Summer Quest: Youth enjoy break with park activities

Elizabeth Garcia, Damian Crombie and Rylan Roach partake in a Hula Hoop game where youth passed a hoop from person to person while holding hands in a circle. Wendy Nugent/HC Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NEWTON—Grace Community Church volunteer Andrew Hoelscher asked youth attending the Wednesday night session of Summer Quest in a local park what they hoped.

One of the youngsters said they hoped not to die.

Summer Quest is through Grace Community Church in Newton.

“It’s a little bit like VBS (vacation Bible school),” said Kyle Schanbacher, one of the pastors at Grace. “We take it to back yards and parks.”

He said that with VBS, everyone goes to the church, but not so with Summer Quest.

“We found that parents who wouldn’t necessarily walk through the doors of a church building are willing to drop their kids off at a park,” Schanbacher said.

Summer Quest, at least at Lincoln Park in Newton, included singing, even in a light rain with no thunder or lightning, games, a short sermon, crafts and snacks. One game was a relay race with kids carrying ping-pong balls on spoons while walking fast and another involved Hula Hoops kids and adults passed from person to person while everyone in a circle held hands.

Schanbacher said there are 10 sites for Summer Quest in Newton, which met last week from 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and 9:30-11 a.m. on the same days. There were different volunteers at each location.

Summer Quest culminated in an event on the church grounds this past Sunday with food and carnival games.

“Pastors will be in the dunk tank,” Schanbacher said last week.

There’s a reason the church is conducting Summer Quest.

“We love Jesus and we love Newton,” Schanbacher said. “That’s why we do it.”

During the sermon portion as rain-wetted kids sat on a tarp, Hoelscher talked about Jesus.

“You know what I believe?” he asked. “I believe Jesus Christ came to Earth and died for our sins. The hope that we have is both eternal and it’s present.”

Schanbacker said the church has Summer Quest every year. About seven years ago, they transitioned to getting it into neighborhoods and out of the church.

“We think it’s fun,” he said. “Get to meet new people.”


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