Submitted by Brice Hughes

Ankeny UCC is small in numbers, but we wanted to make our VBS relevant for the children AND we wanted to increase involvement of the whole church. Our answer was Intergenerational Day Camp, creating experiences that involved people of all ages focusing on service to God, service to our church, service to our community, and how our Christian beliefs are applied in daily life.

The busy schedules of our kids meant choosing quality over quantity. Beginning in 2018, people eight months to ninety-nine years have been involved in our two to three half-days of camp. Activities are designed for maximum interaction between generations, and to make us aware of how our actions affect the world around us. Each day opens with icebreakers where we discover not only our differences but our similarities, something the younger ones often find surprising.

Craft activities were filled with opportunities for intergenerational sharing, and the crafts produced enhance our Church property and serve the larger community. We have…

  • built birdhouses that were auctioned at church to raise money for DMARC, (Des Moines Area Religious Council)
  • created peace poles to go in our prairie,
  • made stepping stones to decorate around the church,
  • created cards for our church to use,
  • painted small pictures to decorate our hallways,
  • completed nature scavenger hunt,
  • and completed many crafts and projects to be shared with others.

We also use outside resources to broaden our scope of coverage such as,

  • Zoo and conservation people who gave us presentations about how we interact with nature,
  • Fire and EMT personnel who came and taught us how they share community service experiences,
  • Boy Scouts who demonstrated first aid,

Intergenerational Day Camp has been a successful and rewarding adventure, and has become an important and enjoyable part of the identity of Ankeny United Church.  Relationships have grown and we have become much more aware of God in our daily lives.