by Janet Birkmann, STM Admin Assistant (January 2017)
OP Missionary Rev. Ben Westerveld serves as the Pastor of St-Marc’s Reformed Church in Quebec City. Each summer, the church reaches out to the community with its “English for Kids” and “English for Teens” Bible Camps. Teams of English-speaking volunteers from sister Reformed and Presbyterian churches in North America are sought to conduct the camps.
English for Kids (Quebec City):
Three 1-week “English for Kids” camps are held in Quebec City, and one 1-week “English for Kids” camp is held in St-George-de-Beauce, Quebec (see below).
These Bible-centered, English-immersion day camps aim to share the gospel with local, non-believing, French-speaking families who desire opportunities for their children to start learning English at a young age. All camp activities (songs, Bible stories, crafts, videos/DVDs, and games) are conducted in English.
Children are sent home with a French translation of the Bible lessons that are taught. A French-speaking Camp Coordinator who acts as a liaison between the English-speaking volunteers and the French-speaking families ensures that the material that is sent home with the kids is properly translated into French.
Bilingual volunteers from St-Marc’s help the team run the camp. These volunteers, in conjunction with Rev. Westerveld and the Camp Coordinator, follow up with the families after the camp.
The final day of camp includes a barbeque and performance to which parents, family members, and friends are invited. Members of St-Marc’s also attend this event in order to make connections for follow-up ministry.
Teams are invited to bring their own curriculum and materials, perhaps from a Vacation Bible School program they ran in their home church that can be adapted to a program designed to teach English as a second language. Once a team has committed to conducting a camp, the Camp Coordinator will discuss in greater detail how to adapt such a program. The program must be submitted at least 6-8 weeks before the camp so that the Camp Coordinator can review it and send back comments for improvement if needed.
Teams ideally include a sufficient number of adults to supervise and direct the camp, and enough youth to help energize and work with the children. The ideal team will have between 15 and 20 members. Sometimes two smaller teams are joined to conduct one camp together.
All team members must demonstrate a credible faith and Christian life, and have a sincere desire to make Christ known through the project.
Individuals interested in joining an existing team may contact Rev. Westerveld (below) to inquire if there are any openings.
Please note that the congregation of St-Marc’s cannot absorb the costs of the English for Kids Bible Camps into its budget. Therefore, the church is delighted and encouraged by the support of sister churches and volunteers who enable them to reach out to the community in ways they could not on their own!
English for Kids team members are responsible for the following variable costs; however, a considerable part of them are usually covered by the campers’ registration fees:
- Housing (click here for housing options)
- Transportation to and from Quebec
- Local transportation
- Rental of the church facility
- Camp materials
English for Teens Camping Trip:
St-Marc’s also sponsors a 5-day “English for Teens” Bible Camping Trip held in the outskirts of Quebec City. Young men and women with camping experience are sought to help lead this trip. Costs include travel to and from Quebec, and some meals. All other camping and program costs are covered.
- The purpose of the camp is to teach English conversation and the Bible.
- Applicants must demonstrate a credible faith and Christian life, and have a sincere desire to make Christ known through the project.
- St-Marc’s Camp Coordinator and bilingual translators will run the camp and follow up afterwards with the families contacted through the camp.
- Camp activities include fishing, canoeing, campfires, survival training, and plenty of time to discuss the Word of God.
Québec is a great travel destination, and team members may want to allow time before or after their week of camp to do some touring. Click here for some options.
Click here to find Photos and Testimonials from past camps.
All volunteers are required to complete an “Application for Québec Short-Term Mission Program.” The application form is linked from this website when it becomes available each year.
Interested teams or individuals are encouraged to contact:
Rev. Ben Westerveld
OP Missionary and Pastor, St-Marc’s Reformed Church
Quebec City, Quebec