Remembering Summer Camp 2018

Summer Explorers Camp 2018 has come and gone. We now have memories of songs, time spent on field trips, memory verses from our daily and weekly chapel and bible study moments, and, most of all, the relationships that we have shared as we learned, shared and grew together this summer! This is a video of the many memories 1st Explorers shared together this summer. I hope you will enjoy this video of our summer camp memories. 
1st Explorers Director

Summer Time and the Livin’ Is Easy


Although Memorial Day Weekend typically signals the unofficial start to summer, First Baptist Church got a week’s headstart.

No, I’m not referring to the typical summer-like pattern that evolves in our mountains with foggy mornings and afternoon thunderstorms. I’m referencing our children’s campout and sleepover this past weekend. As our 1st Explorers Ministry Director, Kelly Brown, details in his own reflection, the young men in our Royal Ambassador program went on a campout to the Davidson river while our Girls in Action had a sleepover at the church.

On Saturday morning, I drove across Highway 276 to rendezvous with the boys as they began to strike camp after a wet night in the Pisgah Forest. Yes, the boys and their leaders were a bit damp, but the bacon that Chris Moore was frying had everyone in a festive mood and the boys played whiffle ball beneath the drippy canopy of leaves. There was an unmistakable feeling of accomplishment among them, and I delighted in the sense of community that had sprung up among the men and boys. With the smell of a campfire flooding my nostrils, I couldn’t help but smile as the men drank coffee and the boys acted like boys. After a long and at times torturous winter, we had finally made it to summer.

Summer is a time for Sabbath-taking. It is ripe for new rhythms, late dinners and walks along a lush river valley. Summer is also a unique time for service and ministry as the season provides unique opportunities to assist our friends and neighbors while we tell them the “old, old story” of Jesus and his love. At First Baptist, we will strive to honor both rest and mission.

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Here are some highlights of what we have planned for this summer:

-Sylva First Wednesdays concludes for the spring on Wednesday, June 6. Our Wednesday night programming in the fall will begin anew on August 22.

-Our joint Vacation Bible School with other downtown churches will run from June 11-15 in the mornings at Bridge Park. There are countless ways that you can serve the children and our families that week. Join us to help lead the children’s small groups, or to provide water for volunteers, or to visit with parents, or to help set-up tables and tents, or to simply be a part of the joyful chaos that is Vacation Bible School. Truly, the sound of children’s laughter is a balm for a sick and weary soul.

-Speaking of children, our 1st Explorers Ministry will again be offering their robust offering to the community with our Summer Explorers Camp. Although you may not have a child or grandchild participating in this wall-to-wall summer ministry opportunity, your Sunday School class can choose to partner with Kelly and our staff to provide unique opportunities of connection with children and their families this summer. I can think of no better ‘home’ mission opportunity than for a group, ministry, circle or couple to adopt a summer camp group of children who will be on campus with us over 40 hours each week. Think of the relationships that could be built and strengthened!

-As a church family, we’ll gather for fellowship on three Sunday afternoons this summer to relax, play and devour ice cream. Yes, we’ll be headed to the pavilion at Deep Creek in the Great Smokies Mountain National Park on June 24 where we’ll eat and play, and we’ll have our traditional potluck picnic at East LaPorte on August 26. But sandwiched between these two events will be a new gathering where we’ll have supper on the church grounds. On Sunday afternoon, July 15th, we’ll enjoy a hot dog supper followed by a veritable feast of ice cream afterward. It’s been some time since we crowned an ice cream maker champion, so get your recipes primed and ready for our contest after supper that evening.

-Of course, it’s not summer without the crack of a bat. Although our children and youth will be at their respective Passport Mission Camps the week of July 4th, that won’t stop the rest of us from taking in an Asheville Tourists game on the 4th of July at 7 PM. We’ll drive separately but sit together. And after the game, we’ll be invited to head out onto the field to take in their fireworks display. Tickets are $10 each and must be purchased by June 4th in our church office.

-Oh, and there’s much more. Our youth will be meeting together on Mondays from 4-6 PM each week, and there will be church hikes and a host of other mission opportunities to be a part of, as well. We know that your family will be traveling and vacationing this summer, but we also hope you’ll choose to broaden your chumminess with our own church family this summer, also.

Summer is a sweet, sweet gift and we’re not about to waste it. So, look around and see God at work in our beautiful mountain home. Feel the mist from a thundering waterfall. Take in an evening with friends by a fire pit. Barbecue on a rusty grill by a cement picnic table in the national park. Listen to the melody of the songbirds. And above all, be thankful.

It’s summer, and the time is ripe to play, rest and serve.

1st Explorers Wishlist

1st Explorers is doing great things in our Wee Explorers Pre-School, After School Ministry, Summer Camp and many other offerings! 

From time to time we need assistance with supplies. I wanted to share with you some needs: 

  • Bottle glue and glue sticks 
  • Washable markers 
  • Sharpie Permanent Markers
  • Expo Dry Erase Markers 
  • Crayons 
  • Pencils 
  • Scissors
  • Varied colors of construction paper
  • Loose leaf paper
  • 1-1/2inch binders 
  • White Computer Paper
  • Scotch Tape 
  • Beach Balls 
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Rulers 
  • Lysol Spray
  • Clorox Spray
  • First Aid Kits
  • Sanitizing Wipes
  • Pots and Pans 

Please consider helping us with some of our needs throughout the year! Check out our Amazon wish-list at:

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 828-339-0130 or

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Spring Break Care

We invite school-age children to sign-up for Spring Break Care, March 5 - 9, 2018. Care will be provided each day 7:30 - 5:30 and students must bring their own lunch. Each day students will go on field trips and participate in fun and exciting activities! 

Fee are: 
$100 for one child
$150 for two children
$225 for three children
$35 per day if you would like to attend specific days. 

Spaces are limited for Spring Break Care! 

Sign up here:

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Summer Explorers Camp 2018

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We're excited to share information about 1st Explorers summer 2018! Tentatively camp will officially begin on June 18th and the end date will be determined once the Jackson County Schools 2018 - 2019 school calendar is released. 

New this year we will offer mini-camps the week before Summer Camp begins and the week after Summer Camp ends with limited enrollment, information about those camps are available below.

Our Kindergarten - 4th graders will have grade specific groups. In their groups they will be led by summer counselors in activities that are designed specifically for their age group and are tailored to make their camp experience fun and memorable!

 5th and 6th graders will have a newly designed camp experience that will assist them with the transition into their middle school years! They will participate in activities and trips that are tailored to their development level.   

 7th - 12th grade students will participate in an exciting new leadership and mentoring program. This group will have the opportunity to work with our Youth Minister, Carol Cloer, and learn ways they can serve as peer leaders in our camp groups. Each week they will spend time planning and leading an activity for younger campers and will participate in team and leadership development courses. 

We're excited about all of the learning, sharing and growing that will happen this summer through a variety of activities, including faith development through Bible study and chapel, trips to the pool, gardening, cooking, going to the library and various places. 


Traditionally we are closed the week following the end of school and the week before school begins in August, but this year we will be offering limited enrollment mini camps during those weeks. 

Fees are: 
$100 for One Child
$150 for Two Children
$225 for Three Children
*$35 per day if you would like to attend select days. 
*Campers must bring their own lunch. 

Wee Explorers Preschool 

(3 and 4 year olds)
Will offer a half-day camp from 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Cost: $250 per month

Summer Explorers Camp (K-8)

7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
First Day of Camp is June 18, 2018

One Child $650  ($100 dollars of tuition due by March 5th)
Two Children $1,000 ($200 dollars of tuition due by March 5th)
Three Children $1,400 ($300 dollars of tuition due by March 5th)

Summer Explorers Camp + Passport

his summer, children and youth will be able to attend an overnight Christian camp experience called PASSPORTkids! in Montreat, NC, July 2 - 5 or PASSPORTchoices in Greensboro, NC, July 1-6. 

PASSPORTkids! is for campers going into the 4th, 5th or 6th grade at the start of the school in August. While at PASSPORTkids! Camp, campers will participate in Bible study, worship, missions and many other fun activities with campers from all over the Southeast!
A deposit of $50 per camper is due on February 16th.
Total cost per camper is $295.

PASSPORTchoices is for campers going into the 7th - 12th grades. While at PASSPORTchoices Camp, campers will participate in Bible study, worship, missions and many other fun activities with campers from all over the Southeast!
A deposit of $50 per camper is due on February 16th.
Total cost per camper is $225.

Sign up for PASSPORT Camp on our church website here:
*Some scholarships are available.

Additional Information

Applications for camp are open until February 2nd. Upon acceptance to Summer Explorers Camp, your family will receive an email confirming your child's acceptance and how to begin paying.

Families with balances from other 1st Explorers programs will need to pay their balances before being accepted to Summer Explorers Camp. 

All payments are non-refundable and accounts must be paid in full no later than May 15th.

Paying for Passport Camp is separate from paying for Summer Day Camp. 

For more information about PASSPORT, visit them on the web at

Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided at Summer Day Camp. 

Parents Night Out Care

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Over the next few months we will offer several Parents Night Out events. We hope you will take advantage of one of these opportunities. We do ask that you sign-up for them by the Wednesday before to avoid having to pay an extra $10 per each child! 

Fees: One Child: $25; Two Children: $30; Three Children: $35

January 12: Dinner will be pizza and fruit! Participants will create snowman mobiles!
February 2: Dinner will be spaghetti and breadsticks! Participants will create paper plate heart wreaths!
February 16: Dinner will be Grilled Cheese and Fries! Participants will create heart crystals.
March 16: Dinner will be Pigs in a blanket and chips! Participants will do marshmallow shamrock stamp painting.
April 6: Dinner will be Pancakes and hash browns! Participants will create shaving cream eggs.
April 27: Dinner will be hot dogs and Fries! Participants will create cloud and rain water wind stocks!
May 4: Dinner will be tacos! Participants will create piñatas!
May 18: We will have a sub bar! Participants will create paper plate umbrellas!

You can sign up here:

1st Explorers in December

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During the month of December our 1st Explorers will participate in Advent themed activities as we begin to anticipate the arrival of the Christ child. During the season of Advent, we will emphasize the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love through bible study and activities with our Explorers. We hope with the information provided in our calendar you will talk about these studies at home, also in the calendar you During the month of December our 1st Explorers will participate in Advent themed activities as we begin to anticipate the arrival of Christ. During the season of Advent, we will emphasize the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love through bible study and activities with our Explorers. 

 We hope with the information provided in our calendar you will talk about these studies at home, also in the calendar you will find information about our Christmas Party that will happen on December 8th in our Mission and Fellowship Center, this year students from Sigma Chi Fraternity and athletics at Western Carolina will be providing presents for our children and playing games with them.

Please take note that our last Parents Night of 2017 will be on December 1st and that we will not be providing Early Release Care on December 20th.

Over the Christmas Break we will pause our weekly newsletter until January 1st which will be full of updates about new things we will be doing during the spring semester. We hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! Kelly