First Baptist offers a full range of opportunities for children, from Bible study to music and missions, to camps and special events. Children are a vital part of our life, not only in the classroom but also as participants and leaders in worship. Within a nurturing and stimulating environment, we desire to help them create a strong personal relationship with Jesus and to establish a firm foundation for their spiritual growth through scripture, missions, prayer, worship and fellowship.

Sunday School
Learning about God starts bright and early on Sunday morning, with Biblical classes designed to help children understand the importance of God in their lives no matter what their age. First Baptist is lucky to have some dedicated individuals, from certified teachers to long-time volunteers, willing to teach and share God's love with our children each week. Sunday School is offered for children and youth from preschool to 12th grade. We begin with prayer and songs during opening exercises on the third floor, and then split into small groups to dig into God's Word.

Nursery care is available for infants and toddlers up to three years old during the Sunday worship service. We have a staffed nursery each Sunday, and parents are welcome to rejoin the congregation upstairs for the message. Those nursing or unable to leave their small children can still listen to the sermon, as a speaker in the room is connected with the Sanctuary. Our nursery is located on the lower level next to the preschool room.

Second Hour
After coming forward to listen to the Children's Story, kids 12 and under head off to the "second hour" of their children's worship. During the 45-minute adventure our preschool and elementary-aged children embark on, they share in fun, Bible-oriented activities with games, crafts and a snack. Teenagers assist the Second Hour helpers downst or remain in church to listen to God's Word. Find out more about our youth program here.The second hour rooms are conveniently located downstairs next to the nursery, and we ask that parents personally come pick up their children at the end of the church service. Be prepared for them not to want to leave!

Music & Performance
At First Baptist, we believe that for children, the best way to understand God's Word is to be able to see, hear, smell, taste and touch it. To that end, we seek to use as many visual aids as possible, whether it be smelling frankincense to understand what exotic items the Three Wise Men brought to baby Jesus or tasting a fig to understand what the ancient Hebrews treated as a "dessert." Our exploration of the Bible also takes the form of skits and musical performances that are small ways in which the stories of the Bible literally "come to life" for children. These regular presentations, from short songs celebrating Mother's Day to the large annual Christmas play, are typically performed during the Children's Story for the congregation. Often, older children who take either vocal or instrumental lessons coordinate with our organist to perform a special piece of music during the offertory. Our desire is to see children learn to worship God through music and understand His Word with vivid portrayals from the Bible.

Summer Camp
What better way to point kids towards God then through enjoying His creation? Camp Carmel, a local Baptist-run summer camp in Dunbar, Pennsylvania, gets kids outside, where there is no doubt about the awesome nature of our God. While the campers are exploring all that He has given us they are guided by solid Christian counselors, who demonstrate God's love for the children through the relationships they build during the week. Camp Carmel focuses on leading campers to a relationship with Christ or strengthening the relationship they already have with Him, while participating in exciting activities like rock climbing, hiking, swimming, kickball games and even waterfall jumping! Open to kids from 1st through 12th grades, for 4th graders and older, camp lasts one week, while 1st through 3rd graders have a short weekend stay called "mini-camp." Our children hold a fundraiser during the course of the year, ranging from spaghetti dinners to boxed lunches and bake sales, to help them earn their way to camp.

Missions Work
At First Baptist, children learn the importance of sharing God's love and how they can be involved in local and global missions efforts through hands-on mission projects during the year. Our largest program is Operation Christmas Child, an annual project founded by Samaritan's Purse that we start working on in the fall. When our children go out and buy back-to-school supplies for themselves, Children Education buy school supplies too, for needy children in desperate situations around the world. These items, purchased through donations from the congregation and local community, along with simple toys, jewelry, candy and toiletries, are packed into plastic shoe boxes and delievered to children around the world by Christmas. Since 1993, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been packed, shipped, and delivered by Operation Christmas Child. The children of First Baptist love being involved in this simple, hands-on missions project, while learning to focus on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ. Our chapter of Operation Christmas Child is named in memory of Rachel Core, a teenager in our church.

Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School, usually held every July, is one of the largest annual outreach programs we host for children. For ages 3 through 5th grade, our week-long VBS is an exciting rollercoaster of fun for everyone! Children have the opportunity to explore various Biblical models each year and the program features five truths for kids to learn. Arts and crafts, music, worship, snacks, and physical activities along with Scripture-focused lessons are offered in a loving and nurturing environment. Dates are announced in the spring. Vacation Bible School is an excellent way to reinforce Biblical concepts and to bring the message God's love to children.

Special Events
With our active children's ministry, there is always something exciting going on at First Baptist. We hold several special get-togethers for the children and youth of the church during the course of the year. Sponsored by the Board of Christian Education, these outings are opportunities not only for the kids to play together, but also a chance for their parents to form deeper relationships with each other. Every fall we have our annual Hayride & Bonfire outing in the country on a church member's farm. For the kids, getting to tour a real live dairy farm is an amazing chance to see God's creation in action. Come winter, sledriding is the activity du jour, with hot cocoa, a crackling fire and great fellowship to warm up with afterwards. Then there are smaller playdates during the course of the year, too. These gatherings are a perfect time for our youngest kids to have fun in a Christian environment while their moms and dads talk about the struggles and joys of parenthood together.


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