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It’s always a blessing to spend time with the staff of Kids Across America, but this year (2021) was particularly special. This year, Kids Across America celebrated 30 years of Kamp! While 2021 looked different from previous years (due to COVID), our executive director, Tracy Hipps, stood right alongside them, just as he has for the past 30 years. Tracy was awarded a beautiful appreciation plaque for his 30 years of loyalty. This moment was such a testament to the call of God on Tracy’s life to connect hearts and ministries throughout the US, calling them to unity under the love of God through His Church.

This past week, CSM had the honor of hosting KAA staff as they toured the southeast, touching base with churches and joining hearts with the vision of cities around America. In Birmingham, they connected with multiple churches, sharing all that God is doing at KAA in hopes of creating even more opportunities for Birmingham youth to experience the life-changing environment of Kids Across America. KAA also spent time at CSM, enjoying warehouse activities and at a pastor’s breakfast.

“What is KAA?” you might ask. Kids Across America is a summer camp with a mission of “empowering urban youth and their mentors through camping and education.” In 1978, Kanakuk Kamps began offering their last week of Kamp to facilitate the needs of urban youth. The week was so popular and needed that they established an entire camp with this mission as their heartbeat. The grounds of KAA opened officially in 1991, and God has made His home in this ministry since.

“How is CSM connected to KAA?” Tracy Hipps has partnered with the vision of KAA from the very beginning. Upon becoming the executive director of CSM ten years ago, Tracy merged worlds and continued orchestrating the connection of urban ministries, pastors, and students throughout Birmingham to Kids Across America. By doing so, the Church in Birmingham is stronger as multiple ministries encounter God alongside one another and overcome division through shared experience.

It was a privilege to host our KAA family this week! It was full of rich fellowship, unification of hearts, and alignment of vision for the urban community of Birmingham. We are thankful for all that Kids Across America does for urban America and the Kingdom of God as a whole! If you are interested in partnering with the vision of KAA, see their website for multiple opportunities to contribute to the needs of urban American youth.