Home » Local News » Life » Campers spend summer serving others

Campers spend summer serving others

Hard labor in the hot sun, doesn’t sound like a fun summer vacation, but Camp Loy White participants love what they do.
“I don’t see any better way to spend my summer,” said Faith McDermitt, a lead field coordinator for the camp.
The Christian camp, which is located in Cleveland County, is part of Carolina Cross Connections, a Lincolnton-based organization.
CCC boasts a total of six camps in as many counties. Each camp focuses on service during the day and worship in the evening.
This week, campers visited the Iron Station home of Savannah Alexander, an elderly woman in need of a ramp.
“Teenagers – it’s unbelievable,” she said as she sat on her porch watching the campers work.
Her daughter echoed her sentiment.
“You don’t find too many people willing to give up a week,” said Penelope Alexander.
Savannah Alexander has needed a ramp built outside her home since she broke her leg last September in an accident.

(Above) Kimmie Rosso develops her carpentry skills by cutting a board for the ramp. Chris Dean / LTN Photo

Since then, walking up and down the steps in front of her house has been a challenge. With money tight, however, there wasn’t much she or her family could do.
Thankfully, the Department of Social Services gave her name to Carolina Cross Connections.
“God is good,” said Penelope Alexander. “We didn’t know how it was going to get done, but God made a way.”
The campers who built the ramp for the Alexanders are only one of several groups dispatched in the community.

Savannah Alexander (seated) and her family watch as teenagers from Camp Loy White build a ramp for the front of her home. Chris Dean / LTN Photo

Campers do a variety of service projects – painting houses, fixing roofs and re-doing floors among other things.
Some are more qualified for such tasks than others, but all participate.
“Some of the kids that come in never used a hammer,” said McDermitt.
Gaining construction skills isn’t the only thing that happens at the camp. Many campers, present and former, credit it with changing their lives.
For Kari Henderson, a 16 year old, the life changing moment happened three years ago during her first year at camp.
Every evening at Camp Loy White, campers have a worship service. That night it was a mock crucifixion.
Henderson decided then what path she wanted to take in her life.
“I felt like no one could stop me from doing what I wanted to do, and I knew it was Christ working in my life,” she said.
This year has been tough for Henderson. She lost a horse and a family member was diagnosed with cancer.
She refers to Carolina Cross Connection as her “safe haven.”
“Here there are no cliques, no exclusion,” she said. “It’s perfect harmony.”
Her fellow camper, Lauren Robbins, a 13-year old, also enjoys the social atmosphere of the camp.
“Everybody is friendly and nobody hates anybody,” she said.
It’s very different from her school in Florida, she says, which is divided up between “plastics” and “goths.”
No one at the camp is allowed to stay comfortably in a clique. When church groups come to the camp, they are divided up and sent to different work sites, forcing the students to open up to strangers.
“It’s good for camp, and it’s also good for life,” said Chris McAlister, the camp director.
McAlister is a former camper and he credits Carolina Cross Connections with molding him as a person.
“It was almost life changing to see what we can do as youth to help out a community,” he said.
He’s noticed the same change in his campers.
“I think they learn what their abilities are,” he said. “They learn they can do things they’ve never done before.”
by Sarah Grano

You must be logged in to post a comment Login