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Participants at the North Queensland Presbytery kids’ campout. Photo was supplied.
Participants at the North Queensland Presbytery kids’ campout. Photo: Supplied

North Queensland camp creates counter-cultural community

Last month, 15 leaders of North Queensland Presbytery’s annual kids’ campout embarked on the mission to create a counter-cultural camp community. Ashley Thompson reports.

Children from congregations as far and wide as Ingham, Charters Towers, Townsville and Burdekin gathered for the North Queensland Presbytery annual kids’ campout in August.

Organised by volunteers from local congregations, 15 adults gave up their time to grow faith and create memories for the presbytery’s children at the Girl Guides Queensland campsite just north of Townsville.

Ingham Uniting Church minister Rev Greg Rankin says the purpose of kids’ camps in the north is to create a fun, positive culture through community-building activities—developing the church’s relationship with young people and teaching them counter-cultural values such as kindness and inclusivity.

“I brought children who had never been on a camp before and were shy in joining in, but the rest of the kids were so good with them and went out of their way to include them in everything they did,” says Greg.

From positive reinforcement through kind notes to small groups, worship, interactive messages, bonfires and the hugely popular “sponge wars”, Greg says the most fulfilling part of the weekend is watching the kids take on the values themselves.

“If I could change one thing about camp it would be to make it go for longer,” said two young attendees who also listed the team-building camp tradition “sponge wars” as their favourite activity.

Junior leaders also grew in their understanding of the gospel as guest speaker Dan Dubbeld, a Scripture Union school chaplain, shared about how God allows us to overcome fear when we live as Jesus’ disciples.

“If we trust and follow God, we have nothing to fear.

Fear comes from the ‘other one’,” shared one junior leader when recounting what they had learned on camp.

“God truly blessed this time away together and it was a great success,” says Rev Greg Rankin, “The kids all had a ball!

“I would like to encourage all presbyteries and Synod to continue in the important and good work that goes on for our young people—it truly makes a difference and most importantly makes God smile.”

For more information on Uniting Church activities in North Queensland visit ucanq.com.au

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