13 young mothers conceptualized and ran an innovative approach to get young girls to grow in their knowledge of the Faith and Scripture. It took 9 months of work to set the stage for Bible Camp 2018, held last May at the grounds of PAREF -Woodrose School (Ayala Alabang, Philippines).
The Gauntlet is Thrown and Taken Up
“One way to reconcile the confusions that young people have regarding who Jesus is involves a return to Scripture to understand more deeply the person of Christ, His life, and His humanity,” reads the Pre-Synodal final document prepared by young people earlier this year. The Synod of Bishops on “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment” takes place in Rome on October 3-28.
“The children of this digital age were born into the “internet of things” where interactive platforms rule. They seek engagement and thrive on it,” Lead Coordinator Grace Bayani explained. “The objective was to introduce and foster love for Scripture, but foremost in our minds was how to do so in a way that would appeal to the participants.”
Version 2018 of the Bible Camp followed the format of the Amazing Race, a popular game show. “To make the learning process more active and engaging, we decided to the move from the traditional paper-and-pencil quiz bee format to that of an outdoor race that was familiar to teens,” Bayani explained.
The team of mothers sent invitations to various grade schools and high schools, student centers and girls’ clubs around the Philippines. The response was encouraging: 65 girls, aged 9-13, from the National Capital Region, Cavite, and Cebu replied and registered.
The Gauntlet is Run
Through several months, the organizers brainstormed and ran trials. The final concept was a race consisting of five legs and stations.
The first station was PATCH IT UP. The girls scampered to complete life-sized jigsaw puzzles depicting stories from the Book of Genesis and determining who the artist was.
The second station was LOCATE LOCUM. Here, the girls raced to locate three sites mentioned in the Book of Genesis: the place where Noah’s Ark came to a rest, the Tower of Babel, and the real Mount Sinai.
The third station was the most challenging, INSTAR EAM. The participants were asked to match the prefigurements in the Old Testament in Column A with the personages and events in the New Testament in Column B.
The fourth station was WIT AND FIT. The participants were asked 25 questions about events in the Book of Genesis. For each correct answer, they could scoop water from a pail and pour into a small aquarium with a boat that would float up one level.
The fifth and final station was IN SUPRA. The girls had to build a tower according to the sequence of the Days of Creation.
Everyone a Winner
At the end, the three front-runners were: Paltok Girls’ Club from Quezon City; Lavender Girls’ Club from Sta. Ana, Manila; and Mayumi Girls’ Club from Mandaluyong City.
But it was a winning experience for all. The organizers had the fulfilment of seeing the fruits of their labor well-received. The participants enjoyed every minute of the race. And the biggest gain of all was that everyone ended the day more familiar with the Book of Genesis than they ever were before.
“I learned more about God, like the story of how He made this beautiful world, as well as the characters of the Book of Genesis such as Noah, Abram, Sarah, Adam, Eve, Hagar, Jacob, Esau, etc.” said Hazel Lacandola of the Lavender Girls’ Club.
“I developed a deeper appreciation of Scripture and was able to form meaningful friendships with other moms,” added Games Committee organizer Charisse Olivares. “With these new friends, work never felt like work, meetings were never tedious, and no obstacle was too hard for us to tackle.”
Bible Camp 2018 set a new paradigm for learning and loving Scripture.