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WinShape Camp coming to the heart of Madison this year

Jim Graham is pumped up about what the summer holds for Madison. Graham, the children’s pastor at Wall Highway Baptist Church, has just returned from a rally in Atlanta to prepare church and community leaders for this year’s WinShape Camp for Communities tour.

For the past two years, Wall Highway Baptist Church has hosted the traveling WinShape Camp. This year the camp will be held July 9-13 at Asbury UMC in Madison.

“I’m very excited about what this year’s WinSpape Camp will mean to the Madison area,” Graham said. “This is such a great camp experience parents can trust, and a great way to connect the community. Of course, our ultimate goal is to allow the difference Christ makes in their lives to also make a difference in their families and communities.”

In 1984, S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, fulfilled his dream to create a camp experience that challenged youth both physically and mentally. Camps are now held throughout the United States.

WinShape put together four groups of 21 college students, and sent them on a nine-week journey to communities around the country.

Called WinShape Camps for Communities, the week-long event combines sports, arts, Bible study and worship for local children grades one through six.

“We continue to have great feedback from parents about the camps,” Graham said. “The children love the camp and can do nothing but talk about it to their parents the whole week.”

The children choose five “tracks” that most interest them. Some tracks are wacky science, flag football, cheerleading, painting, drama, digital photography, wiffleball, archery, rhythm and blues and “Lights, Camera, Action,” Graham said.

It does something else too. The WinShape Camp also brings churches and businesses in a community together.

Wall Highway Baptist brought WinShape to this area two years ago and has taken the lead in coordinating the camp each year, but other area churches come together to make this camp a reality for Madison.

Last year the church was assisted by Capshaw Baptist Church, which provided the site for the camp after Wall Highway’s gym roof collapsed, The Brook and Asbury UMC also helped.

Businesses can help by providing scholarships to area children who could not otherwise afford to attend the camp.

Activity tracks in the past included basketball, soccer, archery, secret ops, digital photography, percussion, yard games, wacky science, music, crafts, fast food and drama.

A camp favorite was an activity called “fast food,” in which the children made a variety of edible concoctions such as puppy chow, pizza and Oreo truffles.

Madison, 7, said her favorite part of the camp last year was special ops.

To conceal their secret missions, the children would start off the track by pretending to be studying “astronaut karate”. Once they retreated to their classroom, the disquise came off and the class got down to business of completing a number of mission assignments — all with the help of special spy gadgets, of course, like glasses that when worn made them invisible to anyone else.

Chick-fil-A in Madison will host a registration kick-off rally Feb. 13- from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will also be various “spirit nights” planned leading up to the camp.

To register or for more information go to www.winshapecamps.org or call the Wall Highway Baptist Church at 256-837-0971.