This week I am coming to you from my family farm. It is sure good to be home! We have done everything from nothing to riding combines while my uncle and cousin harvest oats in the field. Being back in my hometown during the summer and being with my family is a time for reconnecting with family and enjoying the camp that we have on the farm.
Here’s the story:
Many years ago, the late 1960’s to be exact, a couple of my family members and others were instrumental in starting a non-profit Christian-based organization in West TN, called the Dyersburg-Dyer County Union Mission. It was originally started to help families in the community who were in need. They provided meals, clothing, shelter and other basic needs when they were displaced for various reasons. Another mission was to help youth in the community.
Jumping forward 30 or so years, and still going strong, the mission began providing a program and a place to go for children in the local community who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to attend a christian-based after school program. They offered things such as tutoring, bible study, games, snacks and basic computer skills.What they also realized was that they wanted to continue being involved with the children throughout the summer months, because once summer break came, there were no services available to at the mission for these children. This is when the idea of a summer camp was born! The search for a camp site began, and that is when our family farm became part of the big picture.
The director of the mission and others wanted to provide a camp for the kids, but the rent at many of the camping facilities was out of their budget. I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents would have long (very long) discussions, and at the time I had no idea what they were talking about. My mother tells me that I asked if they were getting a divorce because they would stay away and talk for long periods of time!
They decided to donate a portion of our 62 acre family farm for this camp. Now, at the time I was 12-13 years old and not too thrilled about “giving away our farm” for a bunch of kids to run around on…kids I did not know at all. But in spite of my objections (ha! – I say that in total jest), they followed the calling they knew was theirs and offered the farm to the mission.
This is when New Life Youth Camp began & 25+ years later it is still going strong. The mission for the camp is to teach the children about the love of Christ and experience Him through the love of those who come to serve, the teaching of His Word and through experiencing Him in nature. There is no question about whether or not the children love it. While enjoying everything from chapel, to archery and swimming (just to name a few things), their laughter can be heard all throughout the campus.
Here are a few more fun photos of what is happening at New Life Youth Camp…
If you would like to find out more about this organization and what all is going on, you can check it out here. You might even want to get involved!! 🙂 You can find them on Facebook here, and their website can be found here…
Enjoy & once again, thanks for your feedback and comments, I do appreciate it!