Summer. Kids are experiencing down time — time that could
easily be filled with video games and television after the initial
thrill of a break from school wears off. At Crossroads Covenant
Church in Loveland, Colorado, we’ve placed a high value on summer
as a prime opportunity to minister to children in our community
through a variety of summerlong activities and events.
Spring is in the air. We publicize our summer program as soon as
the ground starts to thaw. Waiting to advertise what your church
offers over the summer can be detrimental to participation.
Crossroads promotes its summer programming not only to our regular
church attendees, but we also make a deliberate attempt to
advertise in the community. We create fliers that are distributed
through the public schools, and we hang posters where kids are —
the local recreation center, the public library, movie theaters,
dance studios, and anywhere kids go.
Start big! We start our summer programming with a week of
vacation Bible school. This is usually our biggest attendance draw,
and it’s a great hook for kids because they rarely leave on Friday
without wishing they could return for more. We concentrate on
hospitality during the week, making sure kids feel welcome and
connected with leaders and peers. We create a fun environment by
decorating according to our theme and playing energetic music. We
also make a connection with parents at the end of the week by
inviting them to our closing program and thanking them for letting
our team enjoy their kids for the week. We then invite kids and
families to participate in the variety of activities we offer
during the rest of the summer, and we have volunteers available to
take new registrations.
Tap kids’ interests. Weeklong day camps are the perfect way to
provide learning opportunities in areas where kids have an
interest, such as sports, art, drama, or science. At Crossroads we
provide day camps that cover topics kids want to learn about. We
bring in local experts to talk with kids or teach on a particular
topic. High school or college athletes make great instructors and
pass the “cool” filter with kids. High school teachers often
appreciate a change of pace when offered the chance to spend a day
with elementary-age kids. And a church’s drama director can use a
day of teaching drama to kids as an opportunity to spark interest
in future volunteers. We let kids get a taste of specialty areas by
providing lots of time to experiment and dig in through active
Day camps not only offer opportunities to help kids develop
lifelong interests and hobbies, but they also open the door to
teaching kids about God in creative ways. Providing kids with
sports heroes who love God, teaching kids to use their talents and
abilities to serve at church, and looking at scientific concepts
with the truth that we have a Creator who made it all introduces
unchurched kids to our amazing God, and it gives churched kids a
chance to grow in their faith.
Every Friday is fun. Fun Friday is a summer program at
Crossroads that provides an alternative to a day camp program.
Every Friday we plan a special activity for kids to have fun at
church or a designated destination. Some Fridays we go to the zoo
or a water park — places that encourage parents to come spend the
day with their kids and other families. Other Fridays we go
someplace that’s an easy drop-off for parents, such as a local park
for play and a picnic, or a kid-friendly restaurant for pizza and
video games. On some Fridays we have a day at the church for movies
or wacky water fun. Fun Fridays have become a favorite summer day
for everyone — parents love to have the day to relax or to join us
for a family event that requires little planning for them. Our team
loves it because it only takes a small amount of planning and it’s
a great day to build relationships with kids.
Build healthy habits. In a time when one of the biggest health
scares facing children is obesity, Crossroads offers summer
programs that teach kids healthy life habits. Fun Fitness Days are
planned throughout the summer for kids to play games outdoors that
get them moving and their hearts pumping. Kids have lots of energy
to burn — any chances to run and play are always a plus. Certified
lifeguards provide free swimming lessons for kids at the local pool
in early summer — water safety is important as we enter the summer
months. We also offer Kids in the Kitchen mornings when kids can
get messy and experiment in the kitchen. We provide recipes for
easy, healthy snacks and meals they can make. Teaching kids to take
care of the bodies God gave them in a fun and hands-on way will
create healthy habits to build on for a lifetime. Preschoolers
Wanna Have Fun One highlight that sets Crossroads Covenant Church
in Loveland, Colorado, apart is our summer programs for
Preschool Day Camps — We offer morning day camps for 3- and
4-year-olds that are age-appropriate and geared toward learning
that gets them ready for kindergarten as we plant seeds of faith.
Preschool day camps such as Messy Art and Wiggly Bugs light up
preschoolers’ eyes. Providing a morning filled with center-based
activities, fun snacks, and the opportunity to play in a structured
environment delights parents as well as children.
Park-and-Play Days — For the preschooler who has a hard time
with separation, we plan Park-and-Play Days that offer a morning
play date with other families at the church. Meet at your facility
or plan a morning at the park, complete with parent-child art
project, make-together snack, and music-and-movement time.
Park-and-Play Days ease the anxieties that preschoolers face when
separated from Mom or Dad for the first time.