(Shaun Friedrichsen, Publisher)
This week, children from the region strapped on the armor of God as they participated in Five Star Bible Camp, which has been spreading the faith for 20 years.
Karen Dux, who is on the Five Star board of directors with fellow members Darby Davidson, Deb Hellbusch, Branden Dux, Gwen Schwab and Darlene Novotny, explained that the camp has provided an opportunity to learn about God and share the faith.
“This is our 20th year of Five Star Bible Camp,” said Dux. “God has been good for 20 years out here. It just keeps growing and growing.”
Dux noted that the attendance has increased in recent years. She explained that many of the children who attend Five Star take on leadership roles in the camp as they grow older.
“We have about 260 kids this year,” Dux said. “It’s one of the larger camps in the last couple years. We have kids now who are in leadership positions at the camp who were five when camp started. They are the ones just kind of taking the baton.”
This interdenominational camp was started by five local churches, but it has since grown to include many churches in the area, Dux stated. The children who attend have the opportunity to participate in fun activities while learning about the faith.
“It is a Bible-based camp,” said Dux. “The kids just learn about Jesus and God. This year our theme is ‘putting on the full armor of God,’ which is based on Ephesians 6: 11 through 18. So we’re talking about putting on God’s armor. The kids enjoy swim time, we have fishing out here. There are tons of planned activities, and we have a camp fire every night.”
This camp, Dux believes, is important to the community because of the values it instills and because the community helps to support it. She noted that this year the community donated over $18,000 to the camp, which allows it to be free to all of the children who want to attend. She emphasized how grateful the board is for all of the support from the community.
“It’s so important to our community of Fairbury,” Dux said. “First of all, the body of believers come together and plan for this camp for over a year. Then the children of our community have a place to go and learn about God, and just have a great time here together.”
Davidson explained that seeing the children grow in their faith is what makes Five Star Bible Camp meaningful to her.
“I think it’s important to know that our youth, who are going to be taking over next, are getting involved,” said Davidson. “Being around them as they fellowship, and fellowshipping with them, knowing that we have each other to rely on and depend on as we have a presence in the schools. Hopefully these kids know they can come talk to us. So, it’s great for us to be involved as adults, but also as the kids interact with each other, I enjoy seeing and knowing that they’re being good stewards of their faith, not just here at camp, but as they go out into the world.”
The experience and values passed on to children at Five Star extend beyond the event. Dux explained that another important aspect is service.
“We have a mission project every year,” Dux said. “One of our goals is to teach kids about service to their community and service to their country. Every year the high school camp has been collecting food for the local food pantry. This year we had over 1,000 pounds of food that we gathered.
“Also, this year with our theme being ‘Bible Boot Camp: Put on the Full Armor of God,’ the kids wrote some letters to two of our past campers who are now serving in the military,” Dux continued. “We have a care package we’re sending them. We’re also filling those boxes with personal messages letting them know they’re still in our prayers and we’re thinking of them even if they’re not able to come to camp now.”
Dux, who has served as the director of the camp the first year, the 10th year and the 20th year, is grateful for all of the help from her fellow board members and from volunteers who help to make Five Star Bible Camp happen. This is the first year that Davidson has experienced Five Star. She explained that she is very impressed by how everyone comes together to keep Five Star going strong.
“It’s incredible to look around here and see everybody here, not just the campers, but everybody it takes to put on this camp so that it truly is a great experience, a free experience for people from all over,” said Davidson.
“We talked about having this be a community camp that is God centered,” Dux said. “I think it truly is. Alongside the 260 kids, we’ve had almost that many adults involved. They’re all here just working like crazy. It’s pretty special.”