As most of you also experienced, this summer was very different from past summers, yet we were grateful one part of it stayed the same. For us in Croatia that was running English camps in partnership with Inspirata (an English club in Trogir). Inspirata has been running summer camps for the last nine years and YWAM has been helping for the past seven.
Usually the camps run the first and third week of summer vacation with help of church teams from the U.S. and/or YWAM DTS teams. This year because of the changing COVID restrictions and the desire to take the proper precautions we decided to postpone camps till the second to last week of July and first week of August. Also, the teams from the U.S. decided it was best not to make the trip this summer.
We began planning camps by picking a camp theme and verse. As we took time to pray and brainstorm, we chose, “Amazing Race.” (based on a TV series where teams face a series of challenges around the world and conquer fears and make it to the end of the race together) emphasizing We Are In This Together. A number of verses came to mind, but the verse that we all kept going back to was “Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself.” Romans 12:10
It was amazing to experience how we could really live out this verse during the camps as diverse staff teams, made up of YWAM, Inspirata, adults and young people from churches in Split, and teenagers from the Inspirata teen club. It also continues to be a theme as we walk forward in these challenging times as a church with diverse opinions in regard to COVID restrictions here in Croatia.
In the end we had about 40 kids and 28 staff for the kids day camp, and 29 teens and 10 staff (4 children) for the overnight teen camp. The kids camp was smaller than last year with only half of the kids, but we didn’t go over the restricted numbers for gatherings and it was definitely much easier to get to know the kids on an individual level and prepare for the activities. It was also pretty amazing that our entire staff teams were made up of citizens or residents of Croatia.
As we look back it seems like God was preparing us for such a time as this, since the biggest number of our volunteers for the kids camp were teens from past kids camps or teenagers who we had helped out with last year’s kids camp.
God’s hand was definitely leading these camps! Both were successful (with no COVID cases) and a sense of family as we lived out each day learning and enjoying fun activities together!
By Ana Morosan