NAPLES, FL, June 18-22, 2018-Summertime is an opportunity for kids to have fun and take a break from school. In Naples, FL, 48 elementary students embarked on a week of serving others at North Naples Church Serve Your World Camp.
After many years of successful Vacation Bible School, the children’s ministry staff recognized that there could be a way to instill service and volunteerism in children that would have a more lasting impact than a traditional VBS. Thus, Serve Your World Camp was born in 2015. The mission of the camp is to provide children with an opportunity to participate in service-focused activities that will open their eyes to the importance of serving others, including those in their own community.
During the camp, campers are provided with opportunities to serve the church, community and world. Past projects have included honoring local veterans, preparing care packages for active military, collecting food for Collier County First Responders and washing their vehicles, preparing hurricane kits for kids and pets with Collier County Emergency Management and more. In the three years of the camp’s duration, there have been 128 campers and 86 volunteers that have been impacted.
Ultimately, the goal is that children will be inspired to take what they learn in camp and practice it in their daily lives. Serve Your World Camp Counselor, Sara B., did just this. “Service is an essential aspect of our relationships with Christ. I felt it was important for the children at North Naples Church and me to grow in our relationships with Christ through a book drive to support the Boys and Girls Club of Immokalee, as many of them do not have access to age-appropriate books. I have always loved reading and I wanted to make books available to the children in Immokalee.” Sara was so inspired from her camp experience that she collected 600 books for the Boys and Girls Club’s first library.
The theme of this year’s camp “Making It Happen” is based on the Bible verse, Isaiah 60:22: “The smallest family will become a thousand people and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.” Our desire is for children to know that they are never too young to make a difference and even small dreams can have lasting impact.
Not only do the campers get to do hands-on projects, they also get to raise funds for a charity of their choice by creating an art project for their families and friends to bid on via Facebook during the camp week. This year, $2,905 was raised for 23 charities. In addition to the 39 hurricane kits prepared for kids and pets, 108 crafts were made for an Orlando senior citizen home, 60 care packages were created for The Village School teachers and more.
We are looking forward to the growth and expansion of this impactful camp experience for youth in Collier County. If your incoming 1st-5th grade student is interested in joining us next year, check out our website when registration goes live on March 1, 2019!
North Naples Church is a United Methodist Church in Naples, FL that is a family, inspiring and equipping people to follow Jesus.