Camp offers children of prisoners safe haven, fun
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
July 15, 2010

Camp offers children of prisoners safe haven, fun

Camp offers children of prisoners safe haven, fun
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
July 15, 2010

For many, going to camp is a

rite of passage.

But for children who have a

parent in prison, Camp Angel Tree offers a safe place with other children with

incarcerated parents.

“The walls come down and

they start to trust,” said Ashley Groce, one of the assistant directors at Camp

Mundo Vista in Sophia. “I love watching the staff; you get to see their hearts

being broken.”

Groce, who is serving her

fifth summer at the camp, said investing in the girls’ lives makes a


More than 80 girls and 70

boys were on site June 27-30 at Mundo and at Camp Caraway across the road.

These camps, which are for

9-12-year-olds who have completed first through third grade, are sponsored by

Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) and North Carolina Baptist

Men in partnership with Prison Fellowship.

Amy Saunders, a member of Yates Baptist Church, is on staff at Camp Mundo Vista this summer. Above, Saunders poses with some of the campers she worked with in 2009 for Camp Angel Tree. She is the daughter of John Saunders, director of missions for Yates

Baptist Association.

Many volunteers make the

camps possible, said Tammy Tate, Mundo’s program director. Volunteers sponsor

children as well as provide transportation to and from camp.

Yates Baptist Association

has been transporting children from cities within the association to and from

camp. John Saunders, director of missions of Yates Baptist Association, said

his church — Yates Baptist Church in Durham — has coordinated with the families

the last three years.

“It is rewarding because you

see the difference it has in the children’s lives,” Saunders said.

“The staffs at the camps are

real good with the kids. I think it is a mission opportunity to help these kids

go to camp and to have a different kind of experience in their life and to see

the impact that the camp has on their lives.”

One of the young men

Saunders met before the children left did not want to go, but “when we went to

pick him up he didn’t want to leave,” he said.

While campers pay for part

of their cost, Tate said WMU-NC has money in its budget to help offset the cost,

which averages $175 per camper. This money takes care of personnel, food,

lodging and money for the canteen.

A special part for Tate, not

just with Camp Angel Tree, is seeing the same kids come back again.

“It’s really cool to see

them come back year after year excited to see what they’ve learned,” she said.

One of the favorite times

for Scarlet Welborn is the extended swimming time.

“I love swimming with the

campers because they latch on,” said Welborn, who is the other assistant

director. “It’s just awesome to see them grow.”

Welborn said she also enjoys

seeing the older children show the younger campers about camp.

Volunteers are

needed to transport the children to camp as well as to provide sponsorships.

Each camp can host up to 120 children.

At WMU-NC, contact Cara Lynn

Vogel at (866) 210-8602, ext. 205, or [email protected].

At N.C. Baptist Men,

contact Kecia Morgan at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5613, or [email protected].