Kids sit in circles eagerly discussing with their group leaders about what it means to trust God. The younger kids dance and sing to songs about God.
Such are the activities on the first day of Kids Games, a week-long sports and arts program for kids hosted by Santa Clara’s South Bay Church at the end of July. Activities for the children also include basketball, art, dance, drama, skateboarding, soccer, sharing, and a compassion project.
“The purpose of doing Kids Games is to give us an opportunity to serve the community and the families here,” says David Hibiske, the family pastor at South Bay Church. “We get to provide a quality summer program for the kids here and it’s affordable. Last year, the first year we hosted Kids Games, we had about over 100 kids participate. At least 150 kids are attending this year’s Kids Games. Not all participating kids are part of the South Bay Church. At least 67% of the kids who will be participating this year are outside of the South Bay Church.”
While children get exposure to Christian themes during Kids Games, this program is intended for children of all backgrounds. So a child who is not Christian is still able to participate. Some “sharing life” lessons for the older children include addressing how to trust God and how to live life to the fullest in an unfair world.
Children enrolled in Kids Games get to contribute to this year’s compassion project.
“One of the aspects of Kids Games is to be able to help kids understand about the needs in the community and how they can meet some of these needs,” Hibiske says. “Last year, what we did was we collected school supplies to fill backpacks for under-resourced children. We collected those items and got them out to kids who didn’t have school supplies for the upcoming year. This year, we are collecting food for InnVision of San Jose. They do a lot for housing services and work for the homeless in the San Jose area. They have a food pantry and we’re collecting items for the food pantry. Every day, we will ask the kids to bring something for the following day and we collect everything. And this is on a complete voluntary basis on the kids’ part.”
For example, on Fruity Tooty Tuesday, students can voluntarily bring fruit leathers or canned fruit. On Thirsty Thursday, they can choose to bring concentrated drink mixes.
“Some of the adults will go on Thursday afternoon to deliver the food to InnVision,” Hibiske continues. “We will videotape us delivering the food and show it to the kids on Friday, the last day of camp, so they can see the things they’d brought being delivered and the lives they impact.”
“I think it’s important for kids to be part of the compassion project so they can learn about the needs of others, and learn how they can serve others, especially those who are less privileged than themselves,” Hibiske adds.
Visit www.southbaychurch.org for more information about South Bay Church.