By Shana Adkisson
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Community Action Mission, a nonprofit service agency, will offer its 14th year of CAMps this summer.
CAMpers participating in the May 29 through June 1 CAMp will help Cornerstone Kids Ranch in Ada prepare for seven weeks of elementary day camps. Activities will include painting, weed eating, cleaning horse stalls and tack, setting up and preparing craft tents and clearing trails.
CAMpers participating in the June 26-29 CAMp, hosted by Ariel Church, and the Aug. 7-10 CAMp, hosted by Antioch Community Church, will do service projects more like traditional CAMps that have hosted for the past 13 years.
“The participants will help several nonprofit agencies such as East Main Place, HUGS for Soldiers, Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank, Feed the Children, Skyline Urban Ministries, Center for Children and Families, and Food and Shelter, as well as assisting individual widows and hospice patients in the Norman/Oklahoma City area at each CAMp,” said Donna Hooper, CAM executive director. “Many nonprofit agencies are severely underfunded, thus needful tasks that are secondary to an agency’s primary mission are left undone. This is where CAM’s young ministers step in.”
CAM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit service agency.
“Participants will once again ‘put skin on the Gospel’ by putting their faith into action to serve those in need,” Hooper said.
Since it’s inception, CAM has volunteered more than 24,495 hours through the monthly volunteer opportunities and summer CAMps.
“We have already hosted 40 CAMps since 1999 and have had 64 different churches represented through the participants,” Hooper said.
CAM also has helped more than 75 different nonprofit organizations, dozens of senior citizens and many hospice patients with special projects and needs.
“In one year’s time, an average of 175 participants come through the program,” Hooper said. “About half of our CAMpers are from low-income families. CAMps are offered free of charge to all participants, opening doors for community leadership and ministry to youth for whom it is often otherwise inaccessible.”
CAMpers will clean clothing closets and food pantries, prepare and serve meals, repackage food for shipping to distribution centers, etc.
“For the individuals that we serve, participants complete yard work and light jobs around their homes that have become difficult or impossible as the years have gone by,” Hooper said. “CAMpers will volunteer about 6 to 7 hours per day for three days at each CAMp. We spend the night in local churches and take showers at the YMCA. We begin each morning with a devotion and end each evening with team-building activities, worship songs and a lesson taught by a teen member of the Youth Advisory Council.”
Anyone who has completed sixth grade or older and likes to serve others is welcome to participate, Hooper said.
“We would also like to encourage adults to join us,” Hooper said.
Participation and scheduling is flexible. CAMps are limited to 30 participants. The sign-up deadline is two weeks before CAMp starts. Participants may sign up online at www.cam-inc.net, by emailing Hooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 329-8041.
While participants attend CAMPs free, donors can help in several ways. Individuals can sponsor a CAMper. The cost for the three-day, three-night CAMps is about $60 per participant.
“This covers all their food, lodging, transportation and recreation costs, which is much more affordable than most mission trips,” Hooper said.
Donors also can sponsor meal(s) for the whole CAMp. On an average, it costs $3 per person per meal. That equals $90 per CAMp meal, $270 per day and $810 for the week.
Sponsors also are accepting donations for transportation.
“Transportation requires that we rent two 15-passenger vans for each CAMp. The cost is $1,000 per camp,” Hooper said.
Donations can be monetary or in kind. Checks can be made out to CAM and mailed to 819 Terrace Place, Norman, OK 73069, or donated online at www.cam-inc.net.
“No matter your level of sponsorship, your tax-deductible donation will give a young person in our community the opportunity not only to make a difference in their own backyard but also to grow stronger in their relationships with the Lord and with other young leaders of their community,” Hooper said.