Harrisonburg Mennonite Church (HMC), heard about what Ridgeway was doing and took the idea back to her own church.
HMC has been reaching out to children in University Place, a low income housing apartment complex near the church, since 2015. Under the leadership of Pastor Jake Lee, about 50 elementary-age children from University Place have been invited to Bible School, neighborhood parties, Wednesday evening meals, and Venture Club for kids. Regina suggested that the kids who had been faithful attendees of Venture Club might enjoy Highland’s VBS Day Camp. HMC leadership got on board, and when Regina took the idea to the families in University Place, she received many positive responses.
The HMC family stepped up to make the project possible: individuals committed to sponsoring a child, bus drivers drove them back and forth to Highland, and a Sunday school class packed breakfast each morning of camp for the 14 children who participated. Regina was heavily involved during the week of camp, too: she knocked on doors to give morning wake-up calls; supervised breakfasts and bus rides; and stayed nearby at Highland each day, volunteering in the kitchen and taking opportunities to watch the children from University Place enjoy camp.
The children loved their week of day camp, making all the effort well worth it. They were excited to make friends and bond with counselors, hear Bible stories and sing worship songs, swim in the pool and catch crayfish in the stream. Several wished they could come every week of the summer!
We are so grateful for churches like HMC and Ridgeway; we thank God for the Kingdom work they are doing in their communities, and rejoice at the opportunities to further speak life into these children while they are here at camp.