It was 1995. Our new church was just getting off the ground. We had barely started meeting regularly on every Sunday since Easter, when Ray thought it would be a good idea to have a kids’ camp in the summer. We didn’t have a building, we didn’t even have a children’s pastor per se, but we did have amazing people who were game for anything God might have in store for our new church. So, we brought in a children’s pastor from a neighboring church in Sacramento and said, “show us what you do with kids.” And so, the first Breakaway was birthed with borrowed material, a plywood stage on six milk crates, a team who loved kids, and a theme of “Under Construction.” From day one, our structure has been a rotation style of rally, small groups, experiential arts and crafts, storytelling and recreation. Small groups met under trees, and recreation was held out in the field, arts and crafts out on the blacktop, and the rallies inside the cafeteria. At the time, Bayside was at about 300 people, and our first camp had 150 kids with about 50 volunteers. We knew then that God had his hands on the vision of Bayside reaching kids in our community. Our first Breakaway not only was a great experience for the kids, but our volunteers had also found a place here at Bayside as well. People connected with other volunteers and became friends. Most of all, they connected to a community of people who loved Jesus and loved kids.
Through the years, we have changed locations, directors, and size but never the core of what Breakaway is all about. Sharing the love of Jesus to kids through small group leaders, exciting worship, engaging dramas, and experiences like recreation and arts and crafts has never changed. We recently had our 25th experience of Breakaway, and this year, we had over 8,000 kids and over 5,000 volunteers across all our campuses. Bayside will always make kids a priority because we truly believe whoever wins the kids, wins the community.
– Carol Johnston
25 years at Bayside