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The little secret behind KidSpring’s success

Every week, kids like Sydney Chandler are among the volunteers who make KidSpring a unique, fun and valuable experience for kids

If you peek inside the Lil’ Spring room in KidSpring on Sundays at the Anderson Campus, you’ll see the future of NewSpring Church.

You’ll see the dozen or so 2-year-olds scattered around the room who are there to learn about Jesus on their level.

You’ll see the staff and volunteers who pray these boisterous toddlers will grow up to love God and love others.

And you won’t have to wait decades to witness the fruit of that faith.

Take a second look at the cluster of kids playing around a kitchen set in the corner at the second service, and you’ll see that one of the volunteers sitting on her legs in the thick of the action is 10-year-old Sydney Chandler.

As her little friends surround her, reaching out with offerings of tea and cupcakes, she rewards each of them with wide eyes and warm smiles.

“The little kids remember me,” she says. “I like playing with everyone. I don't like kids getting left out or anything."

A Little Helper

Sydney could be playing with other kids her age or watching a movie in Base Camp while her parents, Heather and Johnny, serve. Heather is a KidSpring service leader, and Johnny is a safety volunteer.

Instead, Sydney wants to make a difference.

Sydney is one of 100 kids who serve in KidSpring at 16 locations across South Carolina, in addition to 1,181 middle school and high school students.

“I could be doing nothing,” Sydney says, “or I could be doing something to help.”

Sydney was only 7 when she first began to serve. She asked about it when she saw other children who were doing it, and it sounded like fun.

“All of my friends in Base Camp already serve. Little kids come up to me now and say, ‘Can I serve?’”

Sydney’s older sister, Sarah, a Fuse student, started serving in KidSpring before Sydney did, and she continues to this day.

“Sydney loves kids,” Sydney’s mom, Heather, says. “It's just neat to me that she understands a next step and feels ownership at the church, even at 10.”

A Lil' Legacy

Cherie Duffey, Central KidSpring Director, says the kids who volunteer show that church has been fun and valuable to them, and they want to give others the same experiences they’ve received.

“They bring energy, fun, and influence to our ministry,” Cherie says. “They can relate more closely to what kids are experiencing, and it gives children great models for what their future could be if they follow Jesus.”

In the three years since Sydney started serving, she’s lost none of her excitement.

The moment she opens the door to walk into Lil’ Spring, her face lights up, and she runs to the nearest child she can find and begins to play. 

“She has a real heart to serve,” Sydney’s room leader, Courtney Dickerson, says.

Full Circle

What Sydney enjoys most is reading board books with children, adding sounds to the words whenever she can, “so they understand it better.”

“It makes me feel real good that they seem to be getting it,” Sydney says.

On this day, she’s bouncing her attention between a half-dozen children milling around the kitchen set and the ice cream cart.

When a boy offers her a popsicle, she pretends to take a lick. A minute or two later, the boy’s curiosity has led him to the stove, and he’s pulling at the sleeve of her dress to take a look at what’s cooking. “So good!” she exclaims.

Later, Sydney claps, dances and motions along with the children for large group worship and teaching on the story of Abraham. She also sits with them in a circle during small group as an adult leader goes over the teaching points of the day.

“All week, every week, I look forward to it,” Sydney says. 

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