Trained and Ready
For KIdsFest '12
It takes heart. It takes dedication. It takes a willingness to go the extra mile to give yourself away to others. There's also a lot of fun and laughter in the midst of it all. That's just a portion of what it takes to lead almost 1,400 elementary-aged campers in a week-long summer adventure complete with live music, skits, Bible lessons, sports, competition, waterdays and all-out fun. That's what it takes to be part of the team of KidsFest Summer Staff.
When Week 1 of KidsFest '12 kicked off at Orchard Hill on Sunday, July 8, over 450 campers were met by a team of energetic leaders ready to make sure each child had a blast in their weeklong funfest. But the skills required of KidsFest Summer Staff goes beyond just having a fun time. There is much preparation necessary to make sure each child has a safe and rewarding week.
To prepare for KidsFest, this year's Summer Staff spent four days in leadership training designed to build community and provide the information and skills necessary to ensure campers receive the best possible care and experience. Two days were spent off-site, including an overnight excursion with team-building activities and a service project, and two days were spent at Orchard Hill. The two days of on-site training focused on all the components of the camp, including how to handle emergencies, weather situations, behavior issues and possible medical problems – even instructions from a nurse on how to administer an EpiPen and inhalers. Summer Staff also practiced sharing the Gospel effectively and learning how to lead times of age appropriate small group discussion.
In addition to spending a day and night away from the demands of daily life to get to know one another and build community, the Summer Staff joined with adult volunteers to give back to the community. In conjunction with the Eleos Pittsburgh ministry of Orchard Hill a team of 145 became Team Eleos on Monday, July 2 at the Light of Life Rescue Mission on Pittsburgh's Northside. Some prepared and delivered meals to two senior citizen high-rises; others did yard work and cleaned up around the area; and others held a mini-KidsFest for the children in Light of Life's Women and Children's program that included face painting, Bible stories and free choice sports. Click here for more picture of this day of serving.
"Our goal was to have the leaders bond and feel comfortable with each other as well as understand all the details and behind-the-scenes complexities of camp," said Cindy Runco, Director of Orchard Hill Sports & Rec. "The investment we make in Summer Staff pays priceless dividends when we see the campers' smiling faces and witness young hearts being touched by Christ."
Summer Staff were not the only group to receive training for KidsFest '12. This year, for the first time, Middle School Serve volunteers had a two-day overnight training at the church. These middle school students work in free choice, childcare or arts and crafts areas of KidsFest. "We wanted these kids to feel part of a greater community and bond together before they started serving at KidsFest, "said Jenna Bajuszik, Orchard Hill Middle School Ministry Staff.
KidsFest is a daylong funfest for kids entering first through sixth grade and runs for three consecutive weeks: July 8-15, July 15-22, and July 22-29. Click here for more information about KidsFest '12.