By Manny Cruz
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout Arizona, it not only created various challenges for ministry but also many opportunities. The Arizona Conference Adventurer Coordinators decided to not cancel the annual Family Camp and instead hold a virtual Family Camp where kids and their families could camp in their living rooms or backyards and still participate in the weekend event.
Under the theme “God Works in Me,” more than 50 Adventurer Clubs registered and participated in the virtual camp earlier this summer. On Friday evening, hundreds of Adventurers and their families tuned in via Facebook and YouTube to be greeted by the Arizona Adventurer area coordinators: Elda Diaz, Ugonna Woods, Chely Sanchez, Marlene Navarro, and Celina Navarrete.
Conference President Ed Keyes also greeted the virtual campers from his living room, where he had set up his camping tent.
Carmen Cruz wrote the theme song and led worship for the virtual camp. Pastor Melanie Cruz from the Camelback church served as the host for the weekend program.
The guest speaker was Rich Aguilera, “The Mud Guy,” from Berrien Springs, Michigan. One of the highlights of the virtual camp was a new Arizona Adventurer who also served as a co-host.
Under the theme “God Works in Me,” more than 50 Adventurer Clubs registered and participated in the virtual camp earlier this summer.
He was a puppet named “A.Z.” who was funny and very entertaining.
On Sabbath morning, the Adventurers were greeted by Pastor Andres Peralta, the World Adventurer Director, all the way from Silver Spring, Maryland. Little Ketziah and Sebastian Estrada from the Scottsdale-Thunderbird Club shared a beautiful song.
Jehiel Bright, an Adventurer from China, also shared a song as special music. Pastor Armando Miranda Jr., the North American Division Adventurer Director, shared words of encouragement.
It was nerve-racking to try and livestream all of these different people from all over the world, since we were all new to using the technology. We discovered that it’s much easier having people in the same location. However, God blessed, and everyone enjoyed the programs.
The livestream was viewed by Adventurers from Arizona and all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, China, Italy, Bermuda, and Barbados. It was a bit overwhelming to discover that on Sabbath morning there were more than 900 people watching the livestream. Praise God that everything worked OK and there were no problems with the technology.
The Adventurers spent the rest of the Sabbath doing crafts and participating in various hands-on activities that included a Bible trivia game and cooking. Many parents and grandparents reported that the kids were engaged and seemed to enjoy the livestream. They were glued to their computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs throughout the weekend.
The Adventurers enjoyed the music and messages, and they loved how fun and interactive the virtual camp was. They even learned how to make a simple and quick camp-style meal with limited ingredients.
The Adventurers were asked to send in pictures of their pets and all their activities during the weekend. At the end of the virtual camp, they were treated to a slideshow featuring all of the pictures of themselves and their pets.