BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Beginning next summer, a new program called Passport Kids will be introduced by Passport Inc. to children from completing third through sixth grade with the help of the Birmingham-based Passport and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Passport Inc. is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1993 whose focus is to offer three different ministry projects: ministry to youth groups through quality summer camp programming; ministry to youth ministers through RELAY newsletter and Harbor retreat; and ministry to those in need through the each camp's daily involvement in the community service projects.
The new program Passport Kids will follow the structure of Passport’s teenagers camp but they will format it to make it appropriate to each age group. This time in addition to regular activities such as swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, archery and a ropes course, they will integrate mission commitment.
Missions experience is what makes Passport Kids program different from Passport camps. While the teen camps feature offsite ministry projects, Passport Kids will offer missions projects at the camps. Also special activities will be offered for the sixth graders who will be entering junior high in preparation for their teenage years.
About 14 staff members have been successfully recruited and trained for the camp program to work with the children.
"Passport Kids will integrate missions commitment with the fun and excitement of a children's camp," said Mark McClintock, coordinator of Passport Kids camp. "We want to plant the seeds early in children's lives for a commitment to following Christ and to reaching out to people around the world."
Many children’s ministers felt the need to improve children’s camp. McClintock said about twelve ministers, including himself, gathered to plan Passport Kids prior to leaving his position at Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.
"There has been a lot of contact with children's ministers to make sure what we're doing meets their needs," McClintock said.
"The 2004 theme is 'On the Edge,' featuring the Romany people group of Europe," says Colleen Burroughs, executive vice president of Passport. They will focus on the ministry of missionaries who work with the Romany, or Gypsy
"We want worship and Bible study to be well-integrated, so it is a holistic approach," McClintock said.
The 2004 Passport Kids camps will be held in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri. The four-day camps run from mid-June through the end of July. Thirty-two churches have already pre-registered.