LAKE JACKSON — Singing joyful praises and learning Bible tales through interactive storytelling, children who attended the first day of Camp Hope in Lake Jackson echoed the camp’s theme of discovery through their activities.

About 17 kids ages 4 through 12 filled Christ Lutheran Church to play games and solve puzzles Monday morning, all while bringing them closer to their faith. Most of the people in attendance were not members of the congregation, said camp leader Shawn Galiley, but that doesn’t stop the staff and volunteers from teaching them valuable lessons about God’s love, he said.

“God views every person equally,” Galiley said. “That’s the most important thing we teach here.”

Galiley has attended the camp since he was just a young child and feels the need to give back and share his time with a place and experience he so fondly remembers, he said.

Broken into three groups by age, campers experience crafts, games, stories and music related to their weekly theme, which is discovery, along with their daily theme, which centered around courage on Monday.

The courage theme stems from the story of Moses, Galiley said. Beginning Monday, campers learned about his voyage as an infant in a basket and being found by the pharaoh’s daughter, he said.

“From Moses’ story, the kids can see how courage is built into our daily lives through the telling of his story in an interactive way,” Camp Hope counselor Cierra Cosme said.

Cosme, who worked with the youngest children Monday in a brightly decorated storytelling room, said this is her first year as a camp counselor.

A new theme is introduced to the campers each week, Galiley said. The crafts, games and even the snacks will be modeled after the theme, he said.

Monday’s snack featured a boat-shaped pastry with a pink candy inside, resembling baby Moses floating along the river in a basket waiting for his rescue, Galiley said.

The camp, which has been offered for more than a decade, has returned each summer to encourage kids of all faiths to come and share in fellowship with one another, Galiley said.

“You saw the older kids singing and dancing,” Galiley said. “They love it just as much as the little ones.”

While camp leaders expect attendance to hover around 20 campers for the three weeks it will run, Galiley said parents can register children at any point or just show up and register at the church.

Galiley added the experience will have a lasting impression on those who attend.

“I know a lot of these counselors from when I attended. There is some new staff, but I grew up with a lot of these people. I just love it,” Galiley said.

Courtney Blackann is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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