Face-to-face classes are being held at schools as the step-by-step daily recovery (with COVID-19) has begun in 2022. Students are glad to see their friends again at school, but they have difficulty adapting to changed school hours and complying with school regulations. Parents are worried about their children’s concentration problem and relationship with their friends.
The Church of God held the student camp during school break to help students prepare for a new semester in good health and make their vacation a time for learning and growth. The student camps were held at each local church in the Philippines, the U.S., Canada, and Peru from the middle of July to the end of August.
Since the student camp was held onsite in two years, it was well-organized with various programs such as Bible seminars, field trips, and volunteer activities. Using their spare time, the students focused on the words of the Bible, which became a guide and a compass for their lives. At the Bible Preaching Contest held by each region, they presented truth subjects and reviewed what they had learned.
During the camp, diverse lectures were held so that the students, our future generation, could grow with good characters and positive visions. Professionals in many fields appeared on the podium with various themes, including characters education on listening and communication, fire safety education, and the current issue of “Climate Crisis and Carbon Neutrality.” The students focused on the lectures with their twinkling eyes and went on to a training with a serious attitude. Many parents too attended and spent time communicating with their children.
Park Mi-ae, a field instructor at the Gwangju National Police Agency, who gave a lecture on the prevention of juvenile crimes, said, “I feel proud that I’ve cheered the students up to run toward their dreams with healthy and happy hearts throughout their school years.” Kim Byung-woo, the former Superintendent of North Chungcheong Province, said, “Every time I come to give a lecture, I’m surprised at how much the students and their parents are paying attention to the lecture. I was able to communicate deeply because they asked in-depth questions.” He also said, “In the 21st century, good personality will be one of academic abilities. I hope that the students will grow up well and contribute to society.”
In this student camp, the activities of youth student volunteer groups that belong to the International Student Bible Academy [ISBA] were remarkable. The students experienced the importance of protecting the environment by cleaning the surroundings of their schools. They also carried out cleanups at many local attractions such as May 18 History Park in Gwangju, Daejeoncheon Stream, and Yeonan Pier in Incheon, Korea, which enabled them to show good examples to the communities. In some regions, they helped farmers just before the harvest season.
In the United States, the students in Salt Lake City, Utah, laid bark on the playground of Wallace Stegner Middle School and picked up trash to beautify the school. The students in Chicago, Illinois, visited the Niles Fire Station to deliver God’s love along with 50 snack packages containing chocolates, energy drinks, and letters. The firefighters welcomed the students, and showed them fire trucks, emergency vehicles, and firefighting equipment. They also taught them the value of life and the spirit of sacrifice.
Sister Jeong Jae-yeong (Seoul), who cleaned the streets around Jangwi Middle School in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, Korea, said, “When I was walking on the street before, I hardly noticed any trash. However, when I was cleaning the same street, I was able to easily spot them. I was happy to be able to clean the streets.” Sister Oh Seung-yeon (Daegu) said, “Most of the trash we picked up today was small plastic bags and pieces of plastic. Because people think, ‘It won’t be a big deal for a person to litter,’ the street gets easily dirty. I will not litter on the street, and if I see trash on the ground, I will pick it up.”
ISBA is a Bible education program that helps youth students live a healthy school life and build good relationships through ISBA club activities and volunteer services as well as Bible education. The students of the Church of God have been taking the lead in brightening their communities and leading their friends through constant volunteer services. In May, the Youth Student Volunteer Group of the Church of God in Denver, CO, U.S. received The President’s Volunteer Service Award signed by President Joe Biden in recognition of their voluntary efforts for the public good.
After spending a meaningful time with their classmates, seniors, juniors, the youth students felt the true taste of volunteerism. They recharged their positive energy and were ready to enter the new semester with joy.