Summer camp or VBS ideas

Summer camp or VBS ideas

Here’s an idea for summer camps or VBS from our Pacific Northwest MMI, Jennifer Russell.

Here’s an idea for summer camps or VBS from our Pacific Northwest MMI, Jennifer Russell.

International Intermediate Camp – 2005
Pilgrim Firs, Pacific Northwest Conference UCC

During July my husband and I co-directed an intermediate-aged camp (kids going into 5th and 6th grades) at Pilgrim Firs, a UCC Camp close to Seattle. We called it “International Intermediate Camp” as we knew we were
going to have some international staff. It is never too early to start to think about camping programs for next summer and how you might do some mission education at them. Here’s what we did.

Staff: We were blessed with five young adult members of the PROK, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea-East Seoul Presbytery with whom the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC has been in relationship with for 11 years. These young adults arrived on Saturday from Korea and camp started the next day. Next time it would be great to have a little more time for them to acclimate before putting them to work. In addition we had Mackenzie Searles, a GM volunteer, who had left China where her parents serve (Liz and Doug Searles) to attend college at Pacific University.  Mackenzie has lived in China for four years and earlier lived for two years in India. Every cabin had Korean staff and another staff person who was familiar with camp and had English as their first language.

Here is an abbreviated look at what we did during program time in the mornings.

Latin America and the Caribbean
We had a church member from Brazil come and speak about Brazil. She taught
them Portuguese, the Samba, and some history.

We showed the Global Ministries video – Connecting Threads: Beneath African
Skies and used CWS’s The Long Journey game. This game teaches about
refugees in Africa in particular.

Southern Asia
We showed Connecting Threads: Against the Current, Toward the Light. We
then created three conversation corners where we learned about missionaries
from India coming to the US, growing up in a different culture, and Indian
marriage customs.

Europe and the Middle East
This was Bastille Day and so it was appropriate to be in this region.
We showed Connecting Threads: Lilies Among the Thorns.
We created a “pop quiz” about Judaism, Islam, and Christianity which the
kids self-corrected. It gave an intro to these three important religions.

East Asia and the Pacific
We turned over the program time to our Korean guests who shared Korean games
(which they had also done during activity times during the week), music, and

Some of the best moments came when campers and our Korean staff connected.
Or when a child asked, “Will the Koreans be back next year?” Please
encourage your camp and Vacation Church School staffs to share about the
global community and mission in their places.

Check us out the camp website:, click on Galleries, Intermediate Camp

Rev. Jennifer Russell
Mission Educator for the Global Ministries Committee Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ