Camp Watermelon

Summer Camp Sessions for rising Kindergarten through 8th grade 

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard. Galatians 5:22 (MSG)

What is Camp Watermelon? 

Camp Watermelon seeks to teach kids about Jesus and loving others while having fun in a community of new friends. We make crafts, play games, practice encouraging and serving each other, and learn Scripture in tangible, applicable ways that encourage team building. Campers will have time in the day for free-choice activities as well as rotate through several activity stations on campus. Campers are placed in groups of 10–12 children led by 3–4 wonderful teenage counselors who have growing relationships with the Lord. 

Why does FPC host a summer camp program? 

The good news of the Gospel often begins to grow roots in the lives of young children when they know they are loved and enjoyed.  It is our calling at Camp Watermelon to know and enjoy the uniquely wonderful things about each camper. Counselors are trained and encouraged to relate to the kids as incarnation witnesses, reminding campers of their status as children of God.  We seek to love our campers because Jesus first loved us.  We also want to love campers so that they might be swept into the beauty of Christian community.  Most importantly, we want to love campers well so that they might be drawn closer to God’s heart. 

Another reason we do what we do is because play is so important in all of our lives.  Play is vulnerable, fun, messy, creative, delightful, risky, natural, and good. Kids play intuitively, but busy-ness and technology become limitations to creative, life-giving play. Sessions at Camp Watermelon are a place where campers and counselors are blessed by the joy of playing together and connecting in a uniquely wonderful way.  

About the Staff 

Erika Shapiro, Director of Church Recreation and Fellowship 

Camp Watermelon is the vision of Erika Shapiro, Director of Church Recreation and Fellowship. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Erika moved to Nashville after graduating from Rhodes College and began working as a middle school youth director at FPC where she served for eight years. During that time, Erika married Jeremy and started their own family. While she was home with their three small children, she longed to be able to do youth ministry in a way that integrated her own family into the joy of being involved in youth ministry. God used that longing to grow Camp Watermelon, which began with 12 campers and four counselors in 2013.  FPC is blessed to welcome Erika back on staff to continue the legacy of OHDC as leader of Camp Watermelon. 

About the Counselors 

We host Camp Watermelon not only so that kids will taste the goodness of the Gospel, but also so that youth have a place to practice leadership and service to younger kids. Camp counselors are youth that we have pre-existing relationships with from church, school, or friendship within the community.  Many of them have been part of Camp Watermelon since it started and all of them are people that we trust in the presence of our own young children.  In fact, we hope our children are watching these youth closely because they have a beautiful impact on our kids (and on us!).  They are young men and women who are passionate, fun, playful, kind, and wise. They stir our expectation and excitement about what is possible when we gather our hearts and energy around a God-honoring mission. Serving alongside them is a blessing, and we trust your kids will be blessed by them too!   

2024 Registration Information 

If Camp Watermelon sounds like a good fit for your child, here is what you need to know to register: 

  • Each camp session is Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • The camp fee is $250.

Camp Watermelon Middle School Camp for Girls | rising 5th-8th grades

June 10-June 13 (M-Th)
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Camp Watermelon for Rising Kindergarten through Rising 4th Grade Girls and Boys

June 17-June 20 (M-Th)
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

June 24-June 27 (M-Th)
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

July 8-July 11 (M-Th)
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Registration Information

Because of the nature of this particular camp experience, please only sign up for one week per camper.

Registration for K-4th camp sessions will open at this link on Thursday, January 25 at 6:30 a.m. CST.

Registration for Middle School Girls will open at this link on Thursday, January 18 at 6:30 a.m. CST

Waiting Pool
Camp Watermelon fills quite quickly. If you do not get a spot right on January 25, add your name to the Waiting Pool here. It is often the case that as we pull the report of initial campers, we see holes in age groups/gender groups that we can fill with people who are initially waitlisted. Thanks for your patience with that. Because of the nature of this particular camp experience, please only sign up for one week per camper. Thanks so much for your help with that!

Camp Registration Confirmation and Payment
On February 8, after registration has finished and the waiting pool has been assessed, we will send a payment link to pay for camp sessions. The payment link is the final step in the registration process. Payment is due by February 15. If we have not yet received payment by February 15, your spot will be released to the waiting pool.

Refund Policy
No refunds will be provided for 2024 camp cancellations. If you need to cancel your spot, your tuition will become a tax-deductible gift to Camp Watermelon Ministries.  We are happy to send you a form to credit it as such.  Thank you for understanding our new no-refund policy.

Scholarships
We do not want the cost of camp to prevent children from coming. If you need scholarship assistance, please contact Erika Shapiro by January 18.

Man Camp
As a ministry of First Presbyterian Church,  From Within  Counseling will host “Man Camp” for Middle School boys (rising 5th–7th grade) June 10-13, from 9:00 a.m. –2:00 p.m.It will be held at Jeremy Shapiro’s counseling office, which allows the boys to also use the church grounds at FPC for their camp experience. Please email Jeremy Shapiro at jshapiro@fromwithin-counseling.com separately if your son might be interested in this unique week of intentional fun. He will send you that registration information, which will be slightly different from the Camp Watermelon process. Man Camp registration will take place Thursday, February 1 at 6:30 a.m.