This summer marked Abundant Life’s 10th year of attending Summer’s Best Two Weeks Citikidz Camp, affectionately known as “SB2Dub! Citikidz.” A week-long overnight Christian sports camp specifically aimed at serving urban youth, Citikidz is located in the beautiful mountains of Rector, PA near Laurel Mountain State Park. Our small group of young ladies were all returning campers, including one who celebrated her sixth year at Citikidz. Another celebrated her birthday during camp for the second year in a row.
CITIKIDZ = LOVE + BIBLICAL TEACHING + SPORTS
Our Lord’s presence was imminent upon our arrival beginning with the overwhelmingly warm and loving welcome. Their counselors and fellow campers from near and far immediately immersed them in God’s love. Activities ranged from basketball and dodgeball tournaments to high ropes climbing sessions. The fun and healthy competition between the Romans and Galatians teams was a blessing to witness. All of the children were shown and modeled team values that transfer to life skills such as: relationship, excellence, safety, participation, enthusiasm, character and truth.
A highlight of the week is their motto, “I’m Third,” printed on t-shirts and wristbands. The saying teaches campers that we put God first, others second, and then ourselves as written in Matthew 22:37-39. While the campers are being ministered to, the Kaleos – those “called” to leading youth – are also ministered to throughout the week. The spiritual retreat allows youth leaders to commune with the Lord through in-depth bible studies, regular exercise, nature, and thought-provoking discussions. Camp serves as a wellspring to refresh youth leaders and equip them to serve our young people.
SPIRITUAL AND PERSONAL GROWTH
The entire week is truly an experience; even mealtime is energy packed with chants, cabin challenges, and the importance of not wasting food. I returned home chanting to my family, “take all you want, eat all you take.” It’s a camp ritual that teaches portion control, importance of not wasting, and accountability. No one wants to be the person who leaves any food on their plate as you are then surrounded by tablemates and other campers chanting and beating on the table until the plate is empty or you concede to wasting it. Wide smiles and laughter from young “kidz” to adult kidz up to seventy-something filled the cafeteria during each meal.
Our girls participated in daily bible studies and shared their personal testimonies with peers. Hearing updates from their counselors throughout the week about the behavioral changes, relationship building, and the leadership skills that our girls were exhibiting warmed my heart. Our campers received numerous awards on the final day to recognize their spiritual/biblical, athletic, and character building accomplishments. There were lots of tears as the campers shared hugs and goodbyes with each other, counselors, and staff.
A LASTING IMPRESSION
The conversations were very different on the way back to Charlottesville. We talked about God, their experiences throughout the week, and future plans. The camp director told our college-bound CHS 11th grade honor student that he is looking forward to the first summer that she serves as a counselor at SB2Dub. This was an ideal opener to remind her of the prior invitation for her to serve as a counselor for Abundant Life’s upcoming Bible Camp which she then committed to. She participated in our counselor training and did an outstanding job working with our younger children. What a week! My taste in music even expanded during camp and the girls were shocked that it was my idea to listen to gospel hip-hop for the entire return trip. Summer of 2019… ”Abundant Life is in da house”!!!
Citikidz is a blessing to the body of Christ and a catalyst for changing communities, one camper at a time.