Firehoses, Gaga Ball, and a week at Palisades Park were just part of this summer’s first DaySpring Camp in Pineville, WV. DaySpring, a ministry of Spring Heights, offers day camps for youth in rural areas of the West Virginia Conference. This is the program’s third year and it continues to grow as an invitational, disciple-making ministry.
Dan Lowther, Pastor of the Pineville/Matheny Charge and Director of Field Service for New Vision Depot, started the program in Pineville this summer after learning about DaySpring at last year’s West Virginia Annual Conference. The aim was to invite young people from the community into an activity that is not only fun but also creates opportunities for discipleship.
“I wanted to do something for the community, but I knew my small, older congregation couldn’t manage a youth camp,” Dan said. “At Annual Conference during Spring Heights’ presentation they talked about DaySpring. I saw what they were doing and offering, and I knew this is what we needed. I contacted (Director of Young Disciples and Outdoor Ministries) Shea James and (Spring Heights Director) Amy Mullins and they explained the camp was for areas that didn’t offer much to kids. We all jumped right on it and chose the city park rather than the church because we could do more there and have more space.
“Some of the other churches in the area were holding Vacation Bible Schools, and we informed them that this was going on,” he continued. “We soon saw participants from Presbyterian and several Baptist churches in the area. All of us came and worked together. Each church has had a different volunteer group with us each day. It’s been awesome. We had donations from the community and we were able to receive a Mission Initiative Grant through Global Ministries to help us put this on. It’s been great and a wonderful week. We’re looking forward to having it next year.”
Local kids who had not attended a DaySpring camp before said, “I think DaySpring is awesome because I get to play fun games and meet new friends.” They said they enjoyed the staff and were interested in attending the Spring Heights summer camp. They also look forward to the program being offered next year. Click here to see photos from DaySpring Pineville.
DaySpring camps, operated by Spring Heights leadership and staff, will continue this summer throughout the Conference at the following locations:
Rainelle, WV UMC – July 8-11
Clendenin, WV UMC – July 22-25
Grace UMC, Keyser, WV – August 5-8