WinShape Camp: Aldersgate UMC prepping for ‘best week ever’

March 21, 2018
(Kari Barlow for AWFUMC) - When the school year comes to an end, many school- aged children across Montgomery are left without a safe, fun place to spend their days. Aldersgate United Methodist Church is doing its part to change that.
 
This summer the congregation will host the city’s first-ever WinShape Camp on church grounds at 6610 Vaughn Road. “We’re using the tag line ‘best week ever’ because it’s going to be the best week ever!” says Rev. Richard Williams, minister of discipleship at Aldersgate UMC. “Private school, public school, homeschool—this is a camp for the entire city of Montgomery.”
 
The five-day WinShape Camp, slated for June 4-8, will be one of 10 WinShape camps being held across Alabama this summer. Children in grades 1-9 will spend five straight days worshipping together, learning about Jesus’ life and enjoying a wide range of activities from archery and basketball to cooking and musical theater. Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy and his wife, Jeanette, established the WinShape Foundation to support the camps, which started in 1985 in Mt. Berry, Georgia. Today there are five overnight locations in North Georgia and more than 90 day-camp locations across the nation.
 
“Jesus is all through the life and blood of everything WinShape does and what we do as a church,” Williams said. “All of the activities and skills such as archery and soccer to even musical theater are taught through the lens of the Gospel.”
 
WinShape has already begun training an out-of-town team of roughly 28 people who will be responsible for running the Montgomery camp.
 
Senior Pastor Brian Miller said that unique set-up will leave local volunteers free to spend their time with campers—an opportunity that has church members excited.
 
“In most VBS experiences, the volunteers have the weight of actually creating the crafts and making sure that everything runs well,” Miller says. “This year our volunteers are going to be the ones who actually get to connect with students. They will be the ones to welcome, walk with, celebrate and champion the kids along the way. They are there to build relationships.”
 
Aldersgate UMC recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the church attended by members of the Montgomery City Council along with local business and community leaders that have pledged support for the camp.
 
The congregation currently focused on recruiting campers, soliciting support from local businesses and raising money for scholarships that will benefit campers who need financial assistance. The cost of the five-day camp, which runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., is $214.
 
For more information about the WinShape Camp in Montgomery, call Aldersgate UMC at 334-272-6152.