South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – Congaree Kids Kamp 2019 ended with a bang Friday night as fireworks lit the sky in South Congaree. This was after a week of fun, food, activities, and learning about Jesus Christ and his saving grace. According to the cook team, they fed an average of 800 children per night plus staff members. The number increased in the latter part of the week as the weather improved. That’s a pretty good indicator of how many people attended camp this year. This was the 21st year that many ministries from across the region have come together to put Congaree Kids Kamp on.
Rain may have affected the attendance somewhat early on, but it didn’t affect the fun. As they have every year, children ages 4-15 years old were able to do so many things they may not have ever gotten to do anywhere else. It’s not every day that you can pet a camel, and most of the children had never gotten up close to or ridden a horse. At Congaree Kids Kamp they could.
Each night featured activities like face painting, basketball, inflatables, crafts, a petting zoo, dinner theater, lots of music, sports, snacks, and a full meal. The cook team was led by Bobby Jeffcoat, a well-known chef and a big bear of a man with an even bigger heart. Every night also featured a theme. There was a t-shirt night, a Super-Hero night, a Wacky Tacky day, Crazy Hair day, Neon Night, and on Friday, things ended with Patriotic night that had lots of red, white, and blue and a great firework show at the end. All the children had a blast participating in the nonstop action.
There was a worship tent on site and team members to explain to the inquisitive children about a man called Jesus. Every year, hundreds of kids make the decision to confess their sin and accept Jesus as their savior. The opportunity to know and follow Christ isn’t forced on the children. For most, once they are exposed to team members who model Jesus’ love for them, many of the children want what they have, a relationship with Jesus and the gift of eternal life.
No one church tries to “recruit” the children for their congregations. When children ask where they can learn more, they’re given information about churches with youth programs in the area. This year 15 ministries participated, lending volunteers, making donations, and helping to coordinate the fun. Each volunteer must pass a rigorous background check before they can work around the children. In all, there were about 400 volunteers that made this Kids Kamp happen in 2019. The South Congaree Police Department, along with the Cayce Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement officers, provide security each year and there’s a medical team on the grounds for safety.
Several of the first nights, inclement weather caused a little disruption. This isn’t a major factor because the entire event is held at the Equestrian Arena on Oak Street. This large facility that’s completely covered, provides ample protection from rain and lightning.
In the end, Kids Kamp Congaree was a huge success as always. Everyone should first thank God for helping to make it all come together. Additionally, Christ Central ministries, Congaree Baptist Church, Crossroads World Outreach Center, Dunn’s Chapel, Ebenezer PH Church, Jesus Is The Way, Laurel Baptist Church, Lighthouse Baptist Church, New Heritage PH Church, New Hope Worship Center, Platt Springs Baptist Church, Praise Family Worship Center, Safe Harbor Worship Center, and the West Columbia PH Church. The Town of South Congaree and members of the community also does a great deal to make this happen each year.