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Crossway Christian welcomes Rohingya students to its camp

By Grace Pecci - Staff Writer | Jun 29, 2019

NASHUA — Staff members at Crossway Christian Church are gearing up for yet another fun week of games, feel-good activities and Bible lessons.

For more than a decade, the church has hosted Camp Kidsway, which is similar to a Vacation Bible School.

From July 8-12, 184 campers will be joining, along with more than 120 volunteers. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day during the week.

Church Children’s Pastor Melissa Kosman said this year, they will be focusing on the power of the Holy Spirit with five days of Bible lessons.

The days will start with a 20-minute power-up productions to get students ready for the day by singing and dancing. They do skits on stage, different games throughout the day and have a Bible station. In addition, they have a service station. Kosman said this year, they will be making care bottles to pass out to those in need. They plan to target the homeless and underserved communities of Nashua. They will also be decorating rocks and leaving messages of hope for people to find.

The camp is open to rising kindergarten students through rising fifth-grade students.

A majority of the students come from the Nashua area, but about 20 families are invited to join because they are “friends and neighbors,” Kosman said.

This year, they will also have returning Rohingya campers, who will be joining as assistant leaders for the groups, along with several Rohingya mothers who will be volunteering.

Last year, Kosman said Dave Smith, the church’s downtown campus pastor, was able to make connections with community leaders, which eventually led him to a Rohingya community leader, Mohammad Mustak.

Mustak is one of the founders and the executive director of Rohingya Society of Greater Nashua. With his help, they were able to get 12 Rohingya students to participate.

This year, they will be partnering up again. Kosman said thanks to this partnership, they were able to receive a grant from the United Way to “enhance the camp experience for our Rohingya friends.”

“We wanted to make this a very welcoming place,” Kosman said.

Through the grant, they will be 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.

“We’ve amped up camp,” Kosman said.

Kosman said they were also able to provide leadership training for the returning Rohingya students, who will be assistant leaders.

The best benefit for the Rohingya students, Kosman noted, was just that — the leadership training. Kosman said Mustak saw a need for Rohingya students to get involved in their community and gain leadership skills.

“It is so hard for kids these days to really get leadership experience,” Kosman said. “This is a great experience for our students to learn as a whole and serve and become leaders.”

There will be many returning campers who can’t wait to come back and serve, she added.

By inviting local Rohingya students to participate, Kosman said, “It really gets to the core of loving your neighbor. Crossway welcomes everybody and wants to be inclusive. It’s another exposure to bringing two communities together.”

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

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