Going To The Mountain
This is a story about Elizabeth and her experience at Camp Sunshine.
This story is published in The First Edition, October 2015 Issue
“I never went to camp as a young person, so now I am getting this experience late in life and enjoying it more,” shares Elizabeth Venable. She is a 12-time Camp Sunshine participant from our church. Camp Sunshine is a Christian camp held once a year in the summer for developmentally delayed adults 18+ in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. The camp is located at an altitude of 7500 feet and it takes our crew about twelve hours to drive up and twelve hours to return home each year.
Elizabeth originally joined our team of volunteers attending Camp Sunshine as part of a work crew providing assistance to the camp through jobs such as sweeping, vacuuming, registration, and laundry! That has now changed. Our FUMC Georgetown team is now very much involved with the campers on a daily basis especially their daily craft activities.
The campers include people who have suffered a stroke and those with functioning autism, Asbergers Syndrome, and cerebral palsy. The people who lead Camp Sunshine are exceptional. They are dedicated to enhancing this experience in every way they can. Mary Sheol is the current Camp Sunshine Director, and she hires many creative people to help make camp the wonderful occasion it is. One such hire is a young man with a theatre background. He has built a parade float for the annual camp party, and each year it is redecorated with whatever is the new theme for that year. All of the campers ride the float to the party every year, rain or shine!
Elizabeth observes that this camp is like going to a family reunion! It is more like a homecoming for many attendees who return to this camp each year. As a volunteer, you’re quickly struck by the closeness of the relationships here.
Elizabeth says, “It’s like going to the mountain for me. I feel closer to my maker – and all his children”.
As many who give in mission and outreach have experienced, Elizabeth has also found that being a blessing to others is a blessing for oneself. Generosity of time and love is a way, in our own lives, of sharing God’s grace with others.
For more information or to join the next mission trip to Camp Sunshine, New Mexico, please contact Elaine Jackson at 512.868.8063.