By Andrew Bartlett “Our community is concerned with Antioch; our presence here is just as much of a sign as it is in other regions in the world. Investing into kids is invaluable, especially those who have been overlooked by popular society, even the church,” remarked Alison Loope, following a long day of tutoring local youth with a program called Antioch Together: Summer Leadership and Day Camp. The day camp, which serves children ages 5 to 14, hopes to develop the character of 90 local students from the Antioch area. Alison Loope, Craig Duffy, Jodi Thress and Liz Kalama (fellow students of the Institute for G.O.D. International), have been essential in Antioch Together’s mission through developing the camp’s curriculum, teaching in the classroom and serving the children of the camp 5 days a week.
Each week the camp teaches the children biblical values along with relevant life application. The curriculum takes children “around the world,” exposing children to different cultures and regions of the world. Jodi Thress says, “It's not only a summer job, but an incredible opportunity to learn how to work with children and teenagers. We're learning to improvise and to re-plan at any moment when something does not seem to be working. There are definitely challenges every day, but they are respecting us more and more, while learning important life lessons.”
Reflecting on the kids of Antioch, Craig Duffy remarked, “I hope the best for these kids. I hope they get a taste of God during this summer and see something different in us.” In agreement with Duffy, Liz Kalama continued, “I hope these kids are better off because of this camp. I hope that they are different--less selfish, healthier, and more aware of other people, coming to understand that different isn't bad.” The education of children is an essential activity within the kingdom of God. Loope, Duffy, Thress, and Kalama are displaying the patience, diligence, and compassion necessary in working with children as they testify, along with Jesus, that 'it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.'