Unforgettable summer fun awaits campers at the Doris Todd Christian Academy Summer Camp Program on Baldwin Avenue in Pa'ia. A group of adults and college students have come all the way from the East Coast to provide a weeklong summer enrichment program for Maui youth.
The Christian Youth Ministries of Hawai'i, a faith mission team that ministers for a month every summer on Maui, recently arrived from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, to run the camp.
Liberty is the largest evangelical Christian university in the world. It is designed to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge and skills essential to impact tomorrow's world.
Christian Youth Ministries of Hawai‘i 2013 Summer Team. (Left to right, back row) Dayne Pickett, Lydia Chiles, Makena Bonheim, Corey Bonheim, Justin Bonheim, Josh Knipple, Reagan Treadwell, Justin Mazza, Mike Sikora, Blake Bonheim, Elizabeth Bonheim, Jamie Goss, Julia Bonheim, Monica Parson, (front row) Nadine Snyder and Whitney Bonheim.
Sponsored by the ministries of Doris Todd Christian Academy and Paipala Church of Pa'ia, which meets at the school, the team, which began coming to Maui in 1962, will conduct Bible studies, devotionals, crafts, sports, team competition, entertainment and various other activities in age-appropriate groups.
"Simply put, our summer camp helps each and every young person grow personally and spiritually," said Camp Director Corey Bonheim, who noted this year's camp theme is "Being Courageous in Your Faith."
Christian camp is a means for children to grow as individuals while exploring ideas, values and faith within the context of a supportive community of peers and adults. It seeks to help youth share gifts and grow in life skills while developing a positive self-image.
"We strive to provide a variety of opportunities and experiences to draw kids into active and responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the faith community," said Bonheim. "Faith, fun and friends, with food added to keep energies going."
Ed and Doris Todd, founders of Doris Todd Christian Academy, started the school in 1956 after years of working as missionaries in the Philippines.
"They recognized the opportunity to grow their ministry by incorporating young college men and women into their work," said Bonheim. Todd wrote to multiple Christian colleges, recruiting students for summer work on the islands. The first to respond was Bob Jones University in South Carolina, which sent eight students.
"The first team was formed in 1962 when students from Bob Jones comprised what came to be known as the Summer Team, living, working, cleaning, painting and scrubbing on the school grounds," Bonheim said.
Leta Carpenter, vice principal at Doris Todd, came on one of the first teams from Bob Jones and later returned to teach. "I definitely saw how the Lord was leading me to come back to teach on Maui, so I worked for a year on the Mainland to raise missionary support and have been here ever since," Carpenter said.
With almost the same experience, Carolyn Moore first came as a team member in 1969 with no intention of moving here. "God put a burden on my heart for this island," said Moore, now the principal at Doris Todd.
Dr. Monica Parson, associate professor of kinesiology at Liberty University, has served as a team member for 22 years. "Led by the Lord, I feel it is the ministry I am especially gifted for," said Parsons. This year she will be leading the evening camp program with great skits, songs and incredible enthusiasm.
Two other team members have permanently moved to Maui. Dayne Pickett has been invited to remain at Paipala Church to serve in full-time ministry. Jamie Goss will teach fifth grade at Doris Todd.
"I have been blessed to serve the children of Pa'ia through Christian Youth Ministries of Hawai'i as well as through teaching at Doris Todd," said Goss.
In 1969, Bob and Brenda Bonheim, Corey's parents, became the team leaders. The focus for volunteers changed to Liberty University where the Bonheims taught health and physical education for over 30 years.
"When my parents retired from traveling two years ago, my wife, Elizabeth, and I became team directors," said Bonheim, who feels blessed to return to Maui every summer.
A series of fun programs and activities began on Thursday, June 20, at Doris Todd, and included free youth events.
"We had themed evenings full of games, snacks and plenty of fun to get children interested in coming to camp," he said.
The week included the 2nd Annual Water Wars and the Color Craze Event. Survivor Night will be held on Thursday, June 27.
Maui Christian Youth Camp Session 1 starts Sunday, June 30, and runs through Wednesday, July 3, for students who have completed grades one through five.
Session 2 begins Thursday, July 4, and runs through Sunday, July 7. It is for students who have finished grades six through 10.
A $90 fee includes food, insurance, sports, crafts, snacks, activity transportation and a camp T-shirt. Camper scholarships are available.
Team members strive to be led by the Word of God. They hope that campers will develop and nurture a Christ-like life, so that whatever they do mentally, physically, spiritually or socially will contribute to a love of God, a respect for others and good citizenship.
The camps will be held at Doris Todd Christian Academy at 519 Baldwin Ave. in Pa'ia.