We’ve Got the Power!: 2016 “VBS”

Duke Memorial UMC

This year we’re partnering with the Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods) team at Duke Memorial to bring you our version of VBS – “We’ve Got the Power,”  a community organizing camp for children ages 6-12. Camp will happen June 13-17 from 5:30-7:30. Dinner is included.

You can register here: http://goo.gl/forms/qN7mVZEbcw

One of CAN’s focus issues is affordable housing as we grapple with rapid development in Durham. Our church camp will also focus on this issue. Here’s how we’re doing it:

When children arrive at camp they will receive a character whom they will play throughout the week. Their character will have name, job, amount to spend on housing each month, mode of transportation, and family info. Children will then be given a cardboard box that corresponds with the amount they can afford to spend. The bigger the amount the bigger the box.

Throughout the week children will be assigned to like-age small groups with an adult or teen facilitator.

Day 1: What’s in the city
Children begin turning their assigned box into a house. Each group will also get to pick a box to turn into something they’d like to see in their community: a park, school, swimming pool, unicorn farm where free ice cream is served at all hours, etc. In addition they will get a box to make into something we need in a city that may not be as exciting: stores, banks, city hall, grocery stores.

Day 2: Build your city
When the children return this evening their retail, civic, and recreational boxes will be placed on the floor of our large gathering hall. Each group will get to place their houses in their area of the city, corresponding to what they want to live near, their transportation and family needs. Small groups will discuss how it felt to make this choice and why they chose what they did.

Day 3: City changed
The next day children will return to find their city has changed. Developers have come in over night. New hotels and condos have taken up space in the city. Smaller houses are now far from downtown. Each small group will take a tour to find their houses. They’ve also received a letter from the Developer explaining why they’re houses were moved.

This is when we introduce our Community Organizer. We’ll do a lesson on the three sectors of power and how to organize our power. We’ll learn how to assess our assets, how to negotiate, and what we want to see changed.

Day 4: A city organized
Today children will come in to find the Mayor and City Council are meeting on our stage. They will brainstorm four questions in their small groups: What do we have? What do we want? What are we willing to compromise on? What do we think the City Council wants?

A rep from each group will then go to City Council to negotiate. With the help of an organizer we’ll get the win we’re looking for through negotiation and compromise.

Day 5: A new city
We get back to together on Friday to rearrange our city based on the negotiations from the previous day. Adults are invited to sit with their children through this last day as we remake the city. We’ll let children walk adults through the process of the city’s change. Everyone is invited to see what we’ve been up to throughout the week!

We’re hoping you can join us as a participant or volunteer!