Every Tuesday morning this summer, children from Emmanuel Mennonite Church have been searching for a sheep while finding fun through nature-themed stories, water games, art projects, and hands-on creation care activities.
An alternative to the traditional Vacation Bible School, the Kids’ Summer Adventure Club gives children ages 5 to 10 something to look forward to each week while ensuring the leaders stay fresh and enthusiastic. This summer, Emmanuel paired with Level Ground Mennonite Church to run the camp, as both congregations have small numbers of children.
The lessons and activities were collectively chosen by Rachel Navarro and Abby Bergen of Emmanuel Mennonite and Josh Willms of Level Ground. The theme this year is Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep from Luke 15.
A game board in the Emmanuel foyer gives participants a chance to move their playing pieces forward by doing activities to collect small prizes along the way, with a grand prize waiting at the end. A continuous activity each week has been looking for a stuffed sheep hidden somewhere inside the Emmanuel church building—or outside, when the group played water games at Level Ground.
Bergen is excited about her participation in the summer program. She portrays “Abbiana Jones,” a takeoff on the popular movie adventure character Indiana Jones, complete with appropriate costume. “[The program] is so unique,” she says. “I put the kids in charge of exploration and I like seeing their smiling faces.”
“It’s so important for us as churches to work together,” said Josh Willms of the cooperative program. “Emmanuel and Level Ground seem to connect really well and we’re looking forward to doing it again next summer.”