FBC’s first “Steps to Success” Camp was held at our partnership school, Bessemer Elementary on August 4-7 & 11-14. FBC volunteers and organizers provided incoming Kindergartners with the opportunity to spend two weeks at a “get ready for Kindergarten” camp and that is exactly what they did! The children are ready for their first day of school and our volunteers learned quite a lot too.
Youth Reflection by Virginia Little
These past two weeks were very difficult, but at the same time extremely rewarding. We had children with all kinds of academic backgrounds. That being said, those moments where it finally clicked with a child made all the meltdowns, frustrations, and general craziness worth it. I ended up working mainly one-on-one with a little boy who didn’t know any English. To see this boy, who was all tears the first day, finally count to ten and say his colors in English was one of the most gratifying things I have ever experienced. He wasn’t the only child that I got to watch undergo a transformation. With the help of all the volunteers we got see she those kids go from, “where am I?” and “I want my mommy” to “I’ve got this” and “I know what I’m doing”, “I am ready”. Seeing as that was the point of this camp I consider these past two weeks a great success.
Senior Adult Reflection by Sylvia Ledford
As a newcomer to Greensboro and First Baptist Church, I did not know what opportunities were available and which ministries needed help. Kim Priddy agreed to meet with me to discuss opportunities for service. It was then that I learned that kindergarten camp still could use more buddies for the students. I went, not really knowing what to expect. What I found was a tremendous blessing and opportunity to serve God and His children.
Each morning the children came in eager to start the day. Virginia Reynolds led our cheer. I was amazed at the gift God has given her with children. After going to the classrooms, most of the children did seem hungry and ate the breakfast prepared by our church volunteers. One child had food allergies, so I helped watch out for her allergies. For some of the children, placing their own trash into the trash can for themselves was new.
Things like placing the chairs under the table when leaving the table, walking to different activities, and walking in a line were new skills for many. I saw various levels of knowledge and learned to appreciate some challenges kindergarten teachers face when beginning school. Some children know the alphabet song, but they cannot recognize the letters. Some can count to 100 but cannot recognize many of the numerals. Some have used computers, but others have not. Others know beginning sounds of letters and can read and print their names. Somehow the teachers must have a meaningful class and involve all the children. They need prayers…another opportunity to minister by bathing them in prayer.
As the teacher was leading the class to name the day of the week, she said, “Yesterday was Sunday. Did anyone do something different or special on Sunday?” Not one child mentioned anything about church. One said she got to ride her bike. I do not know if no one actually went to church or if the children just did not think of it. This happened both Mondays.
During the 2 weeks we worked at Bessemer Elementary, I observed a definite improvement with children walking in lines quietly, using the materials in the classroom, and developing a sense of belonging in this school. They learned where the media center, computer room, lunchroom, playground, bathrooms and some classrooms were located. They learned to have group time and to raise their hands for participation.
One of my buddies saw a bulge in my pocket. She asked, somewhat in awe, if I had a car of my very own. Her question made me think about how often I take things for granted and do not stop to thank God for them. The children welcomed the individual attention we were able to give them.
It was a blessing for me to see so many people from First Baptist joining in to make the camp possible. Servants included youth as well as adults. While the church served these children, it served Christ. I am so thankful to have been a small part of this. My heart is full of thanksgiving for Virginia and the others that worked to make this camp (and mission) become a reality. Thank you, First Baptist Church of Greensboro!