Thank You, Day Camp Sponsors!

Thank you to all of our day camp sponsors who have supported ARM’s Sonshine Kids Day Camp this summer! Through your partnership, every week at day camp we have been able to teach the day campers more and more about what it means to be peacemakers by studying God’s character and other key biblical characters who teach us about peace. We’ve been so blessed to have such awesome day camp staff and youth teams serve with us and our day camp kids and their families this summer. From arts and crafts and praise and worship to educational activities and recreational games, our day camp kids have been able to experience the depths of Christ’s love on a deeper level because of your support, so thank you!

This summer, we had 117 day camp sponsors – individuals, families, Sunday school classes, and churches – for our 65 day camp kids! Monday through Wednesday, our kids enjoyed learning and growing with the 6 Day Camp Coordinators (3 in Livingston and 3 in Tuskegee), 5 CITs (2 in Livingston and 3 in Tuskegee), and countless youth teams and other volunteers. However, I think it’s safe to say that our kids’ favorite day of the week was always Thursday because they got to spend a day playing water games and swimming in the pool!

As the summer came to a close, both of our day camps took their kids on a field trip! Tuskegee’s Sonshine Kids Day Camp visited Montgomery to watch a Biscuits baseball game ( you guessed it–on water day)! Livingston’s Sonshine Kids Day Camp visited the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, which was an absolute blast! For a more in depth look at the field trips, click here!

After our field trips, both sites also hosted their closing celebrations where our day camp kids and their families were invited to a share in a potluck dinner and a night of fellowship with our home repair families, summer staff, full-time staff, and board members. The day camp kids played an integral part in these celebrations as they recited bible verses, performed songs and dances, and even read original poems. These celebrations gave the kids the chance to showcase the many things they learned over the summer! Click here for more details about our end of the summer closing celebrations!

To each and every one of our sponsors, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of the things you did, prayed for, and gave so that each camper at Sonshine Kids Day Camp could know the love of Christ and also understand that education can be used as the foundation to achieve dreams of any kind. Thank you for helping us equip our Day Camp Coordinators and CITs with the knowledge and skills to identify, encourage, and challenge the potential God has given each of our day campers so that they know and believe they can make a positive difference in their communities and in the world.

One last thing, as we transition from the summer into this next school year, we would like to make you all aware of another awesome organization that works in Lee and Macon counties–I Am My Brother’s Keeper (IAMBK). “The mission of IAMBK is to provide family and youth services that enable disadvantaged youth and at-risk families to become self-supportive and thrive in their homes, schools, and communities. The organization is designed to help participants develop morals and character, skills for the workforce, increase their education levels, promote physical health, and discover and nurture their talents.” From physical fitness classes to performing arts classes, to one-on-one tutoring and social services, IAMBK partners with families in these communities in order to equip individuals to be “successful in school and productive in their homes and communities.” IAMBK will be starting up next week in both Auburn (Boykin Community Center) and Tuskegee (Tuskegee United Methodist Church), and there are programs and activities available for children ages pre-K through grade 12. We would love it if you would continue partnering with us by partnering with IAMBK during this school year! For more information, click here or call (334)728-0309.

Grace and peace,

Lisa Pierce

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Gerry Sill, youth from Cokesbury UMC, with Day Camp kids in Livingston

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End of Summer Day Camp Field Trips

At the end of every summer at Sonshine Kids Day Camp, we organize a fun field trip where we hope our campers will have a blast, learn new things, and experience Christ’s love in unexpected and exciting ways! This year, our Sonshine Kids Day Camp in Tuskegee took a field trip to a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game. Many of the day campers love sports, but they had never before watched a Biscuits game. We all had a blast cheering on the Biscuits as they played against the Tennessee Smokies. I think it’s safe to say that the kids’ favorite part of the trip was that it was water day at the Biscuits stadium, which meant that water was squirted, sprayed, and dumped upon us at the top and bottom of every inning! Thank you to all of the day camp staff, other ARM staff members, parents, chaperones, and youth teams for helping us have fun, successful trips!

Water Day at the Biscuits Game!

Water Day at the Biscuits Game!

Watching the Biscuits!

Watching the Biscuits!

"1, 2, 3, Biscuits!!"

“1, 2, 3, Biscuits!!”

Lisa and Joe caught by surprise by the water at the game

Lisa and Joe caught by surprise by the water at the game

 

Our Sonshine Kids Day Camp in Livingston traveled to Birmingham to the McWane Science Center for their field trip. From getting to pet sharks and stingrays and lie on a bed of nails, to testing out the pulley chairs and experimenting with bubbles, our campers (and chaperones) were sad to say “goodbye” at the end of the day–no one wanted the fun to end! With all that the McWane Science Center had to offer and teach us, the vastness of God’s creation of the world, everything in it, and the functioning of every piece to the puzzle of creation seemed even more mind-boggling than before. How crazy is it to think that the Creator of the universe–the same God who created the sun and the moon–also created you and me? What a fun day we had learning all kinds of new things and experiencing the vastness of God’s love for us!

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Chastity learning about bubble geometry

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Blowing bubbles

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“Do I really have that many germs on my hand?”

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Livingston Day Camp Staff--Fran, Abigail, and B

Livingston Day Camp Staff–Fran, Abigail, and B

Wind tunnel!!

Wind tunnel!!

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Site Leader Mat demonstrating that The McWane Center is fun for all ages

Site Leader Mat demonstrating that The McWane Center is fun for all ages

Group picture

Group picture

Learning about relaxation

Learning about relaxation

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2016 Summer Celebrations

On Sunday and Monday nights of this week, Tuskegee and Livingston both hosted their end of the summer closing celebrations! During these celebrations, we were able to share a meal together and celebrate our partnerships with the different children and families with whom we’ve served alongside this summer. We recognized both the children and the families with certificates, gifts, Bibles, and kind and encouraging words. We enjoyed watching the day camp kids sing, dance, and recite scripture and poems as well as listening to the inspirational words of many different people from the communities as they gave testament to the great work that God is doing in and through ARM. We were delighted to have packed houses at both celebrations–having over 100 guests in attendance both nights! Thank you to everyone who made these celebrations possible, especially the summer staff, the day camp children and their families, the home repair families, our board members, pastors, community members and school officials, and Livingston UMC and Tuskegee UMC for hosting the celebrations!

Day Camper Joseph Alexander, III reads an original poem at Tuskegee’s 2016 Summer Celebration

Livingston Summer Celebration

 Summer staffers Ishmael Preer and Andrew Tortorice with Ms. Zenola Pickens

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End of Summer Wrap-Up

Now that Summer 2016 of hosting teams at ARM has come to a close, we wanted to provide you with an infographic to help you better visualize the summer as a whole. Thank you again to every individual, family, team, church, school, and community who has partnered with us this summer!

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Seeking Simplicity: Weeks 6 and 7 of ARM’s 2016 Youth Mission Camp

Last week was our seventh and final week hosting teams for our 2016 Youth Mission Camp! This summer between both of our sites in Livingston and Tuskegee, we have been able to host about 24 teams of youth volunteers from churches all over the country. Thank you for all of your prayers, support, and encouragement! Without you, this ministry would not be possible!

Be sure to check out our Youth Mission Camp 2016 Youtube playlist to keep up with all the action!

Week 6

We hosted three teams during our sixth week of camp. Tuskegee hosted a middle school team from First Baptist Columbiana from Columbiana, Alabama who served with us through our day camp ministry for the first time! Chickfila’s Cow Appreciation Day happened to fall during this week, so we took a special trip to Chickfila with our friends from FBC Columbiana dressed as cows–what a fun time we had! Livingston hosted two teams during Week 6–Collins UMC and Kingfisher FUMC. We were so excited to have our friends from Collins, Mississippi join us for a second summer of service, and we were just as excited to meet a new group of friends all the way from Oklahoma. Shout out to the group from Kingfisher FUMC for driving about 12 hours to come and serve with us!

 

Week 7

During our seventh and final week of camp, we hosted five teams! Tuskegee hosted three teams–St. Paul UMC, St. Mark UMC, and Perdido Bay UMC. This was Tuskegee’s biggest week of the summer, hosting three teams totaling to about 50 youth and adults. Needless to say, we’ve been getting some great use out of those triple-decker bunkbeds in our newly renovated bunkrooms at Tuskegee United Methodist Church! St. Paul and Perdido Bay are both from Florida, and St. Mark is from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. This was our first time hosting all three of these groups–we enjoyed hosting you! Thank you for partnering with us! Livingston also hosted two groups during the last week of camp. Muir’s Chapel UMC from North Carolina and St. Luke’s UMC from Kilgore, Texas both joined us for the first time, and we had such a blast learning with and from them! We want to give a special thanks to all of our groups this week who joined us for our day camp field trips! We had so much fun, and our kids did too–thank you!

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