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Apr19ThuFoothills Church gives children a safe place to learn and have fun April 19, 2012 by Kristin Fryer
On Tuesdays in High River, Alta., the Foothills Church Adventure Club is the place to be. With plenty of games, crafts and other activities, it's the perfect way for children to spend the afternoon.
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- Territorial News
The club launched with three children in September 2010, but since then, it has expanded greatly. By the end of its first year, the club had grown to 15-20 children and, today, over 30 attend each week.
Lieutenant David Bond, corps officer, says this growth is due largely to positive word of mouth.
“The kids bring their friends,” he says. “It's a fun, safe place where they can learn and have a good time.”
The Adventure Club meets every Tuesday from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. This time is divided into four half-hour segments. When the children first arrive, they have 30 minutes to do various activities, including air hockey, video games and basketball, before they have dinner. Then they have a worship and Bible story time, and finish up with a large group game or craft.
When Lieutenants David and Nyree Bond started the club, the corps did not have any programming specifically geared toward children.
“We wanted to start something for the kids we already had at the corps, as well as the kids we didn't have yet,” says Lieutenant David Bond.
Today, most of the children who attend are not from the corps and they do not have a church background. Since last September, Lieutenants Bond have seen more overlap between the Adventure Club and the families who make use of the corps' food bank.
Though the club's target demographic is children aged 5-11, older children are not excluded.
“It was hard for the 12- and 13-year-olds who came to be just 'one of the kids.' So, instead of losing them, we incorporated them into a leaders-in-training program,” says Lieutenant David Bond. About 6-7 children of this age help out at the Adventure Club as junior leaders, looking after the younger children and making sure that they have a good time.
“That's going really well,” Lieutenant David Bond notes. “The junior leaders love it and they're doing a great job.”
The Adventure Club is part of a larger ministry to children and families in High River. Last September, the corps launched a series of monthly family fun nights to bring families from the corps and the community together. About 30-40 people usually attend these events.
The most recent family fun night, held April 7, was the corps' most successful yet. The Easter-themed event brought in 85 people, who enjoyed complimentary food, a film and a show by the Canadian Rabbit Hopping Club.
Lieutenant David Bond says these events are a great way for the corps to connect with people in the community.
“Our focus this year is to get as many people as possible into the church,” he says, “so we can build relationships with them and share God's love with them.”