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
“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
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.
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.
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].