2017 Summer in Review

The summer is over and summer staff have all gone back home. Our campers are back in school, and homeowners are back to normal life. I, on the other hand, am back in the SOS office, as the SOS Academy intern. I have the past two summers in Memphis under my belt so I feel that I have some knowledge to share of our joys and triumphs from this 2017 camp season. If you can remember far back, in late May a storm hit Memphis knocking out the power for the majority of its residence. Our summer staff training was more than interesting with no power to aid in our training. With the help of generators, creative eating options, and Union Ave Baptist church we were able to finish training without missing a beat.

Campers arrived and we met the homeowners we were partnered with. Deep bonds began to grow this summer and many will continue on. Through our Team Leaders, lunch devotionals, camp speakers, and daily worship we had campers come to recognise their need for Christ, accept the Gospel, and understand that we all have poverty in our lives. Aside from SOS Camp experience numerous groups were able to fit in time at the National Civil Rights Museum to gain a better understanding of the civil rights movement and the history of race in our country.

Everyone at SOS comes away with their own experience through relationships they formed, things they saw, stories they heard. A few of my favorites were...

DJ a team leader in the heights was partnered with Mrs. Hill. While she was not living in the home at the time they made such an effort to get to know each other with regular visits and by the time summer was over DJ and the campers, were able to re-roof, repair siding, and paint her house.  Mrs. Hill’s 2 yr old, BJ, and her mother painted much of the house alongside the campers. Her testimony of this summer was glowing at our annual Homeowner Banquet and their friendship is beautiful to see.

Another Team Leader Rebekah was able to form a lasting relationship with the next door neighbors to the worksight she was working at. Dawn, Tiffany and their 3 1/2 bro child Tya “became like family” Rebekah said. Dawn and Tiffany would dedicate their day to being outside with them motivating them, helping, sharing ice pops. They helped her remember not to be focused on the roof. Rebekah told me, “Dawn had the ability to internalize scripture and say it in a bold, attention grabbing way.” He showed her what living a gospel center life looked at. At the end of the summer Rebekah would say “They were not the neighbors, they are my family.”  

We all know Courtney Wright was the best at lunch devos, hands down. Although I never was personally present for the real thing, the amount of campers who stood up for “say so” was proof enough. She was able to so fully teach and engage the students during lunch devos that week after week the campers on her teams would so clearly articulate how SOS had changed them. It made me want to be one of her campers to learn new truths for the first time.

SOS finished out the 2017 summer camp season repairing the roofs on 28 homes and two churches. The cool weather made for incredibly productive days. Maybe that is that reason big dog told us that in 14 years he had never seen all the roofs get finished by staff week. All of those roofs were finished by the 1,537 campers that came through our doors and experienced this great city of Memphis. The summer has come to a close and the experience has brought us closer to our Lord.

Summer CampKelly