Articles From the September 1994 Unification News
Region 6-Heartspring Day Camp
by Vicki Henry
The Region 6 Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN was the site of its third Blessed Children's workshop held the week of July 11-15. Thirty-two children, ages 5-10, attended from five states (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota). As it was only a day camp, whose hours were 9-5, children from outside Minnesota also had the experience of staying with another blessed family for one week. The workshop fee was $30 for the first child and $25 for each additional child. Snacks were provided but each child had to bring their own lunch.
Director and coordinator of the workshop was Mrs. Peggy Weller. Teachers were: Vicki Henry, Rosemary Yokoi, Teri Jorgenson, Peggy Weller, Edward and Esther Batino. Assistants were: Mary Jane Anderson (also our resident nurse), Keiko Foss, Elizabeth Patterson, Tim Henry, Denise and Noriko Pearson, Ken Hendricks (visiting from New Jersey) and Emi Sugiyama (an older blessed child visiting from Japan).
Planning for the workshop started in May with meetings and many a phone call. After gathering everyone interested in helping with the workshop, the first order of business was to establish a mission statement. A discussion on all our hopes for our children's future and their life of faith ensued. Eventually we settled on the following: "The purpose of the workshop is to provide Blessed Children an opportunity to feel God's love and to understand True Parents' heart. It is also to be a time for the children to establish friendships and strengthen their faith through such activities as: worship, Divine Principle lessons, art, dramatics and outings."
The next course was to set up a curriculum. In order to provide continuity and a sense of order we came upon the "theme" idea-each day would have a certain theme (see insert). We also decided it would be good to divide the children into two age groups in order to facilitate better learning experiences. (All the children would start and end the day together, however.)
Morning service was deemed to be creative in form. They were to set the tone for the day as well as to inspire and sometimes wake up the participants. Many of the services were skits done by staff members to exemplify the day's theme. The remainder of the day was divided into formal lessons, craft activity, story/video time, skit rehearsal (for their presentation on the last day of the camp), playtime or field trips.
Of utmost importance were three things we wanted to give the children. One was to stress how they, as Blessed Children, were special to Heavenly Father and to give them ammunition to battle the peer pressure they encounter in public schools. The other was to make sure the children would be able to make something they could take home, whether to display or wear. And, thirdly, simply to have fun and make friends with other children who could be their support group in the battle with Satan's world.
All the children made a clay piece that they also painted, and then got a shiny spray finish put on them. They also autographed the backs of everyone's T-shirt. Teri Jorgenson had designed and drawn the camp's name and logo ("Heartspring") on all 32 T-shirts beforehand. The younger group (grades K-1) did colored sand designs in a glass jar while the older group (grades 2-5) made a pin out of "Friendly Plastic" that got baked in the oven. The most exciting time was the two field trips. On Wednesday (Creation Day) we all went to Crystal Cave-one hour outside of Minneapolis. For this we hired a professional bus service so there would be adequate insurance coverage in case of an accident due to the long drive. This was the first time in a cave for many of the children. An awe-struck moment was when the cave's staff turned off the lights and three everyone into pitch darkness (a working lesson on how dark the universe was before there was light).
Thursday, Culture Day, was the trip to Fort Snelling by the Minneapolis airport. It is set up just as it was in the early 1800s with actors doing many of the same things the early inhabitants of the fort did. The two biggest attractions were the shooting of the cannons and the blacksmith making nails.
On the last day, Certificates of Participation, signed by Rev. Hun Suk Lee, our Regional Director, were given out, as well as a small present for their good behavior. Parents were invited to attend the ceremony as well as to see their children perform. The younger group did a rendition of "High Hopes" complete with gestures. The older group performed the Dr. Seuss story, "The Sneetches." Afterwards all were invited to an ice cream party.
In all, the workshop went quite smoothly with few instances of any fighting; the children were genuinely inspired. The best example of this was a little girl who is ultra-shy. She started out the week very hesitantly, sitting on the sidelines, but by the end of the week she was all smiles and beginning to initiate conversation with others.
We, as staff and parents, also learned a lot about sacrifice and unconditional love and giving. Without these things, no amount of organizing would have made the workshop a success. We were also lucky to have a staff and especially a workshop director, Peggy Weller, who have a firm commitment to our children's education and life. We feel the workshop was a high point in our children's religious education, a meeting ground for new friendships for them as well as a springboard for a deeper commitment to their life as a Blessed Child.
Mon. Korea and Won-wha-do: understanding the Korean personality and culture as well as social studies. To understand Korea is to understand True Parents.
Tues. True Friends: Peer Pressure, How and why we are special to Heavenly Father, Coping with Satan's world
Wed. Creation Day: Why God made the creation
Thurs. Culture Day: Appreciating our roots while establishing a new culture
Fri. Family Day: Ideal family/Ideal world (relationships); skits and ice cream social
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