AA utumn is a good time to think about and consider the happenings of the summer that has passed. 2020 is a special year and the summer of 2020 is a special summer. In April, there was still hope to hold a summer trip for the teenagers of the Moscow conference, but in May it became clear that all opportunities were closed, and it was not possible to carry out the programs planned for the children in the summer. The question arose: “What should we do?” You can do nothing and just wait for the next year, or you can take the risk and try to spend it in a new way, in a new “territory”.
After praying, we decided to take a chance. If I would have been asked at the beginning of the year whether it is possible to hold a camp online, I would, with the confidence of an experienced camp director, answer that it is impossible. But today, I can testify, with the same confidence, that it is possible to successfully conduct an online camp. God works miracles and opens up new doors. Previously, children from their homes came to the camp; this summer, the camp came to the homes of the children.
Thanks to the Internet and digital technologies, it became possible to unite children in a virtual space and organize communication in groups with a group leader. The possibility to study God’s word, hold evening and morning services, create something new during master classes, conduct training and exercises, unite for singing, worship and joint games became a reality.
But the most valuable thing is that we were able to create and preserve the atmosphere of a real camp, an atmosphere of joy, friendship, communication, learning new things, gaining experience, and the glorification of our Heavenly Creator. The children were able to fully demonstrate responsibility and independence. The kids had absolute freedom of choice, freedom to decide whether to participate in the camp or not. Every day they made their choice to join meetings, complete assignments, listen to the word of God, grow spiritually, and glorify the Creator.
Having made the decision to conduct online camps, a team of seven organizers, in less than 20 days, came up with two completely different programs for younger and older teenagers. The first shift program for children from 12 to 15 years old was called “Level Up” and was held from June 20th to July 3rd. This was a spiritual marathon program, during which the children read the Word of God every day and one chapter of the book “Steps to Christ” by Ellen White.
In the morning and evening, we met via the Zoom platform and spent time praising God, studying the Word of God, and communicating with each other. In the afternoon, the children participated in one of four trainings of their choice, conducted by professionals – a psychologist, a business coach and a pastor. Some of the training included: “How to speak so that you are understood”, “How to manage time”, “How to manage emotions”, “Formula for success”, “How to understand yourself”.
The main result of the first shift was the spiritual growth of each participant. The children were led along the path of spiritual growth by pastor, counselor, and spiritual mentor – Svyatoslav Mikhailovich Muzychko. He became a real friend whom the kids learned to trust and shared their experiences and prayer requests with. They did not hesitate to ask difficult questions on the topic of the day.
In the camp chat, the children shared their spiritual experiences, reflected on what they read, and received feedback from the pastor and leaders. In-depth independent work on spiritual assignments was going on every day.
At the end of the camp, the children were asked, “What important decision did you make during your participation in the marathon?”. Some answered:
- I will always walk with God
- I will still be baptized
- I need to spend more time with God, no matter what
- There is no need to doubt the existence of God
- I must strengthen my spirit and faith
- Communicate with God more often and possibly be baptized (relatively) soon
The second shift of the online camp, for children 8-12 years old, was called “Hunters for Miracles.”
Together with Pastor Anatoly Vasilyevich Zubach, the children and group leaders delved into the book of Genesis. Each day was dedicated to one of the days of creation.
The day was filled by the hour. It started with online exercises and ended with a lullaby, and during the day there were Bible lessons, morning and evening meetings, games, assignments and communication in groups.
During the day, the children could choose one of the many master classes, which included learning to draw with different techniques, cooking delicious desserts, learning English, talking with a psychologist, folding paper crafts, and learning to shoot video clips.
And every day there was a “hunt”. The children hunted for miracles, such as a rainbow, water, talents, and minerals. The results of the “photo hunt” were posted in the chat.
For six days, from July 12th to July 17th, from morning to evening, camp life was in full swing: communication, creativity, joy, learning new things, the joy of winning the game, and of course the emotions from receiving well-deserved awards.
These two camp shifts were made possible by 30 volunteers, who mastered new technologies; a dedicated ministry of pastors, leaders and facilitators of training classes, master classes and programs and a dedicated technical support team.
In the summer of 2020, in spite of everything, God opened the doors and the camp of the Moscow Association provided an exciting and spirit-filled camp for 90 children.
This article was originally published on the Euro-Asia Division’s news site