The Sun News

Matt Maher concert to benefit Winshape camps in Warner Robins

Matt Maher accepts his award for Worship Song of the Year during the Dove Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2015.
Matt Maher accepts his award for Worship Song of the Year during the Dove Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2015. Associated Press

Contemporary Christian singer Matt Maher will be in concert at Southside Baptist Church next week as part of his Saints and Sinners Tour. Maher was named Songwriter of the Year last year by the Gospel Music Association.

All proceeds from Maher’s concert will go to providing scholarships for children attending the Winshape Camps for Communities in Warner Robins this summer.

According to Morgan Hendrix, director of marketing for Chick-fil-A in Warner Robins, the Winshape camps are for children who have completed grades 1-9 and offer a week’s worth of activities that combine sports, recreation, arts and Bible study and worship. Winshape camps were started in 1985 by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, who wanted the camps to provide fun activities as well as training in character and Christian faith. The camps this year being held in Warner Robins will be June 6-10 at Green Acres Baptist Church and July 11-15 at Central Baptist Church.

Ninety-eight communities across the United States have Winshape camps during the summer. Warner Robins is the only community that has two camps.

“We have just grown so much and have a very involved Chick-fil-A owner-operator Pat Braski and were able to establish a second camp,” said Beth Greene, who is serving as volunteer coordinator for the Winshape camps in Warner Robins. This is her third year volunteering with the camp.

According to Greene, the slogan for Winshape camps is “The Best Week Ever” and Chick-fil-A and the local volunteers do everything to ensure that phrase comes true for the campers.

“There is a whole stage with very talented people that perform for the campers and classes in all different types of things — archery, crafts, sports,” Greene said. “We try to reach them spiritually, emotionally and physically.”

This marks the first year that seventh- through ninth-grade students have been included in the Winshape camp program. Greene said that Winshape realized that there was a gap — students could attend the camp from first through sixth grades and volunteer after they had finished ninth grade.

“The middle-school age was left out, so Winshape went back and designed a middle school camp program. This is the first year of it. The focus of their camp will be leadership; how they can be used where they are right now. We want them to walk away with a sense of community, that the world is bigger than just your own circle of friends,” Greene said.

Tony Whitley, associate pastor for children at Shirley Hills Baptist Church, first brought Winshape Camps for the Community to Warner Robins nine years ago.

“We understood that parents that weren’t familiar with us weren’t interested in a typical church camp, where you pack up and go off for a week a hundred miles away. We found that the Winshape model did everything overnight camps in our backyard, and we could engage more community members and kids,” Whitley said.

The camp outgrew the Shirley Hills Baptist campus in three years; the first year, 68 campers attended and about 750 are expected this year.

“The Matt Maher concert is going to be good, good music and will help fund scholarships for camp,” Whitley said. “Southside is a phenomenal venue for a concert.”

There are still openings for the Winshape camps in Warner Robins. Go to winshapecamps.org to register your child. Scholarships also are still available. For more information on scholarships, contact Beth Greene at 396-5670.

Maher will be at Southside Baptist Church at 7 p.m. June 10. Tickets to his concert are on sale now and are $20 and are available online at Eventbrite.com/o/chick-fil-a-9382660066.

Alline Kent can be reached at allinekent@cox.net or 396-2467.

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