NAPLES—In mid-June, 48 elementary students from the Naples area spent a week serving others at North Naples Church Serve Your World Camp.
Since 2015, the aim of the camp has been to instill a spirit of service and volunteerism in children, beyond what a regular Vacation Bible School experience could do. Children learn the importance of serving others, including those in their own community.
During the camp, children 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 past three years, 128 campers and 86 volunteers have participated.
Children are encouraged to take what they learn in camp and practice it in their daily lives. One former camp counselor noted that that service is an essential aspect of our faith journey.
“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,” she recalled.
“I have always loved reading and I wanted to make books available to the children in Immokalee.” She collected 600 books for the Boys and Girls Club’s first library.
The theme of this year’s camp “Making It Happen” was based on Isaiah 60:22: “The smallest family will become a thousand people and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.”
In addition to hands-on projects, campers also 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 and 60 care packages were created for The Village School teachers.