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Camp out to prove 'church is fun'

By Kathleen Duncan
June 10, 2013 at 1:10 a.m.

Alyssa Salazar, 7, jumps and flips on the bungee trampoline at the Pine Cove Base Camp at First United Methodist Church in Victoria.

Tristan Sager, 6, jumped over the last inflatable wall of the obstacle course and bounced, laughing, into a spray of water Friday.

Tristan, of Victoria, was one of 128 kids who attended Pine Cove Base Camp at First United Methodist Church last week.

The camp consisted of Bible study, skits, physical activities, water slides and games that encouraged the kids to enjoy church while learning from the Bible.

Pine Cove Base Camp travels to different churches in various cities to host these weeklong day camps for children. After Victoria, it's headed to The Woodlands and Baton Rogue.

Jordy Barksdale, 23, site coordinator, said this is the first year Pine Cove has come to Victoria.

"It's been an incredible experience. This community has supported us and this church with so much excitement. All the staffers were housed locally, and everyone has been so supportive and encouraging," Barksdale said.

The camp focuses on helping the children see the Gospel lived out through the daily activities. "We show kids that church is fun. We have a fashion show for the girls, but we also teach them that the Lord sees them for who they are on the inside. All the activities have a spiritual lesson."

Before jumping on the slip and slide or climbing up the rock wall, children held hands and bowed their heads in prayer with their counselors.

"We teach them that it's cool to pray; there's no such thing as a bad prayer," he said.

Though not all the campers are members of the church, Barksdale hopes they will become a part of it after their week at the Pine Cove Base Camp.

"We came here because we believe in this church. We came to teach the Gospel, and we hope it will help keep people here after we leave."

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