Catoosa Kids Camp
The quiet is deafening. If you were at the church since August, you know that Christian Aid Ministries work crews were out re-building our community while the support staff stayed at the church cooking, cleaning, washing & mending. The sounds of chatter, laughter & singing filled the air. But they have moved on to a new mission field leaving a void.
But never fear (and be forewarned), the noise will be back! When school ends, camp begins. And for those of you lucky enough to have avoided spending any time with me, here goes…
In the mid 70’s longtime recreation director and Ringgold UMC member Jack Mattox started a summer camp at the Catoosa Training Facility, aka “The rifle Range”. Twenty five years ago jack approached the school about allowing 15 – 20 children whose parents couldn’t afford camp to attend for free. All of that changed after 9/11 when the military needed the Rifle Range and the summer camp went on hiatus. However, some generous folks at Ringgold UMC offered the use of the gym and we’ve never left. All the kids are from elementary & primary schools, all are from low-income families and some are homeless. We provide transportation to & from camp, feed them breakfast & lunch, play games, go on field trips, do arts & crafts and practice reading. Also that “15 – 20” kids are now 50 – 60 kids each week. And while this is not a “church camp”, to use a phrase from Rev. Purrington, when the kids are here they are “in the shadow of the church”.
We pay for all of this with donation from individuals, from a few businesses & from the Sheriff’s Department. If you would like to help make a donation to Ringgold UMC and write “Summer Camp” in the memo line. And here’s the deal; if you make a donation we will NOT make a field trip to your home. Just know that we thank everyone for your help, your support & your patience.
Sue Mason, MSW