Community Kids Camp offered June 5-8 in Worthington

Individuals from each of the four churches are taking part in the planning for the camp-themed program, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. each day with a family meal.

Community Kids Camp
A Community Kids Camp is being offered June 5-8 in Worthington. It's a collaborative effort of four local churches.
Art contributed by Gretchen O'Donnell

WORTHINGTON — Four Worthington churches are combining efforts to present a Community Kids Camp June 5-8, at First United Methodist Church, 408 11th St., in downtown Worthington.

It’s a new take on what has long been called Vacation Bible School, according to Gretchen O’Donnell, family life coordinator at First UMC.

She invited nearly 20 local churches to join in a combined program, and American Lutheran, First Lutheran and Living Waters Covenant churches agreed to the collaboration.

Competing with summertime activities and dealing with lower church attendance these days, O’Donnell said, “It takes just as much work to plan a VBS for 20 kids as it does for 75. When you put so much work into it, you want more kids to enjoy it.”

Individuals from each of the four churches are taking part in the planning for the camp-themed program, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. each day with a family meal. Starting at 6 p.m., children ages three (preferably potty-trained) through completion of fifth grade will attend an Exploring God’s Great Wor(l)d lesson plan, then take part in games, songs, crafts and snack time, all of which are related to the day’s theme.


The themes include water, fire, shelter and path, with lessons built around stories from the Bible.

“We want this special learning time about God to be an exciting and worthwhile thing for kids to come to,” O’Donnell said. “The overall theme is we can trust God.”

The Community Kids Camp is not just for children who are members of the participating churches, but for all children and parents who would like to participate.

“I love my memories of VBS,” O’Donnell said. “That was the best week of the summer.”

O’Donnell will serve as emcee during the camp this year, while Living Waters is providing the worship team to lead the music. Kristin Appel of American Lutheran is developing an interconnected plan for each themed day.

“We have different volunteers from all four churches,” O’Donnell shared, adding that the churches will take turns hosting the camp in future years.

Throughout the week, the camp will collect donations toward a mission project. For this first camp, their plan is to raise money for the county’s social services department, to be used to help children in foster care.

The Community Kids Camp is the Monday through Thursday leading up to the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival in Worthington, at which O’Donnell will give the message during the Sunday morning outdoor worship service.


“We’re going to bring some of those (camp theme) concepts that we talk about that week,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to connect the two things and hopefully get people excited for next year."

Individuals who would like to volunteer during the camp — and families who wish to enroll their children — are asked to register by May 21 online at or by calling (507) 372-2939. A $5 per child donation is requested.

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