Camp Kidsway in full swing

NASHUA – When some students think of summer camp activities, they envision macaroni arts and crafts, games and singalongs.

Camp Kidsway, a local camp run by Crossway Christian Church, differs from traditional camps. While there still are arts and crafts, games, dance parties and even a bouncy house, this year’s 184 campers are learning the importance of serving those in need, thanking those who serve, and learning to understand their own power.

Camp Kidsway is similar to a Vacation Bible School and is offered to rising kindergarteners through fifth graders. The theme of this year’s camp is Power Up.

This week, the campers are focusing on the power of the Holy Spirit, with five days of Bible lessons.

The Bible lessons extend into their activities as well. There are a number of stations that students will go through while participating in Camp Kidsway, one of which is the serving station. This week, students filled 5-gallon bags with different necessities that they will then be able to share with people in need.

Learning about the need in the community and giving back is a big lesson at Camp Kidsway.

“We try to make sure that students understand that these are our neighbors,” Crossway Christian Church Children’s Pastor Melissa Kosman said. “Students learn that when you help, it’s exponential. You want to keep doing it.”

The students have also been writing encouragement cards to give out to firefighters, teachers and others who serve in the community within their professions.

This week, they are raising money for a local mission that serves the community. Kosman said if the students raise $500, they will make “human sundaes,” in which a leader wears a poncho and the student will have whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and other messy materials to decorate. If the students raise $1,000, they will make two “human sundaes.” If they raise $1,500 there will be three.

Every year they do something fun to try and get students excited about raising money for a good cause. The students have also been collecting canned dry food for Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission.

Christian Church Children’s Pastor Andrea Andris said, “We’re really excited about the community we get to serve and to build empathy in our campers.”

Andris also expressed gratitude for the partnership with the United Way of Greater Nashua.

Last year, Dave Smith, Crossway Christian Church’s downtown campus pastor, was able to connect with Mohammad Mustak, a leader of the local Rohingya community.

Mustak serves as the Executive Director of the Rohingya Society of Greater Nashua. He got 15 Rohingya students and three of their mothers to participate in the camp this year.

With Mustak’s help, Crossway Christian Church was able to secure a grant from the United Way. This grant went toward leadership training for returning Rohingya students who are assistant leaders this year. It also went toward accommodating dietary restrictions for the students, providing five snacks a day, purchasing extra supplies and hosting a “Family Fun Fest” at the end of the camp.

Kosman said she has seen a lot of growth through the years in many of the campers. Many campers are excited to come back and volunteer the next year. This year, there are more than 120 students and adults volunteering to help the camp run smoothly.

Camp Kidsway will be wrapping up this week with the Family Fun Fest, which will take place this evening. Friends and family members of campers and volunteers are invited to join for the celebration. Students will be singing and dancing to six songs they learned during the week, which are all tied to Bible lessons.

To learn more about Crossway Christian Church and its programs, visit https://crosswaycc.org/home.

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243 or gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.