Tuesday, February 26, 2013

After School Program Kicks Off!

On the afternoon of February 4, Camp War Eagle and The Jones Center opened the doors to a bus full of excited, chattering children. How is this any different from a normal week? These children were the first participants of the newly opened Camp War Eagle After School Program (ASP). 
Each week, 52 1st-5th graders from Jones Elementary School leave their campus on a school bus and head for The Jones Center. Upon arrival, students are greeted by energetic staff, many of whom have ties to the Camp War Eagle family, whether having been summer counselors or current volunteers with the year round program. Backpacks and jackets bearing the image of Hello Kitty, charismatic cartoon cars and others are hung on hooks as students line up to enter the ASP space. After a nutritious snack, groups assemble for their first rotation. On a given day, one of the three groups may participate in a variety of exciting activities. In the gym, students engage in recreation with new games like freeze tag, helicopter or basketball bowling all purposed to encourage an active lifestyle and teamwork. In the learning center, the staff read stories to the students, assist with homework and host fun, educational activities. Recently, students celebrated the week of Presidents Day by reading the biography of Abraham Lincoln and writing letters to our current president. The crafts room teaches fun and useful crafts each week to stretch the creativity of each kid.  The game room hosts a “game of the day” like Uno, musical chairs or Carpetball. This is a wonderful chance for kids to interact with one another constructively. Additionally, to improve their reading comprehension, the students are required to read the rules of the game aloud and then help explain them to one another. The playground is another opportunity for student to engage in healthy peer interaction outside of a classroom. Each group rotates through multiple stations daily, building a pleasant mix of learning, recreation and creative fun into each child’s schedule. Each day ends with a time of focus on the Camp War Eagle Core Values taught through entertaining stories. Through a fun narrative storybook or skit the staff encourage the students to develop integrity in every area of life. 
Parents of the children taking part in the after school program have appreciated the program as well, stating, “I like that he gets to spend time with other kids outside of school, he usually just goes home and sits in front of the television playing video games.” Also, “I know his mother really loves the After School Program because her work hours are later. It works out perfectly.” 

Amazing Camp War Eagle is excited to be in collaboration with The Jones Center and Jones Elementary to provide this fantastic resource to kids and families in east Springdale. We hope this is only the beginning of lasting relationships and personal development for these wonderful students. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bentonville Birthday Club

It only took Samantha Chase two swings before the colorful contents of the dinosaur piñata exploded onto a nearby wall. A frenzied spree to collect candy and prizes ensued below a dangling curtain of crepe paper streamers. And with warm hearts, every single person in the room was wished a happy birthday for the fourth or fifth time.
Now in its third year, Bentonville’s annual Birthday Club is an exciting diverge from usual club nights as a means to specifically celebrate the life of each individual.  The themed night graces both Primetime and Summit groups with its presence each year, with the goal of every student feeling celebrated simply for being alive.
The evening takes the shape of a child’s silly birthday party. Decorations are bright and bountiful, with the responsibility of making the club venue look “completely awesome” given to the students upon arrival. Without hesitation, streamers fly and balloons inflate. Within minutes, a simple room becomes fantastic. Party games are played and a raffle is held to decide the 8 students who will, blindfolded, decimate an oversized, overstuffed piñata.  Cheers break out as a whistle is blown and “BIRTHDAY!” is yelled, a Camp War Eagle tradition observed almost daily in the summer to commemorate camper birthdays, followed by clapping and a birthday wish.
In Summit, high school students were challenged with throwing each other 5 minutes birthday parties. Girls in one room, guys in the other, the two groups had a bag of supplies and a few minutes to work together and plan a meaningful experience for the other group. Guys were treated to a “Mission Impossible” themed birthday, complete with obstacle course and glow sticks.  The guys returned the favor with a birthday gift performance for the girls, a choreographed dance to “One Thing” by One Direction.
The goal of Birthday Club is always reached in a fun and memorable way. Kids are reminded of the appreciation and thankfulness staff has for each of them, as individuals, simply because they were born. And all of that comes with a cupcake on top.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Summit Worship Night, February 2013

The scene: a room gently accented by Christmas lights, worship music playing lightly in the background and the smell of a home-cooked meal lingering in the air. High school students from Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville made their way to the Jones Center last Friday for the first semiannual all-city high school worship night. The evening began with students socializing over an Italian meal of pasta, salad and breadsticks. Providing a family atmosphere for students around a dinner table taught in a moment a value often lost in current times. That being, the importance of warm discussion between members of a camp family, coming together to continue forging the loving bonds of listening and encouragement over the simple but necessary task of eating. Through the everyday activity of being fed, students and leaders were not simply filled with food, but with the sustenance of holistically nourishing relationships. 

Students then transitioned to the worship segment of the night, as Ozone leaders Jonathan Chavez, Allison Meads, Sean Fuller, Jackson Hoyt and Springdale Director Wes May led in worship. The band's songs, which spoke of the great things that God has done, were interspersed with testimonies from various leaders. Bentonville intern Liz Harter shared about how God has helped her through hard times, including the passing of both of her grandmothers within the past few months. Fayetteville intern Ryne Pruitt talked about how we are saved by God's grace, not through our works or trying hard to earn our salvation. Students had the opportunity to gather in small groups of friends to share about God’s work in their lives as well as prayer requests for one another. Discussions about noticing how God had been evident in both the obvious and not so obvious blessings were a common theme. 
A small group discussion
The evening ended with a time of coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and games. As one of the few all-city events throughout the year, worship night served as a fun opportunity for students from around Northwest Arkansas to spend time with one another, reconnect with old camp friends, meet new people and enjoy the community that Ozone provides.

For more photos, check out our CWE365 fan page!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

CWE365 Student Bloggers: Karley Siemens, Springdale Summit

Karley, left, participating in Great Pretenders '12
I have been to Camp War Eagle’s summer sessions for four years, and even a family retreat. These fun summer days left me with incredible feelings and memories of new friends, worshiping God, and enjoying the great outdoors. Sadly, the feeling is a quick high and fleets with reality of returning to routine life. “High School is rough,” is the warning I received from friends and family, and it is true. However, there is a solution.

The solution is simple; get involved in something that represents you. I quickly became involved in high school without assessing my morals or myself. Many call this journey “finding-yourself,” “life” or “self-actualization.” But, for me it was an act of God and I found my way to Ozone. Maybe that is dramatic, but for me it is reality. My friends found joy in parties and drama. I disdained not being allowed to pray before sports games. I had dry attempts and frustration at becoming a better artist. Those were my struggles and I had no clue what to do until Ozone.

Springdale Summit
I am so thankful for my parents. They saw my struggles my junior year of high school and thought that Ozone would be an ideal place for me. My mother literally dragged me there, bribed me with a McDonald’s sweet tea, pushed me in and ran. When I walked through the doors of Ozone, I saw people laughing, playing games, hugging. I was greeted with open arms.

There is never a set schedule of activities for Ozone. I love it. Some days its all games and food, some days it is pouring into prayer, some days it is just talking, some days it is growing in our knowledge of God’s amazing book, the Bible and sometimes it is all of it! Every time I leave, three things are accomplished. First, I feel revived enough to make it through the rest of my week, second, fellowship happens and third, my relationship with the Lord is strengthened. Ozone is a big group of fun people who really, really love God and really, really want to share that love.

Springdale Summit Girls Christmas Cookie Party
It is now my senior year, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. Francis Chan, a Christian writer, wrote, “Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?” I am so thankful for Ozone. I don’t know what I would do without Erin, my leader in Springdale, to talk to and lean on. I don’t think she will ever realize how much I need her encouragement and light in my life. She has been leading Ozone through the book of Luke and showing us how Christ accepts everyone, Jew or Gentile. I love the college girls who minister to us constantly. This year Ali Dunaway (Springdale Intern) has really impacted my life. She has invited me into her life and shown me a way of having clean fun that can happen at all times. She has helped me overcome emotions and stumbling blocks by leading me to God’s Word. I love the students I attend to Ozone with! I love being able to share words of encouragement to all the girls and be part of their growth in God. They are a solid group of friends with hearts in the right place, they are always there for me and in that aspect is what makes Ozone so great. At school it is great to have a group of friends too. This year we have competed in a lip-syncing competition, cleaned up Beaver Lake, visited colleges, had an amazing Christmas party, and just hung out at least once a week. These are amazing opportunities I would never find and do myself.

Springdale Summit girls hang out at Braum's
Camp War Eagle’s Ozone is perfect for me, because it is a reflection of my morals and who I am. I went from being dragged into it, to now driving all the way across town with pure glee and excitement.  Ozone has really helped though high school and just life in general. I am always so thankful to be a part of the amazing program. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

CWE365 Student Bloggers: Ashley Wilson, Fayetteville Summit

Ashley, seated center, with Ozone friends!
The following was written by Ashley Wilson, a 9th grader at Woodland Jr High and long time Ozone participant.

The most important thing I have learned at Ozone, since I started going when I was twelve was to "...confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" Romans 10:9. That same year at Camp War Eagle, I had a great counselor named Katie Fisher, who helped me believe and say this. Once I truly believed this was true, my life changed forever.
My Ozone leader Katie Shuett, mentioned she noticed the change. I would read the Bible more often, volunteer to pray and would pray silently to God. Katie took me to church and each time I would ask a lot of questions I wanted answered.
This is what I love about Ozone; the change,… through your relationship with Jesus Christ. You can also ask leaders anything that you are pondering and give them prayer requests, knowing that they will pray. I have changed because they are my role models and I (like every kid) look up to them. These leaders are our "teachers" to show us how to have a successful relationship with The Lord. Once we have a relationship with God, they show us how to continue it. I learn so many things at Ozone each time I go there that it is shocking. Lastly, I love how Alyssa Hanson always has Bible verses to tell you about. Sometimes a Bible verse is what you need to be happy on a sad day or when you want to know more about our amazing Lord who died for our sins!
Some thing else that I love about Ozone is how leaders get you to interact with people. Throughout some games, I guess you can call them trust games, you make friends. I have met so many friends thanks to Ozone! One of my friends I'm so thankful for is Wendy Stuart! She goes to school, CWE, church and Ozone with me. From getting to know her, I love how we can give each other prayer requests and talk to each other when we need comfort.
I'm so proud I have accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and through Ozone have met all of my wonderful Ozone friends! We together help one another get to know the Lord better and we are truly considered a big family nonetheless!