The Effort

Tags: Camps, SEND North, Story

When you were growing up, how many ways did people pour into your life?  Think about how huge that was for you!  Most of us received unconditional love from numerous sources.  However, feeling loved is a big challenge for kids in our remote communities.  They need to feel that they matter; to see that people are willing to sacrifice for them.  We are not saying that the villages don’t have good role models because they do.  However, these kids need all the love they can get.  This is one of the main reasons we are so passionate about Summer Bible Camps and other regional events. 

Make no mistake about it, these summer camps and events take a surprising amount of effort from a few paid staff and many amazing volunteers.  I want to give you a glimpse at what is required to pull off these events. It can be summed up nicely by the words of one person, “Holy Cow, the effort!”    

First and foremost you must realize that in camp every single thing you could need must be flown in and out every single week (for every camper and volunteer.)  Let’s take Tanalian Bible Camp for example.  Every new week of camp, 30 staff rotate in and out on Saturday.   On Monday, campers arrive and leave on the same day (you need to fill the planes coming and going to be efficient).  That means about 150 itineraries are arranged for people, not including the supply runs, using bush planes that seat 5 or 6 people.  90 percent of the planes are VFR, which means completely weather dependent.  If you can't see you can't fly.  Every Monday is a 12-hour ordeal IF the weather looks good.  The logistical craziness is the lynchpin in the whole thing, and that is just the day of travel.

Remember, flights can’t be scheduled until kids get registered.  You have to plan for what kind of airplanes you have at your disposal and how many trips is it going to take.  While you have some kids apply ahead of time, there are still many last minute changes. Often when the pilot arrives, they find out a kid can’t come because their dad said no.  Or when they show up there may be three more kids at the airport wanting to go, but they didn’t register.  This is to be expected.

There is no doubt that the pilots are indispensable in making all of this happen.  They sacrifice and volunteer their time.  They are flexible and will do whatever needs to be done so anyone can come.  Most of these volunteer pilots will see these same kids throughout the year at other events, so they love the opportunity to build relationships with them.

Even with all the volunteer help, the cost is still a significant factor.  SEND North gives ten percent of its Church Ministries Budget to help with camp flying.  Please click over to our camp sponsorship project and prayerfully consider joining us in providing this vital service.

The work is worth it!  Next week we are going to talk about how camp and many other events work together to profoundly impact people’s lives.

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