Giving Hope with 1700 Hours of Service

This summer, 75 volunteers from the three Episcopal congregations in Thomasville served more than 1700 hours with Camp Hope at the Oak Street Episcopal Mission. The Camp Hope program recruited sixty new volunteers as a part of making the ministry work. “The tremendous support of the community and donors allowed the camp to be one of transformation and discovery,” said Oak Street Mission Executive Director Keith Jenkins.

The camp’s director, Jenny Ladson said, “The goal was to teach these kids that no matter what, you’re never alone.” In reflecting on how well the camp met this objective, Ladson said, “Campers started out shy and afraid and by the end of the summer they had developed into listening participants of God’s Love.”

The five-week summer camp promoted social, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth while focusing on core values of faith, honesty, and integrity. Twenty-one campers took part in the program which operated weekdays from 8 am-4 pm. Each day started with Morning Prayer and included both creative play (art, dance, cooking, and more) as well as time to stay up on reading, writing, and math. A community partner loaned enough laptops to the program that all the campers were given the opportunity to participate in the online program, “Get Georgia Reading.”

Twice a week swimming lessons were also integral to the program. Jenkins said, “All of our campers started the program as non-swimmers, some even fearful of the water. By the end of the camp everyone would go underwater and some even swam the horizontal length of the pool. The sense of accomplishment and pride was almost tangible!”

For Anne Scott Turner, a teen who volunteered with Camp Hope, the experience proved transformative. She wrote of the experience,” I am now sure that helping children is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s important that children have continuous support, encouragement, and mentoring; that’s something I can offer”

About the Oak Street Mission
The Oak Street Mission is a ministry of the three Episcopal churches in Thomasville-All Saints, Good Shepherd, and St. Thomas. A result of the Campaign from Congregational Development’s emphasis on creating Signature Ministries, the mission was founded as the Episcopal Development Agency of Thomasville (EDAT). The Oak Street Mission continues to foster the development of the Oak Street Community surrounding Good Shepherd Church.

Bulletin Insert
As a part of the now weekly bulletin inserts offered by the Diocese, the Oak Street Mission’s Camp Hope is featured this week. Congregations that can’t insert this into their bulletins are encouraged to make the inserts available in the church with other literature or post it on a prominent bulletin board to share good news from across the Diocese. Select either Bulletin Insert PDF file to download.


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