Volunteers Make Camp Go 'Round

Academy parent and volunteer extraordinaire John Edmondson helps facilitate camper contests at the Camp Skillz kick off, measuring "how high," followed by how fast and how strong, from the Camp Skillz motto: Higher, Stronger, Faster. 

Academy parent and volunteer extraordinaire John Edmondson helps facilitate camper contests at the Camp Skillz kick off, measuring "how high," followed by how fast and how strong, from the Camp Skillz motto: Higher, Stronger, Faster. 

We’ve said it before and I’m sure we’ll say it many more times, but we are incredibly thankful for the volunteers who help us run so many of our projects and programs. Of specific mention lately is our summer camp. As more than 100 kids showed up for Camp Skillz at our campus for our first session, they were met by smiling, energetic adults ready to give of their time solely to help them have an awesome summer.  

Serving both as counselors and activity facilitators, over two dozen volunteers help kids navigate through activities as they learn skills and lessons in character along the way. Whether it’s teaching activities like Yoga or cooking, or helping a camper get more involved in a scavenger hunt, they play important roles in helping these kids have a fun and memorable summer camp.  

People jump aboard the volunteer train from all kinds of places. Lately, they've heard about camp through working with Details Nashville, a business partner that employs dozens of students from the Institute for G.O.D. After hearing about the camp, Details employees were pleased to find a program that they could afford for their kids. But, as we've often seen, gratitude can be a trigger for service. So, Amy Ziegler and Blanca Olascoaga didn't use camp as a break, they signed up to volunteer!  

Amy commented on the experience, “It has been awesome jumping into a role where I was needed after learning about it through a person I met at work. Knowing that I am serving God and working with a community that is Christ-loving and Christ-like, I just know that I am right where I am supposed to be. And knowing that I am instilling in these kids the things that I have learned in my own walk with Christ is something definitely bigger than me. It's pretty cool to be around a bunch of fun-loving, Christ-filled, compassionate-natured people that are just as crazy about these kids as I am.”

Blanca, a counselor with Camp Skillz, loves being alongside the kids during the day to encourage them in their competitions and challenges.  

Blanca, a counselor with Camp Skillz, loves being alongside the kids during the day to encourage them in their competitions and challenges.  

Blanca gave her perspective on the friendships campers develop, “I love getting silly with these kids and making fun summer memories. I love to see that they are having a great time and seeing how they become closer friends.”  

It’s not always easy to find people who volunteer with enthusiasm.  We are so blessed to have people who love kids, and are willing to get hot and sweaty and spend their summer investing in them.  

Sarah Corniea, certified Yoga instructor said of her time with campers, "Yoga poses a challenge to the campers as it requires mental focus to get their body to move into stretches and balancing poses. It is a joy to see campers come out of their comfort zones and learn how to focus in the moment and become aware of how their bodies move!"

Sarah Corniea, certified Yoga instructor said of her time with campers, "Yoga poses a challenge to the campers as it requires mental focus to get their body to move into stretches and balancing poses. It is a joy to see campers come out of their comfort zones and learn how to focus in the moment and become aware of how their bodies move!"

Kim Roberts, Hopewell neighborhood resident and parent of an Academy student, has jumped into Camp Skillz for the first time this summer to help facilitate an activity. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with these campers. I was a little nervous at first, since I’m not used to working with large groups of children, but they surprised me and I surprised myself!  I put together a scavenger hunt food challenge to help exercise their mind by reinforcing problem-solving skills, the value of teamwork in addition to promoting social interaction. My hope is that in learning to navigate the kitchen and use healthy ingredients, they would develop a sense of pride and accomplishment about the things that they have created and get a sense of the importance of good nutrition.”  

With testimonies like these, it’s no wonder kids are full of laughter and excitement as the days pass by. The service of these individuals is inspiring, and a reminder that the most powerful resource we have to give is our self.