NORMAN — A series of summer mission camps for teens gives them hands-on experience in helping others, coordinator Donna Hooper said.
“It shows them how to put faith into action,” Hooper said. “Participants come away with new skills, new friends and a feeling of accomplishment. They learn how good it feels to serve others.”
CAMps, sponsored by Community Action Missions of Norman, will wrap up its 13th year of mission opportunities with a camp that starts Wednesday.
In June, campers worked at Cornerstone Kids Ranch in Ada, getting it ready for day camps for elementary school students by painting, weeding, making minor repairs and cleaning horse stalls. A camp offered in July teamed participants with Mission Norman to lead vacation Bible schools at apartment complexes.
Hooper said campers this week will work with First Baptist Church in Moore to present a summer Christmas celebration for people struggling with serious illness. Teens also will work with an Oklahoma City nonprofit organization that helps clothe the homeless and/or unemployed and gets them ready for job interviews.
Katie Hill said she knew little about community service before signing up.
“Now I know how easy it is. It doesn’t have to be big things. Little things you do for others can mean just as much,” she said.
Hooper’s daughters, Alyssa and Abi, have participated in the camps for several years.
“It’s an amazing program that helps out our community and at the same time brings kids of all ages and denominations together. One of the most meaningful and fun things is going out and doing the volunteer work and then seeing the faces of the people we helped,” Alyssa Hooper said.
Campers work six to seven hours a day, stay overnight at local churches and spend the evenings doing activities such as devotionals or team-building exercises.
Camps are free to participants. Individual donations and support from local churches and businesses make the camps possible.
Community Action Missions also provides community service projects and get-togethers for young people throughout the school year. For more information, go to www.cam-inc.net.