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In It To Win It, A Race For The Crown

March 13, 2016 Ocklawaha, FL

Wow! What a great camp. The Sunday school children from all congregations in Florida gathered March 11-13, 2016 at Southwind Camp in Ocklawaha, Florida for a great weekend. When we arrived we knew what our camp was based on this year - the Olympics. Our theme “In It To Win It, A Race For The Crown” was all around us.

We gathered on Friday evening and invited all the campers to JOIN IN– children, parents, Sunday school teachers and youth volunteers. The games were so much fun. Our first bible message was about Saul. Saul believed he was on a mission from God when he persecuted the Christians. We learned that he was blinded and was brought to Ananias. Ananias knew that Saul had been killing Christians, but he obeyed God and placed his hands on Saul. Saul’s sight was restored and this is when Saul decided to JOIN IN and become a part of God’s team!

Saturday began with some chilly weather but there was excitement even when breakfast was being eaten. Right after breakfast our campers TEAMED UP in their assigned teams and the OPENING CEREMONIES began! Each team marched in wearing their team colors and following their team flag!
The Olympic torch was lit by one of our Olympians. We worshiped with some awesome worship songs and a heard a message about Saul! Well, Saul was also named Paul. And we heard how Paul was preaching in a city but not everyone was happy with him. He needed members of his TEAM to help him escape the city. He escaped in a basket over the city walls.

The Olympians gathered heard some touching stories from some Special Olympians. Our children made bracelets to give to the Special Olympics and put together some ribbons for them. The children traced and cut out their hands to write prayers on them. The hands were made into torches. The torches decorated our altar on Sunday.

Then the games began. Our children TEAMED UP and traveled from activity to activity to earn points for their team. It was great seeing all the children TEAM UP and encourage each other. When the games were completed we gathered back together to award our campers their medals! Even if my team didn’t win I am a winner because I AM ON GOD’S TEAM!

The afternoon was spent swimming, canoeing, playing games, eating snacks or going on one of the challenging rides the camp offers. The game room was busy, as was the basketball court and the snack bar.

After dinner there was much excitement in anticipation of our annual talent show. Wow! These children are talented. Our children’s orchestra was fantastic. The singers, actors and dancers were fabulous. Our message in the evening was STAY STRONG! We saw a short video of the Jamaican Bobsled team. Those Olympians worked hard to get to the Olympics. Then……the “Camp” Bobsled team was on stage! They were cool! Our story of Paul continued when Paul was in the temple preaching. A riot broke out and Paul was arrested and thrown in jail. He was in jail for 2 years but he STAYED STRONG! To close out the evening we all sang a worship song and prayed. We need to prepare for Sunday!

After breakfast all campers gathered for service. Our children’s orchestra helped prepare the way for service. The orchestra was comprised of all children and they were awesome. All were invited to praise and worship together before the service. Our service began with another message about Paul. Paul was still a prisoner. He was put on a boat and the journey begins. Paul was encouraged to KEEP ON trusting God even on this boat. There were winds, rough seas and eventually the boat crashed! But, Paul trusted God and all on the boat were saved!

Apostle Hecht relayed the story of a Marathon runner in the Olympics. Even when the other runners had finished this Marathon runner was encourage to KEEP ON! He was last – but he finished the race and he was able to CELEBRATE THE FINISH LINE! Our campers were encouraged to do the same.

Following the service all the campers gathered for our annual picture! Lunch was served and soon it was time to take leave. There were tears and well wishes for friends made. Everyone agreed this was the Best Camp Yet! We are so happy we are ON GOD’S TEAM!

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