A 215-member contingent of
Christian college students from Missouri descended on Caraway Conference Center
and Camp the week of March 8 to clean, paint, mulch, rake, split wood, sort,
organize and build trails, a Frisbee golf course and a cityscape in which to
wage paint ball war.
The students were from the
Campus Christian Fellowship of Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and
their service trip to North Carolina was in lieu of the kind of spring break
many college students take that involves a self-absorbed week of drinking and
“We came here because we
love the Lord and it’s fun,” said Truman student Angie Whitlatch. “We pay money
to work and have no sleep, but it’s the best week of the whole school year.”
Arriving primarily in school
buses after a 23-hour non-stop drive, the students set to work immediately, taking
just one day off to visit the North Carolina Zoo. They also had devotions, and
group worship each day.
Student organizer Courtney
Perrachione said Campus Christian Fellowship solicits a work opportunity each
year, but few organizations can keep a group as large as theirs busy for a
week. When associate camp director Jeremy Jackson saw the request for proposal
from CCF, he responded the same day.
Staff was well prepared for
the invasion with equipment, materials and plans for the students to get busy
and stay busy.
Several of their projects
will expand Caraway’s ability to attract weekend visitors, families and adult
groups for fun activities. The students built tent campsites with packed sand
inside a level frame; each site with a picnic table.
They built a Frisbee golf
course and a cityscape in the paint ball area, greatly expanding recreational
possibilities. With logging trails and an emergency road cut through the
property, future opportunities exist for mountain biking.
Campers are going to be
“jacked up” when they see the new offerings this year, said Caraway staffer
Kenny Adcock, who is in charge of summer programs.
Students cut and lined with
tree limbs an estimated three miles of trails that “open up the very, very
pretty parts of this property nobody ever sees,” Caraway Director Jimmy Huffman
Huffman, on staff at Caraway
for 10 years and director since July 2007, said he wants to refurbish the old
Camp Caraway on the other side of the road in time for Caraway’s 50th
anniversary in 2013. Each feature Caraway adds enhances its attractiveness and
Huffman wants Baptist families and churches to utilize the marvelous asset that
950 acres of Caraway presents. It is also about to enter a $7.5 million
campaign to upgrade facilities.
Call Caraway to reserve a camp site or schedule
a paintball tournament or group building event on the ropes course: (336)
629-2374. Visit www.caraway.org.
About 21,000 overnight visitors utilize the
property each year.