Behind the Scenes of Holiday Club 2016

21 Jun 2016
Gareth Jacobs
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As we speed into the school holidays, our church kicks into a flurry of activity as we prepare for our Holiday Club programs. We managed to grab some time with the Holiday Club Director, Cathy Boucher, and ask her some burning questions that you may have about this year’s Holiday Club:

GJ: How would you explain Holiday Club to someone that has absolutely no idea what it is?
CB: Holiday Club is five days of absolute fun. Our job is to make sure the children are safe, happy and having the best time of their holidays and, in that, we also use that time to share who God is and how He can impact their lives. A typical day consists of games, a juice and biscuit break, worship, craft, hearing a message about God and small groups. Small groups is a big part of our day, since it’s where the children get to know their small group leader and unpack the message. Our holiday clubs are very relational, which is really great; we build strong relationships between our leaders and the kids. We also encourage friendships amongst the children and then, ultimately, a relationship with God - which is the primary goal of our holiday club.

GJ: Is there any kind of cost involved to the parents?
CB: Our holiday club is free - we don’t charge at all. We want any child to be able to attend no matter where they come from or their background, and we want them to have as much fun as possible. We are trying something new this year - we are aiming to have a zero cost holiday club, which would be beneficial to both our church and to our parents. The profit from the sales at our tuck shop will be go towards funding this year’s holiday club, so we would appreciate your support!

GJ: Is the Holiday Club suitable to special needs children?
CB: We always accommodate and care for special needs children. We have something called sensory tents available for children who have sensory modulation difficulties. These children on the Asperger’s scale typically wouldn’t be able to handle a regular holiday club. We have places for children who struggle with noise and sound, so they are still able to participate and listen to the message, but separate from the other 200 noisy children. As we usually do, during our Holiday Club training, our leaders received some training and awareness of how to deal with kids that have special needs. Lastly, we have ‘venue moms’ in each small group venue who assist us in this regard.

GJ: Exactly how secure will young children be at Holiday Club?
CB: We’re aware that some parents freak our when they see how many attend our holiday club, but we can assure you we are doing our best to make your child’s Holiday Club experience as safe as possible. God has been good to us and growing the momentum of our annual Holiday Club program to the point where we have up to 300 children registered during the week. But in order for us to go big, we’ve also gone smaller. Essentially, we run what can be described as three mini-Holiday Clubs within our Holiday Club. Our Grade 0 to 1s, which is the age group we are most concerned about, use the 2 Little Fishes Playschool facilities which is well fenced off and secure. They stay up there for the duration of the day; the only time they would leave that area is for big group time in the main church building - during which they’d be accompanied by their leaders. A small group leader is put in charge of overseeing a group of 10 children throughout the day. The ‘venue moms’ I spoke about earlier are an added security layer and have an idea of who should and shouldn’t be in each venue. Our Grade 2 to 3s are in the hall and the Grade 4 to 5s are in the Youth Centre, and we try keep our kids in those age groups as much as possible. By separating the children into these age groups, we are also doing our best to eliminate cross age group bullying. We do deal with any other forms of bullying as it is brought to our attention - we want holiday club to be loads of fun for everyone that attends!

GJ: How can we trust your team of Holiday Club leaders?
CB: I first need to make an important distinction between leaders and servers. As our Holiday Club grows and we increase our capacity, we need as many helping hands as we can get, so serving at a Holiday Club is open to anyone. However, to be in charge of a small group and lead the spiritual conversation during these times is a responsibility we don’t take lightly. To lead at our Holiday Club, we require leaders to have a made a decision to follow Jesus and be involved in our Friday Night ministries on some level or have led at previous holiday clubs. By journeying with us over that time, our team of leaders have all earned our trust and can recommend them to you as well.

GJ: What’s up with all the Lego?
CB: This year’s holiday club is so different from previous years - Showtime Holiday Club has been awesome, and our team has done well at those sorts of themes, but we’ve moved away from that this year. We felt like God is directing us to teach our children how to build good spiritual practises into their life rather than just speaking to them about who they are in Christ and how they relate to him. By going into these practicalities, like reading our bibles, how to hear from God and why we should listen, we feel like our kids will be better equipped to grow into a deep relationship with Christ. Lego is a theme that really ties in with our spiritual theme; often we’ll get a cool theme and then try tie in a spiritual theme, but this year our spiritual theme came first and that then lent itself into all of the Lego-inspired things you’re seeing.

The ‘Everything is Awesome’ Holiday Club runs from the 27th of June to the 1st of July, from 07:30 to 12:30 each day. Online registration is available by following this link: http://bit.ly/holidayclub2016 - we recommend pre-registering, as there is normally a fairly lengthy waiting time during registration on the first day.

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