Celebrate His birthday — at camp

Pam Griffin
The first Holy Kidz camp was held this past summer as a joint effort with Holy Mackerel at Immanuel. The second is a birthday party for Jesus/winter camp this December.

Children love to celebrate birthdays, their own or someone else’s — and this year, they can celebrate the birthday of Jesus in a very special way.

But how do you plan a birthday party for Jesus?

Tami Carr, founder of Holy Kidz Camps, believes the crucial ingredients are cake, ice cream, a play based on Jesus’ birth, fun Christmas craft stations and, most of all, the beauty and majesty of the Christmas story.

“Starting with the party and continuing the week after Christmas, kids will participate in a fun-filled schedule of indoor and outdoor play, Bible stories and trivia, snacks, and crafts, all supervised by trained camp directors and helpers from Immanuel and other local churches,” Carr told The Log.

The six-day “His Greatest Gift” Birthday Party and Winter Camp will be held Dec. 22, 26, 27 and Jan. 2-4 at the Destin Life Center at Destin United Methodist Church for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The Holy Kidz Winter Camp, the first-ever winter camp in the Destin area, will provide childcare and a safe place for kids to have fun during their Christmas break from school while they are creatively engaged in the story of the birth of Jesus.

Carr was children’s pastor at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin where she began the Holy Mackerel summer camps in 2006. Designed to teach children the Word of God outside a classroom environment, the camp drew 50 percent unchurched children and planted the seeds of faith in their hearts that God could grow into Christian maturity. Holy Mackerel gives children memories to fill their hearts and friendships to last a lifetime, but for Carr it was more than just an outreach project.

“At church Aug. 28, 2011, I felt God telling me He was taking me out of the church, but not out of ministry,” Carr told The Log. “My heart started beating so fast and the tears started pouring down my face. I was so scared. But, I have learned the hard way — when God speaks I listen.”

Following God’s leading, Carr resigned from her position at the church and founded Holy Kidz Camps, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Christian organization for children, birthed out of Immanuel.

Carr’s greatest love is Jesus and her passion is to encourage children to know and love Jesus.

“My vision is to encourage little ones to know and love the Lord by planting camp programs,” Carr said. “That could be a summer camp, an after-school camp, a mother-daughter camp on the weekend or any opportunity when I can capture children’s attention and talk to them about our Father.”

Wherever the camp may be, Carr’s greatest priority is providing a place where children can meet God.

“These camps are where God leads me and the church or business opens their doors for me,” she said. “So, it is movable. I am sort of a ‘camp on wheels’. I am hired either as a team that comes and puts the camp on at your location, or I train your company’s team on how to do the camp.”

Carr is currently working on adding camp locations across Northwest Florida, and she is working to plan camps at two churches in Georgia. She now oversees the planting of Holy Kidz Summer Camps across the Panhandle of Florida and wherever the Lord shall lead her.

“It’s about bringing new kids in for them to experience what we do and how we do it, showing them a place where they come and learn the word of God, have fun doing it and meet new friends,” Carr said.

“My prayer is that I will stay alert and obedient to God’s call. I will plant the camps and seeds that He will grow.”

For more information or to donate, email holykidzcamps@gmail.com, call 850-586-8264 or visit www.holykidzcamps.com.