COVID changes church camp plans

Published 6:09 am Saturday, July 24, 2021

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After an earlier group of campers started testing positive for COVID, the South District Church of the Nazarene canceled the upcoming youth camp which was scheduled to start on Monday, July 19.

Youth Pastor Hannah VanSteenburg immediately jumped into action according to Emily McKenzie, co-director of district camp for South Texas Kids Camp.

“She planned an entire week of activities,” McKenzie said. “She knew people had already made plans and arrangements for this week and it would be a hardship to have to change them at the last minute.”

The call to cancel came late Wednesday evening and by 11 a.m. Thursday, Hannah all the activities planned including three field trips for the kids ranging in ages from kindergarten – 5th grade.

“It happened by the grace of God and Hannah staying up until 3 a.m.” her spouse, Youth Pastor Tyler VanSteenburg said.

“They organized an overnight camp experience for the 26 campers and eight adults from Orange Naz right here at the church,” Pastor Brad McKenzie said.

Funds for the camp were the funds which would have been used to send the kids to camp in Trinity Pine.

“The kids were really excited they were still able to go to camp,” Tyler said. “The leaders and counselors were as well.”

The children were singing on Friday just before camp broke up for the week.

“They went home exhausted but closer to God,” Emily McKenzie said.

Along with singing and fields trips to Shangri La and the YMCA, to NASA and SPAR Waterpark, the kids also experienced some outside time with a color war, and organized math chaos.

With this year’s camp in the books, plans have begun for next year.

“We are already planning next year’s camps,” Emily said. “We plan to be at Trinity Pine, but it is good to know we can adapt if we have to. Hannah showed amazing leadership this week.”

The South Texas Nazarene District kids camp usually has close to 500 kids and adults each year.

Since 1980, Trinity Pines Conference Center has hosted Christian churches, ministries, and organizations of multiple denominations and ethnic origin.