Two years ago Pastor Bob Evans of Temple Baptist Church had a vision. Spurred by what he calls "an accidental suicide" of an area young person, Evans felt the Brainerd area needed an outreach program for youths.
"I felt we needed to try to reach some kids with a message of hope," Evans said.
So Evans presented his vision to youth directors at area churches and Camp Jabez was born.
About 25 lakes area youths from second to seventh grade gather at Temple Baptist Church once a week for 11 weeks during the summer. This year the camp's main focus was on performing arts.
At the beginning of the summer Evans presented the youths with different opportunities to raise money for a good cause. The organization they chose is called Christian Blind Mission, which supplies vitamin A to children in developing countries where vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
Evans said the youths at Camp Jabez set a goal of raising $300, which would supply an entire village with enough vitamin A to eliminate the fear of blindness because of vitamin A deficiency.
Tuesday, the children of Camp Jabez will perform a theater production called "You Can Make a Difference" about their camp experience this summer. The production will illustrate how children in Africa will react when they receive vitamin A to prevent them from losing their sight.
"(The program) will give kids a sense of significance and make them believe they can impact the world," Evans said.
Lunch will be served at noon while the program will begin at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Temple Baptist Church or at the door.
About 10 counselors from Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter have guided the children at Camp Jabez throughout the summer, helping them get ready for their big performance.
"It's encouraging to see the relationships building between the counselors and kids," Evans said. "The kids just soak it up and enjoy the relationships with these counselors."
Along with preparing for the theater production, campers took part in Bible study, physical activities, games and field trips.
Next year, Camp Jabez will run June through August. Call 829-2449 to sign up for this free camp.
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