The following is a Christian Work Project sponsored in part by a grant from the Boston Baptist Social Union.
With Winter Camp as a major work of the Boston Baptist Social Union, members of the Union can hold their heads high!
Working with inner-city youth and over 12 churches throughout Boston, we have been able to provide unique camping experiences for thousands of youth. These youth have gone on to become leaders within their church and community.
Winter Camp utilizes a unique paradigm for camper-to-youth leader relationship building. Youths come to Winter Camp and take classes run by people from their own home church.
Many of the youth coming to Winter Camp come with the baggage of a broken home, abuse and neglect, and now the financial uncertainty of their parent/guardian. Using Winter Camp as part of the tool set for the local church, the BBSU is actively supporting one of the most evangelical ministries that these churches employ. Each winter youth make a decision for Christ, find renewed faith or hear God's call on their lives for ministry.
This past winter two youths made a declaration to their youth leader, Minister Andre. They handed him their colors (or bandanas) and stated, We are not going to follow the gang any more, we are going to follow Christ! Two more lives had been won for Christ with the help of BBSU!
We continue to build on our summer camp accessibility to our Boston churches. Working with youth leaders, we are developing ongoing relationships that further the extension of their ministry.
With camps in Oceanwood, as well as Grotonwood, the BBSU provides summer experiences to youth who otherwise might have been watching TV, playing video games or hanging out.
In April 2009 we will be holding our first April Vacation Family Camp. Spearheading this camp is Lorraine Anderson, Pastor of International Community Church in Allston. She is gathering families from the eclectic groups of culturally diverse churches meeting in Allston.
We will be utilizing some outside expert counseling to help facilitate positive inter-family and intergenerational communications.
In 2008 we provided $44,865 in scholarships that were BBSU grant eligible. GOSH (Grotonwood/oceanwood Supporters and Helpers) covered the balance of the unfunded scholarships.
These funds provided camping experiences to 186 youths attending Winter Camp, summer camp, Unite camps, and retreats.
We expect that the need from our Boston churches will be greater than ever, both financial, as well as ministerial.
We will be holding our second "April Vacation Family camp." We expect to further our penetration into our sister Baptist churches and in 2010 we anticipate 30-40 persons attending.