It was clear this year that the annual German Easter English Camp for middle schoolers wasn’t going to go ahead as normal, and the staff was discouraged. This is a camp they love! Staff brainstormed on how they could serve the campers and help them grow in Christ amid this change. Just three weeks before the traditional start to camp, the staff decided to use what they and the campers had readily available – technology. Easter English Camp was going online!
A mad dash of online staff meetings produced schedules, online platform choices, creative cultural videos sent in from TeachBeyond staff in other parts of the world, videos of Bible songs complete with dance moves, Zoom test sessions, activities for the campers to do at home off-line, and so much more! It was a rush to get it all done in time but when the campers were ready to “log in”, the staff was ready to greet them!
At the end of every day the staff came together to talk about the camp day they’d finished and the one to come. These sessions were filled with awe at what God was doing with the ‘loaves and fish’ the staff had offered to serve with. Community was happening, some great discussions were being had, and the gospel was going out. Even two campers who said they never would have attended an in-person camp but were willing to join one online. What an encouragement for the staff to hear!
At the closing session, campers’ families were invited to attend an online trivia game with their kids. Many participated and it was a fun time for all. Since the close of camp, parents have been sending in notes of gratitude to the staff for the gift the camp was to their kids. The staff has also heard from the campers that they want to get together more, and plans were being made for some community and English Club groups just days after camp ended!
Camp sessions around the world are likely to hit the same barriers as Germany, to their traditional in-person camps. As others see this happening, many also note the model of the unique, online English Camp in Germany and they’re feeling encouraged to try it. Please pray with us that God would lead, His people will follow, and good fruit would come from it all, even if it’s done in ways they never imagined