What does painting canvases, sculpting, and a giant paint filled balloon launcher all have in common? If you guessed an outdoor art camp, you are correct! (and you probably read the title of this blog...)
As many of you know, Akina Kid's Club takes a break during the summer. We are always looking for fun ways to maintain the relationships we've build with the kids in Little Earth, and their families throughout the summer. This year, we were approached by Pastor Bobby with Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester to partner with a team of middle-schoolers from their church and create a summer missions trip for them.
We were so glad they came! It was a really great time. During the morning hours, the group helped with maintenance around the Akina building, inventorying books for the literacy program, and building a composter for our community garden! Then, in the afternoon, we met in Cedar Field, right in Little Earth. The group brought some fabulous art supplies and projects, set up a tent, and made themselves available to build relationships with kids!
At first, only one or two kids trickled in. A local police officer stopped by to thank us for showing up. He said it was keeping some of the more dangerous people away from the park, allowing the kids to feel safe to play. (That right there was a testimony to the Spirit of God!) Slowly, more and more kids began to come! Soon around 50 kids were playing with clay, painting, and even playing games of kickball in the park. It was great to re-connect with the kids we knew from Kid's Club, and see new faces too. We were able to talk to parents about Akina's programs and invite them to come check us out in October.
Over the next several days, we saw many of the same faces stop by. The number of kids coming grew too! The team from Autumn Ridge was amazing, and because of their hard work and love for the kids, we had an amazing Akina camp within the following weeks where kids grew in the Lord. We are so thankful for our partnering churches and families. We could not to this much needed work without you!