Harvey Donations Helping Texas Conference Kids
If you lost everything you had in a flood, how would it affect your kids? Thousands of families across Texas are still finding out, as “extras” that used to be affordable are sacrificed for the costs associated with Hurricane Harvey rebuilding and repair. However, thanks in part to the generosity of Chapelwood’s donors, hundreds of kids have something fun to look forward to this summer.
Since 1947, Lakeview Methodist Conference Center in Anderson County, Texas has been a place where pastors go for spiritual retreat, where Methodist women go for conference retreats, where churches and Texas Conference choirs (including Chapelwood’s Wesley Choir) go for their retreats and conferences, and where kids – about 4,500 of them – go to summer camp.
In June and July of each year, Lakeview hosts campers from third to twelfth grade and their counselors at its Texas Annual Conference Summer Youth Camp. However, Lakeview heard from a number of families that this year was going to be different, and that many of those kids would not be able to come. The financial burden imposed by Hurricane Harvey was just too great.
That’s where Chapelwood stepped in. Bob Lindsey, Chapelwood’s business manager and Wesley Choir director, had the great idea to use some of our Harvey donations to help these hurricane-impacted kids go to camp. When combined with some other gifts Lakeview received and some money received from the district, it meant that it’s just about impossible for a kid to say “I can’t come to camp because of the hurricane” this year.
How does it work? The funds are available to members of Methodist churches in the five districts that lie along the coast. All that the pastor of a church in those districts has to do is pick up the phone, call Lakeview, and provide the names of kids at that church who were severely affected by Harvey and want to go to camp. Lakeview will then earmark funds for those kids.
And Lakeview isn’t just any ordinary summer camp. Kids learn about God at Lakeview. They grow in their faith, and this summer, in fun and exciting ways, they will learn about what it means to be a real Christian as understood through scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. Campers develop relationships with Methodist and non-Methodist kids from all over the state while they navigate zip lines and high ropes courses, paddle kayaks, enjoy water slides, play paintball (and every other kind of game you might expect to find at a church camp), and more. The most important things campers do are developing relationships with each other and with God and having wonderful worship experiences.
An added bonus: the TAP program, founded and launched at Lakeview four years ago, asks students from ninth grade on up if they feel God might be calling them into the ministry. Lakeview now has over 200 young people in its TAP program who are potential pastors, any one of whom could be a pastor at Chapelwood one day.
So, as you go about your June and July activities, take a moment to think about . . . parents relieved that their kids can have a fun summer week, kids figuring out if they are being called to ministry, and just how much a week at camp could mean to a child who has been displaced from his or her home.
Thanks to all of you for your donations to Chapelwood’s Hurricane Harvey fund. Your dollars are being used in creative, targeted ways to get young hurricane survivors into camp bunkhouses, kayaks, and small groups and activities where they can grow in their faith, make some new friends, and for one wonderful week, escape the limitations caused by Harvey. Also, sincere thanks for your hammer-in-hand, boots-on-the-ground continuing work that means hurricane victims can get back into their houses. The need continues to be great, and your support, in all forms, is very much appreciated.