Christmas in July, Water Day, and Parable Records

This week we welcomed Sycamore View Church of Christ from Memphis, Tennessee in to work with our elementary school kids, and it was a fun-filled week! There were so many exciting activities on the schedule, and they even brought a few of their own! This youth group did an amazing job connecting with our kids, and they were not afraid to play. The kids loved this week, and had plenty of energy to go around.

Before we got started, we sent 15 of our Junior High off to enjoy a week away at Camp of the Hills. This was the largest group we have ever sent, which is pretty exciting.

This week, you get a rare "behind the scenes" peek at some of the faces and things that help Fortress run. Ms. D and Aundrea take care of all of our cooking and cleaning. They do a lot to keep Fortress looking good and to keep bellies full, and they definitely deserve some recognition!
Ms. D taking care of meal planning.
Aundrea and Ms. D take a rare break to pose for a photo.
In the summers, we designate one room to house the belongings of the youth group while programs are running. That room can get pretty crazy, especially with such a large group!

We COULD take a look into what academic classes look like during the day, but Kyla seems to think we should concentrate on the fun stuff.
Math is definitely Kyla's favorite topic, can't you tell?
This week we had a BLAST celebrating Christmas in July. We kicked it off with art class, and drew some Christmas pictures.
Ja'Colby is proud of his tree!

Then we had a snowball fight, right in the middle of summer! It was messy, and so fun!
Getting their snowballs ready.
Peanut is armed and ready.

It wouldn't be Christmas in July if someone didn't look like Santa Claus!
In the end, we had a pretty big mess to clean up. Thank goodness for hoses.
The little kids were not left out of Christmas in July. They got to play with instant snow, build Christmas trees, and read Christmas stories. 
DeShawn making some snowballs of his own.
Ray and Delaney working together to build with their snow.
Harmony is all smiles with her snow.

Ms. Julie reading Christmas stories to a really attentive crowd.
Christmas in July was SO fun that it left Zak all tuckered out.
The youth group led craft this week was really neat! The kids were able to build their own candle holders using modge-podge, sticks, and maps. 
Asia working on her candle holder.
Ja'Colby with his candle holder creation.
A few of the candle holders once they were finished.
 The afternoon activity on Tuesday was water day for the elementary group. The kids were so soaked we had to open up the gate to the playground so that they could be picked up without soaking the building. With all this heat lately, the kids were happy to play in the cool water.
Isabelle and Victor try to win in the sponge relay race.
Fabian works hard to push his ping pong ball off of the other end of the table with his water gun. 
Kori competes in the water gun race.
Keandria and Adrian try to beat each other in the water gun race. Who do you think won?
Marc tries to run the obstacle course without popping the water balloon under his chin.
In the end, water day turned into a free for all water balloon fight! Even the interns weren't safe!

On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming MA Double, Hadnot, and Izzo of Parable Records in to perform their christian rap music for our kids. There was more energy in the room than there has been the entire summer during their hour-long performace. And they even stuck around to sign autographs for each and every one of our kids. Please take a minute to check out their ministry at
Hadnot hoisted Emily up to dance with him during one of his songs.
Izzo took the time to pose for a photograph with Deon Jay while signing autographs.
MA Double signing an autograph for Willie.
MA Double's wife posed for a photograph with Neecia.
Hadnot signing an autograph for Klarence.
On Thursday before we left for the field trip, Deon Jay got a chance to pie Mr. Ross in the face. He saved up his money in the Reward Store to purchase this pie, and he loved it!

After the important things were taken care of, the kids left to go bowling with the youth group. It looks like they really enjoyed themselves!

We are definitely sad to see Sycamore View COC go this week. They were a joy to have around, and they did a great job of engaging the kids and building relationships. We are so hopeful that we will have them back for many summers to come!