by Lauren Davidson
This July, First Christian Church Ministries of Kernersville will be hosting its first ever WinShape Camp, sponsored by Chick-fil-A. WinShape, a nationally recognized program, began in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia, created by the Truett family. The past seven years it has expanded to 84 communities across the country. “WinShape Camps for Communities provides an unprecedented day camp experience that brings churches and organizations together to impact communities with the message of Jesus Christ,” said Matt Richards, Family Ministry Team member.
The Triad area is lucky enough to have three locations hosting these camps: one in Greensboro, at Westover Church, one in Winston-Salem at Calvary, and now one here in Kernersville, at First Christian Church Ministries of Kernersville. First Christian Church was first contacted by WinShape in 2013 and went to visit Westover’s camp to see what it was all about. “We went and visited the camp at Westover last summer and were just amazed by it,” said Pete Ramsey, member of the Family Ministry Team. The camp was such a hit at Westover that some campers plan on attending both camps this year.
The camp, which lasts for a week, is an all-day event. Campers from completed 1st to completed 6th grade are divided into groups and can choose from activities such as archery, basketball, or cheerleading. There is even an activity called “Secret Ops” where each camper’s mission is to secretly do something nice for someone without getting caught. At the end of the week, the camp has a “Chick-fil-A Friday Family Fun Day,” where campers’ families can attend the camp with their child. On this day, Chick-fil-A provides lunch for the campers and their families.
First Christian Church Ministries of Kernersville is eager to stress that this is no ordinary Vacation Bible School, which they also provide. “When you have got a corporate backing from Chick-fil-A,” said Pete, “you know there is going to be a level of excellence.” College students from around the country apply to be counselors and travel to each location. According to Pete, “They really run the camp. We just provide the volunteers. It is really their trained team of 23 college students that come in and run the show.”
WinShape is also unique because it is a “community camp,” meaning children from the community are all welcome to join, not just members of First Christian Church. This year, they expect to have about 250 campers. The emphasis is more on the community of Kernersville than that of the church, Pete stressed. “We are not worried about adding 400 kids to our church; we are worried about adding 400 kids to the Kingdom.”
With the help of local businesses, First Christian Church Ministries of Kernersville is hoping to raise $14,000 in scholarship funds. $250 is required to sponsor just one camper. This pays for the camp, lunch each day, $5 in the WinShape store, and a t-shirt. Local businesses have also taken advantage of volunteer opportunities, like providing breakfast for the volunteers. David and Melanie Grix, owner/operators of the local Chick-fil-A, have also been extremely helpful. Pete Ramsey said, “They are excited about it. They have jumped on board and already helped us with the meals for one of the opening events.”
WinShape will be held from July 6 to July 10 this summer. Registration and scholarship information is available on the First Christian Church Family at First Facebook page or on the WinShape website, WinShapeCamps.org.