By Lindsey Reed
Campus Kids was started in January of 2019 as a monthly after school program for the school-aged children whose parents are on staff with YWAM Turner Valley. The heart in starting this program was to have our “tiny missionaries” more involved with the larger community on our campus, and to give them the opportunity to grow a stronger community amongst themselves.
We hadn’t run a Campus Kids event since the start of the restrictions brought on by COVID-19 in March. All of our 14 school-aged kids had largely spent the last four months homeschooling, trying to keep themselves entertained without the accessibility of parks or pools, and having their siblings as their main point of community. In early spring, a burden was laid on the heart of a woman on our staff team:
“I want them to encounter the Lord! I want them to learn to love God’s presence, to learn how to walk in relationship with Him, to be spurred on by other kids their age, and to see others relating to God and worshiping Him so that their faith may be strengthened. I want them to learn to listen to His voice. I want them to learn how to surrender, submit to, and be led by the Holy Spirit. I want their faith to be real, strong, a firm foundation built before they leave home. I want them to bow their knees before Him as Lord! I want them to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before their God!”
What better way to see this happen than to return to Campus Kids, not just as a monthly event, but as a weekly program for the duration of the summer! A plan was formed: every Wednesday, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, the school-aged kids would come to the YWAM Turner Valley campus to take part in worship, a devotional, discussion groups, crafts, activities, and games. Our goal was to inspire a community that encouraged each other to grow in faith, building firm foundations on God’s Word and character. Before we knew it…
“ROYALS! ROYALS! ROYALS!” chanted ten high-pitched, energetic voices.
Gathered on the back lawn, ten children between the ages of four and ten, huddled around a Bluetooth speaker along with their three leaders. The first day of the first Campus Kids Summer Day Camp was starting, and already the joy and excitement brought by this group of small(er) humans was shifting the atmosphere on our campus. Soon, the Bluetooth speaker pumped out a fast-paced, techno beat and the children gathered around it shouted gleefully and assembled themselves into a formation only they seemed to understand or know. With passion and dedication, they began to sing along to the familiar lyrics they had sung countless times during their family outreach to Myanmar at the end of 2019. The notes came with some stumbling, but the actions were flawlessly executed. This was their song. The promises in the lyrics were theirs.
“We are daughters! We are sons! More than mortals, we are royals! We are Yours!”
Our prayer was that these kids would continue to grow and be guided in their lives through the truth of those lyrics. Our prayer was that in the same way we saw these tiny missionaries relying on one another for the words or the actions in the song, they would continue to lean on each other as they grow in their faith. Our prayer is that these children will be able to look back on those summer days of Campus Kids and see fruit in their lives from being part of this community of young YWAMers.
The aforementioned song is “We are Royals” by North Point Worship, Chris Cauley.