Sunday, August 21, 2011

Boot Camp

Earlier this Summer, I began volunteering as a small group leader in Transit, the middle school program at Browns Bridge Church. For the sixth graders, Transit holds a weekend camp called "Boot Camp" to kick things off after school starts to help create community in the small groups. This is a huge experience for these rising 6th graders as for many, it is their first camp experience on their own.

Sporting my new boot camp haircut #transitbootcamp on Twitpic
I elected to implement a special haircut for the Boot Camp weekend.

The response this year was huge, around 200 6th graders signed up, so five buses were waiting at send-off to shuttle us to the FFA campground near Covington, GA. After everyone got signed in, there were tons of Pizza waiting for the kids before we hit the highway.

Bus load of 6th graders hyped up on pizza and coke...1hr ride... on Twitpic
The buses were electric with the kids chattering and activity on the highway.

Once we arrived at the camp, everyone got introduced to two characters that would be camp leaders for the weekend, Sgt. Peppers and Col. Sanders. The campers were divided up into companies and provided a company flag. Our camp leaders informed the campers that there would be a competition for the prized "golden helmet".

A late night Worship was held with high energy music and singing followed by an engaging talk. After meeting with our small group to discuss the evening's message, we finally hit the bunks around midnight. Of course, the boys were wound up and had not intentions of sleeping. The last boy finally quit talking around 4am.

We were awakened to an air horn around 8am and the Saturday began with a trip to the Mess Hall.

Morning worship #transitbootcamp on Twitpic

Saturday was a blur of quiet time, Worship, more thought provoking talks, small group time, and team competitions that included events like Dodge Ball in the rain, kick ball with wading pool bases (and a slip-in-slide going into home plate's pool), finding gummy worms in a mixing bowl full of Cheerios (no hands!), and seeing how many kids good get in a canoe before it sank. A pool competition saw events like swimming relay (in an army jacket), alligator (the inflatable float kind) wrestling, and small group leader belly-flops.

Here is a video from Worship. Yes, these are 6th graders worshipping.

Saturday night's Worship and message was highlighted by the best presentation of the Gospel that I have ever heard. The campers were challenged with having a Faith of their own. One of the boys in our group decided to accept Jesus as his personal Saviour and small group time saw the boys ready to really share on what they heard and what ti meant to them.

Sunday started early with the boys cleaning up the cabin and packing their bags. Lots of help was needed returning the cabin to cleanliness and getting sleeping bags rolled back up. A final Worship experience, and then we were back on the buses headed home. It was very apparent that the kids were as worn out as the leaders as the noise level was significantly lower on the trip back.


RichardM said...

It looks like a great program and I enjoyed the video. Did the special haircut help?


Allen Madding said...

Dunno if it helped, but I looked the part :)


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

Kids together... Off the street... And thinking alike in a common theme. Good program. Did the barber cut your hair with a beltsander?

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

KT Did said...

There's nothing like a group that can live together like this for a weekend and come away with smiles and wanting more! BTW: I like the hair :)

Allen Madding said...

reep - you underestimate the level of my frugality. *I* am the barber :)

KT Did - I will admit, aftre 3 days in that cabin, I was ready for home. Thanks!


irondad said...

You never really know exactly what the effect will be, but it's very satisfying knowing you probably made a positive differnce.

I applaud your giving attitude.

Allen Madding said...

Irondad -
You are exactly right. I will probably never know what the effect will be. But I sleep better at night knowing I did something instead of nothing.

Thanks for the kind words.