It looked like a rock concert for kids, but it was actually vacation Bible school — on steroids.
The sight of 315 children with outstretched hands pointed to the heavens — bouncing between the safety of more than 170 volunteers in florescent T-shirts — provided a glimpse of what is possible when people band together.
The directors of children and family ministries from six congregations came together to plan the first of its kind community Bible camp, and in the process became much more unified themselves.
It makes one wonder what else they might accomplish working together in addition to the good they do in their own church communities. I can’t help but think the wheels are already turning for future collaborative efforts.
It was no accident that these youth leaders chose Lions Park for this program. There’s a high percentage of children and families they would like to reach out to in and around the park.
Some children, upon seeing the action in the park, tugged on their parents’ and/or guardians’ shirts to sign them up, and some even got their wish.
Who knows how many hearts will be significantly impacted by this weeklong experience. Let’s, as a community, build off this success.
Populating this park with programming for children and families will go a long way to ridding the community of many of the concerns that have plagued the park over the years.
It’s only when the community comes together like it did this past week that it can make a meaningful impact in the plight of youth with too much time on their hands. Given a chance to do good, youth will usually go all out.
Take vacation Bible school participants, for instance. These kids raised more than $3,000 for Great River Family Promise, a homeless outreach in which area churches have demonstrated once again what can happen when they band together.
It’s when we all take some responsibility for things that are not going the way we want that we can address these issues. As soon as we convince ourselves that it’s someone else’s responsibility and abdicate our role, we lose the battle.
The community has already poured its heart and soul into the park. The Elk River Lions provided the horsepower for Lions Park Center and many of the trees on the grounds.
The Elk River Rotary made the band shell a reality years ago and has recently taken a renewed interest in the park.
And the community members who worked to make the Boys and Girls Club a reality should be happy to know the club now attracts about 170 per day for a summer program.
It’s when we walk alongside youth that we gain their attention. Let’s keep their attention. — Jim Boyle, editor