Day Two at Kingdom Camp has brought a joyful group of elementary school-aged children bustling through Peace Fellowship’s doors. Full of energy and excitement for fun and games, these kids are a welcome presence in our building. As a congregation, we have often lamented that our building does not get as much use as it could–thankfully, Kingdom Camp is giving us a chance to use every foot of our aging-but-beautiful space.
A popular buzz word in education is “summer learning loss,” hinting at the idea that the long summer break from school often results in kids returning to the classroom behind where they finished the previous year. Many wonderful summer programs in D.C. help provide opportunities for children to that help avoid this loss. However, many such programs end in July. The result is that many children still have an entire month before they return to school, and summer learning loss can still very much occur. Summer learning loss is especially likely to affect children from lower income households whose families may not have the means to pay for more expensive programs.
It was in full knowledge of these gaps that Peace Fellowship decided to pilot Kingdom Camp during the middle two weeks of August. Kids at Kingdom Camp are not just having fun with games and art projects, but through their daily Bible Lessons and a specific Literacy time, they are engaging in the kinds of activities that will keep them primed for school.
The name “Kingdom Camp” hints at a twofold aspect of the vision for this summer program: 1) Teaching kids how to live in the kingdom of God by learning to love Jesus and to care for their neighbors, and 2)The camp itself is an instance of the kingdom of God, where justice rolls like a river. We are trying to do our part to address the inequities that are very real in our little corner of the world, whether that is unemployment, summer learning loss, or hunger (by offering free lunch to any neighborhood child or program participant).
We pray that our small effort would be magnified by God’s greatness in the lives of each child who comes through our doors this summer. We trust that the relationships we build with the campers and their families will gives us more opportunities to love and support them in the coming years.
Literacy/Enrichment is a fun way to help kids retain what they’ve learned so they’re prepared for the new school year.Andrea Pippins