Gifts to the Glisson Campership Fund help to make summer camp possible for families who would otherwise find the cost of camp to be out-of-reach.
Over the past six summers, our camper parents have made a substantial impact on the reach of the Glisson Campership Fund. At the close of each summer camp week, parents have been given the opportunity to donate the balances remaining in their campers' online camp store accounts to the Campership Fund. A second option has always been to have their balances refunded to them. By a large margin, our camper parents continue to donate their balances in each of the past six summers.
Just last year, Glisson began a partnership with Wilderness Works, a ministry in downtown Atlanta which offers summer camp experiences and year-round support for homeless and at-risk children and youth. We expanded this partnership in 2015 to offer Glisson summer camp to 42 Wilderness Works kids. It was a bold step, with a cost of $20,000 to Glisson's bottom line, but we felt that the Glisson ministry was ideally situated to make a difference in the lives of these kids. We prayed that our donors would help us rise to the challenge.
We are still a few thousand dollars short in meeting this commitment.
With this expanded partnership in mind, and our commitment to help as many families as we possibly can, a total of $15,311 in camp store balances was donated to the Campership Fund during summer camp 2015 - by parents who want all children and youth to have the same experience their own kids have at Glisson.
In addition to the camp store balances donated, more than $9,000 was donated by camper parents through credit and debit card transactions at Celebration each Friday this past summer. Camp staff were outfitted with Square readers ... our camper parents were asked to help us meet our commitment to the Wilderness Works campers ... and our camper parents responded in their typically generous fashion!
For the past several years, the generosity offered to our Campership Fund has allowed Glisson to expand partnerships with fellow agencies helping children and youth in addition to Wilderness Works - agencies such as the United Methodist Children's Home, Action Ministries and Angel Tree - making Glisson summer camp accessible to the children and youth served by these outstanding agencies. It is our sincere hope that these partnerships can be expanded further in 2016 to impact even more children and youth with the Glisson summer camp experience.
The more campership gifts we receive, the more campers we can help to enjoy the impact of Glisson summer camp on their lives at a time when their families are struggling to meet the full cost of attending camp. While the fund typically carries a balance into each summer because of the camp store balances donated the previous year, we have awarded all-time high numbers of campership awards each of the past three years, which depleted the Fund.
Your gifts are needed so that Glisson can continue to impact young lives for Christ with your help. If you would like to help us continue to grow the Campership Fund and ensure its sustainability - allowing Glisson to continue offering the assistance needed to make the Glisson experience accessible to all - please use the Donate Now button and do what you can to help us. Visit the Cameprships page to learn more about the campership application and awarding processes.
A few years ago, the father of a Glisson camper contacted me in the spring asking if Glisson had some kind of program to help families make camp more affordable while they were struggling with finances during the continuing recession. In his email, he said to me, "I understand that camp is a luxury, but my son gets so much out of Glisson."
I am thankful this father was willing to write to me - especially considering how difficult things must be for his family, and many others, right now in this economy which continues to struggle. I respectfully disagreed with him on one thing: Camp is not a luxury. It's an important part of our fulfilling our promise as a church to raise the children we baptize - and those in the church who haven't yet been baptized - to be disciples of Christ. That's why we're here.
The number of families who requested assistance with camp fees for 2013 set an all-time record, which put a strain on the Campership Fund in 2014 and 2015. The numbers have tended to fluctuate in recent years, and we want to always be in a position of being able to help campers' families. We are asking for help in continuing to meeting these annual needs.
Please consider how you can help these families with a gift to the Campership Fund:
The dad who sent this email to me closed his reply with this:
You can help answer the prayer of a child who wants to attend summer camp - and the dad who wants it to happen. Please utilize our Donate Now feature and do what you can to help these families. Campership gifts received through the end of the year will help to build-up the fund for 2016 and beyond - making this a sustainable, annual outreach of the Glisson summer camp ministry.