2022 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)

Oak Hill Day Camp (OHDC) has been redesigned! Beginning this summer, we are excited to introduce Camp Watermelon: a place to play, create, worship, laugh, and learn. First Presbyterian Church has a long history of using our beautiful property to encourage playfulness and relational connection to enhance faith development in people of all ages. Camp Watermelon will be different than OHDC sessions of recent years, but we will honor the OHDC tradition of creating a playful place where youth and children can grow. 

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!   

Registration Information 

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

  • In order to provide this experience to as many children as possible, campers can only attend one session of camp per summer. 
  • Each camp session is Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 
  • Session fee is $220 per child. Payment is due at registration. Please be prepared with credit card info when registering.
  • If you are in need of scholarship assistance, contact us at campwatermelon@fpcnashville.org by January 28. We will work to make camp available for everyone who wants the chance to participate. 
  • Registration opens on Monday, January 31 at 6:30 a.m. Spots fill quickly! 
  • If you do not get a spot right away, be sure to sign up on the waitlist. Spots sometimes become available as we prepare the camp roster. 

Session 1: Middle School Girls | rising 5th–8th grade girls 
June 20–June 23 (M–Th)
9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.  

Session 2: Boys and Girls | rising Kindergarten–4th grade 
June 27–June 30 (M–Th)
9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. 
 

Session 3: Boys and Girls | rising Kindergarten–4th grade 
July 11–July 14 (M–Th)
9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. 
 

Session 4: Boys and Girls | rising Kindergarten–4th grade 
July 18–July 21, (M–Th)
9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. 
 

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 20-June 23, from 8:30 a.m. –2:00 p.m. For Man Camp registration information, email campwatermelonseeds@gmail.com.