It’s one of the conundrums of Christmas that we wait all year for the grandchildren to visit and then we wonder what we’re going to do to entertain them.
Enter Summerfest. It’s the answer to everything - a gift from Trinity Church.
For 17 years, Tamworth East Public School has been the scene of a remarkable holiday adventure. It’s a full-on program of exciting activities and genuine caring for holidayers from kindergarten to Year 9.
The primary children will be taken through a program of Bible stories, games and craft. For the teens, there’s a cool menu of absolutely crazy games, group discussions and just hanging out.
A popular feature is the Boys Night Out and the Girls Night Out, where they get to talk honestly about what life is like for them. It’s a very special bonding time with each other and with leaders who have been carefully chosen and trained for the role.
But there are treats for the parents too. Serious goodies at the aptly named Getaway Café with like-minded people.
Trinity is a church that has a heart for community. Sunday services are 9:30am at Carinya. It also runs a playgroup, kids and youth groups and migrant English classes. On Tuesdays in January it is running a Christianity Explored Course at 7.30pm at the UNE Centre, 24 Fitzroy St.
Seventeen years of faithful work has paid off. There is a large clientele of familiar faces who can’t wait to get back and see old friends again.
Mothers talk of children who suddenly get excited when they see the Summerfest banners go up. One mother gave her daughter a choice of horse riding or swimming, but she chose Summerfest.
Many children have gone right through from KG to Year 9 and into leadership. One of these is Elise Smith.
“My parents brought me to Summerfest when I was eight. I was a little bit nervous, but it was great fun and everyone was kind. I looked forward to it every January.
“There was such a wonderful relationship with the leaders and the other kids.
“The Bible talks were presented in a fun way with puppets and characters.
“High School years were a highlight. Relationships with leaders blossomed. They were such caring people and I looked up to them. We had these absolutely mad games. It was a time when I came to really take Jesus seriously.
“When I got to Year 11 it was natural to join the leadership team and start giving back.
Elise is now 20 and at university in Newcastle. But she still keeps coming back each year. She is now the coordinator of the Year 2/3 section.
When asked why, she says, “I just want everybody to know Jesus".