Three churches representing two denominations are inviting kids from Altoona to take part in a free day camp.
As summer begins to wind down and kids are looking for new activities, the ecumenical program offers an opportunity for them to learn new skills and have fun.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 806 13th St., will host the day camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 28 to Aug. 1. It will partner with St. James and Bethany Evangelical Lutheran churches of Altoona as well as Camp Mount Luther in Mifflinburg. Youths who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade are invited to attend.
"Day camp is a terrific way to introduce a summer outdoor ministry experience to children and youth who aren't sure if they're ready to spend the night at camp," said Pastor Paula Schmitt of Bethany Lutheran Church. "Each day at day camp is an example of human kindness, cooperation and joyful enthusiasm. These are the benefits of spending time in an intentional Christian community."
Bethany held a day camp last summer as an alternative to vacation Bible school. Counselors from Camp Sequanota, a Lutheran camp in Jennerstown, conducted the camp with volunteers from Bethany helping with registration, crafts and snacks. Because the counselors operated the program, Bethany was able to minister to children with fewer volunteers.
Schmitt said this year's counselors, who are from Camp Mount Luther, will provide the curriculum which includes devotions, games, crafts, Bible study, sports, music, special events and worship.
If you go
What: Day camp
Who: For kids who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 28 to Aug. 1
Where: St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 806 13th St.
To register: Call 944-6835, 944-7560 or 942-1372. Deadline to register is July 24.
"The curriculum theme is 'Living in God's Time,'" she said. "It focuses on the church year and the celebrations of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost."
Pastor Ed Harshbarger at St. James Lutheran Church said he is excited about the camp and ready to get going.
He said he has a lot of experience with day camps as he previously served as director of education at Advent Lutheran Church in York. Harshbarger pointed out none of the churches have a lot of children and are looking forward to working with kids from the community.
Jane Gable, facilitator from St. Luke's, said the churches hope to plan a field trip.
She said all the volunteers have taken the Episcopal church's Safe Guarding God's Children, a child abuse prevention class, and have been cleared to work with youth. Schmitt said the counselors have had background checks and child abuse history clearances.
Gable said the camp is being held at St. Luke's because the Episcopal parish has the space. Staff from Camp Mount Luther was chosen because of its partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, based in Harrisburg. St. Luke's is a member of that diocese.
Schmitt explained that the day camp is free because the three churches have contributed to the expenses.
Gable said children will need to take their own lunches but snacks will be provided.
Deadline for parents to register their children is July 24. They may register by calling the church offices: St. James Lutheran Church, 944-6835; Bethany Lutheran Church, 944-7560; and St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 942-1372. Once a child is registered, the parents will receive a letter about the camp.