Krista Vossler and Blake Mathews live in Austin, Texas. Last summer, they coordinated Wild Wonder with Blake as camp director and Krista as a group leader. The camp served twenty students, aged four to ten. Below is a conversation about their experience.
What do you think were the students’ biggest takeaways from camp?
The kids came away from camp with such enthusiasm about the things they learned, especially the more scientific parts of the week, like the strawberry DNA lesson and the owl pellet dissection. The other big treat was getting to be together with this little community every day; the kids thrived on the group lessons, discussions, and games and took to the Daily Feast in a big way.
What was your biggest takeaway as a facilitator?
We’ve got two. We loved how scripture was woven throughout each activity, and we really felt the nature break was a needful activity. Quieting down as a group (ten kids per group) took some getting used to for the kids, but it was a nice corrective to the intensity of the kinds of activities and media that kids tend to digest regularly.
What is your favorite memory from the experience?
There was something really special about seeing all these kids, after each day of camp, coming together for the feast. We set up a long table where they all could sit at together, and they were helping and serving each other—sharing so willingly and generously, taking ownership of what was happening. They were given the space to offer hospitality to each other. Each seemed to look forward to it, as did the leaders. Our own children (age 5 and 7) reminisce about it now—even if they can’t put a finger on what made it so, they saw how powerful good fellowship around a table can be.
By fostering not only appreciation for but also knowledge and curiosity about God’s creation, A Rocha camps are planting seeds that will bear fruit. The kids who participated are already seeing the connection between their faith and the treatment of the world around them, as evidenced through participant feedback.
Participants hung out all week with adults who, through teaching the curriculum and modeling, led the way for them naturally without shaming them or dictating exactly how creation care should look life in a child’s life or home. They were encouraged to observe, to breathe it all in, to stop, and to be still. Fostering wonder in and care for creation is so important, and sometimes parents just don’t have the bandwidth to zero in on these issues. Other times, the lessons dovetail with what kids are already learning at home which doubles the impact of the message. It’s valuable work any which way you look at it.
We’re excited to see what this year holds for the program.
Wild Wonder Year One is available now! Click here to learn more.