Backyard Bible Club offers students an opportunity to plug into the Campus Ministries program at Ouachita. Students spend time with local children in Arkadelphia, play games and get to know the children better. Volunteers get to hang out with kids ranging from 2-to 14-year-olds within the community. Backyard Bible Club visits local apartments complexes every Monday and Tuesday from 4-5:30 p.m. throughout the school year.
Members of BBC spend time with children at three major apartment complexes. On Mondays, volunteers visit with Ross and Pine Court apartments, and on Tuesdays, they visit with children who live in the Carpenter Hill apartments and houses on South 14th street. Each location is roughly five minutes from campus, so students carpool from Ouachita. Students meet around 3:45 p.m. near the mailboxes on the first floor of Evans Student Center.
Volunteers with BBC get the opportunity to serve as friends and mentors to younger children within the Arkadelphia community. Students get to play games with the them and have fun on the playground, while also building relationships with the children.
“It will probably seem loud and chaotic during playtime, but you just have to immerse yourself in the club and the culture,” said senior Stephanie Westberg, the club’s coordinator. The club converges after the first playtime for a story. This semester, the theme for story time is ‘Who God says I am.’ Each week, the children will hear a different Bible story. Students will then get to settle down into smaller groups and meet with kids on a more personal level. They’ll build relationships with these kids and get to talk to them about their faith and what the stories mean to them. Small group time is accompanied by a much-needed snack after the day’s activities. After snack time, the club ends their hour-and-a-half meetings with another session of playtime to cement these relationships and really connect with the children.
Davis Wadley, a sophomore from Batesville, heard about Backyard Bible Club from a member of his home church before coming to Ouachita.
“It’s really cool seeing kids from Backyard Bible Club out in the community. It feels like I’m a part of the community,” Wadley said.
Wadley did not begin attending Backyard Bible Club until after Tiger Tunes 2015.
“I started going every Monday. It was incredible pulling up to these apartments and listening to kids yelling ‘OBU’ because they were so excited to see us,” Wadley said.
In the spring semester, Backyard Bible Club members have the opportunity to take children that attend the club to Camp Wamp, a weekend-long retreat. At this retreat, leaders summarize many of the Bible stories the kids hear throughout the school semester, and the leaders make sure the campers have fun while they’re learning. Kids will be shown a camp experience that many of them may not be able to have ever again. By connecting with the kids, the Camp Wamp experience will cement the values and lessons that Backyard Bible Club wants to see implemented into these children’s lives.
Students interested in joining Backyard Bible Club can fill out a ministry interest form at www.obu.edu/campusministries.com. To show their interest, students need to ‘check’ the Backyard Bible Club box. A background check form is required, which can be found in the CM office. If a student has already submitted a background check form at any point, they are exempt from submitting another.
For any questions about Backyard Bible Club, contact Stephanie Westberg at email@example.com or visit www.obu.edu/campus ministries.
By Will Blase, Student Writer