Northside Baptist summer camp brings fun (video)

Northside Baptist Church put on the play "Good Kings Come in Small Packages" Friday night as part of a week-long camp for first to fifth graders. The performance had over 200 students this year. Northside Baptist music Minister John Woods first organized the camp three years ago. Woods talks about the students' performance and why he thinks it's important for kids to come together through the arts and the church.
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Caleb Guenther was called to the stage.

While the young acting veteran has to overcome nervousness with the help of friends and a much higher power, it's show time when he gets the microphone.

"I take a deep breath and I say a prayer," he said.

Friday evening, the 11-year-old San Marcos-resident played the biblical character Hilkiah in "Good Kings Come in Small Packages."

For the last three years, Caleb has been able to share his love for the Lord and acting through the Northside Baptist Church Summer Musical Camp.

The weeklong workshop gives the 211 students a chance to enjoy fellowship and friendship.

He rehearsed even during recess to get the part just right. The musical is based on King Josiah, who takes over the throne when he is 8 years old after his father is killed.

Caleb, a budding thespian, had singing and speaking parts as the high priest in the hourlong production.

"My favorite part is I get to hang out with Josiah," he said with a wide smile.

Others enjoyed the camp as well.

Juliana Benavides, 11, said the most valuable lesson she's learned is, "Always trust in God."

Children auditioned in the early summer and have to learn their lines before the camp began. Students range from incoming second to sixth-graders.

John Woods, pastor of music and worship, said the program is both entertaining and enriching.

"The kids are learning how to be a servant and how to follow God," he said.

Carly Oracion, who plays Esther the cook, pours her heart out on stage because she loves performing. The 10-year-old future Cade Middle School student has learned to balance two plays and dance class in the summer.

The play holds special meaning for her because it's a win-win. "I get to perform while learning about God," she said.

Joey Gamez enjoys playing the mischievous character Rack It In, the tax collector.

"It's cool being the bad guy," he said.

Caleb spends summers in Victoria visiting grandparents and looks forward to the program each year.

Other campers are thrilled to be able to have him for one more year.

"Most of the youth leaders fight over him because they just love him," said Lindsey Moreno, the camp's co-director.

Caleb said he's blessed to come to camp because of all the opportunities it brings.

"I get to keep my old friends and make new ones," he said.