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July 17, 2013

2013 Urban Kids Camp: Jesus Family Reunion

Urban Kids Camp is being held at Camp Wrightwood this week serving over 100 children ages 6 to 14 from eight different churches across the California-Pacific Annual Conference.

This year’s theme is Jesus Family Reunion, and the camp staff is comprised of seven pastors, including District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth, as well as 30 counselors, all volunteering to make sure that these children experience Christian camp, some of them for the very first time.  The Camp has been traditionally offered at a reduced fee for families who are not able to afford the cost of a Christian camp,  The cost of the camp is supported by generous donations and grants when they are available.

Campers this week were blessed by a visit from Bishop G. Carcaño.  The Bishop was included in a group photo with the campers and then conveyed to the campers a touching message about how God is always looking for leaders and that God might call the campers to become leaders this week if they choose to be listening and waiting for the call.  The Bishop also asked the campers to make sure that they introduced themselves to the Bishop.  One such camper enthusastically walked up to the Bishop to introduce himself in sign language which the Bishop asked to be taught by him one more time.  Afterwards, the Bishop offered him a hug.

Among the children this year are at-risk children, some of whom are homeless and come from shelters. When the Bishop asked one of the children to which church the child belonged, the child said, “Urban Kids Church!”  It was a testament to the impact that Urban Kids Camp and Cal-Pac Camps have on children who one day choose to follow Jesus Christ and become a member of a local church.

For the past several years, Wanda Bethea (First UMC of Pacoima) and Tricia Hamilton (St. John’s UMC) have led Urban Kids Camp.  By today, they have lost their voice.  But, in love they continue on in joy of their work along withe rest of the staff and volunteers.