Originally published in Western Recorder-www.westernrecorder.org
LOUISVILLE—Westport Road Baptist Church in Louisville saw 281 kids from the church, the community, and even across town gather July 24-28 for WinShape day camps. This marked the fifth year that Westport Road has hosted WinShape, a gospel driven, community centered, Chick-Fil-A-sponsored day camp.
“It just brings an energy, I think, into the church,” Jeanne McClure, Westport’s children’s minister, said of the program. “We have a church that supports children’s ministry. I think that when they see WinShape, and they see the energy and how excited our church kids get about it and how excited the volunteers get to do it, it energizes just the church as a whole.”
McClure added that it emphasizes “the fun of children’s ministry and the importance of children’s ministry when they hear about the gospel that’s been shared and the interaction of the kids.”
Westport partnered with various ministries around town who sponsored kid’s weeks at camp and sent volunteers. Westport itself provided a volunteer coordinator and a scholarship coordinator to ensure that as many children as possible could attend, as well as 85 volunteers throughout the course of the week.
WinShape, which also hosted a camp at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, provides a day of fun and worship for the kids, including 19 “skills” to choose from including, basketball, wacky science, and archery. The kids are divided into teams and villages, and hold small group time within their teams twice a day.
Abigail Akrong, a sophomore at Centre College and member of Westport Road, has been working with WinShape as a church volunteer for the past two years. This year, she returned as a counselor for the camp.
“I just love their mission, how they try to connect the community and the churches and kind of go outside the four walls of the church and really reach out to families,” Akrong said.
She noted the importance of Westport Road’s scholarship involvement, as well. “Kids who might not be able to go to church normally or get to know Jesus get to come and spend a week having fun but also just learning about Jesus.”
Akrong’s favorite part is team time because the counselors get to know the kids well and emphasize the gospel in a small group setting. After that, she enjoys worship, particularly getting to watch the kids worship from the heart.
Akrong added, “So, the energy and the skills and team time and everything point back to Christ, but they still have a lot of fun. Fun is one of the core values we have, but also Christ centered truths. So just letting those two go hand in hand is just really awesome.” (WR)