Salkehatchie Summer Service
Huntersville Camp 2003
Notes from the Camp Director
Jerry Kita was born in Welland, Ontario, Canada and has lived in Huntersville, NC since July 1997 with his wife Mona and their three children, Ben, Nathan and Natalia. The Kita family are members of Huntersville United Methodist Church. In 2000 Jerry and Mona led a group of eight youth to a Salkehatchie Summer Service Camp in Camden, South Carolina. Huntersville United Methodist Youth have continued to attend the Camden camp. This exposure to Salkehatchie convinced Jerry and Mona to start a camp in Huntersville.
October 22th, 2003
It's been about 90 days since our 2003 camp ended. In some ways it feels like a long, long time since our campers left Huntersville for their homes. On the other hand, there are reminders that the camp was only a short time ago. It's only within the last couple of weeks that we've begun to formally wrap up camp activities. Although the camp formally ended on July 26th there still has been work to do.
Despite the best efforts of our campers we still had work to complete at three of the four homes we worked on. As of this writing we have about two days of work left and we can formally closeout the camp.
The camp financial report was completed about three weeks ago. One of the duties of the camp director is to formally account for all the money coming into camp and report this to the Salkehatchie Summer Service Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is run out of the South Carolina United Methodist Conference. The camp financial report provides some insight into how the camp itself has been run. It allows one to quickly answer questions about camp budgets, building material expenses, food & lodging costs, donations and camp administration costs. Someone looking at the Huntersville Camp financial report would be able to conclude the following:
One of the perks of being a Camp Director is having a "luxurious" office and sleeping quarters
- We were over budget. No one ever plans to be over budget but it does happen.
- We spent only $307 on food. This is phenomenal considering over the 8 day period we had to prepare over 800 meals. This means that most of our meals were donated. It reflects the way the community supported out camp.
- 94% of the money spent at the camp went towards the homeowners. This is probably the number I was the most proud of. It means that we were able to keep our in-camp costs down to a bare minimum and that the homeowners were able to realize the benefit of that. It allowed us to spend double the amount per home that we normally would expect to spend.
I had previously only experienced a camp as one of the adult workers. I was used to getting up early every morning, having breakfast and heading off to the site with the rest of my team to spend the day. Leading up to this camp I had wondered what I would do with my time over the course of the workday. The Camp Director's work really takes place in the weeks and months leading up to the camp. Those weeks and months had been busy. Our team had been meeting on a regular basis since November to ensure that the camp was as organized as possible. Our team of Rehnea Raines, Vicki Rintz, Christine McMillan and Anne Feigl solicited the support of various organizations to provide us with our in-camp meals. Billy Rintz, Mona Kita and I visited prospective home owners and got them signed up. On the eve of the camp I felt confident that we had covered all the bases. However, as a first-time camp I wondered if we had missed something. Whatever fears I had were unfounded. Logistically the camp ran very smoothly. The team had prepared well.
As it turned out I had plenty to do during the work day. In the weeks leading up to the camp you take care of the things you have control over. That leaves you time during the camp to deal with the unexpected things you have no control over. That would invariably include making runs to Lowe's for materials, taking folks to the doctor to deal with minor bumps and scrapes (thankfully there were no significant injuries of any kind), dealing with one significant personnel issue and being the camp photographer. In addition I hosted a few tours. My days were largely unplanned but they were very busy.
As with all Salkehatchie camps the end results were great. Not only did we get a lot of work done the spiritual experience lead by Rev Billy Rintz was incredible. The HUMC Youth Band provided great music in the evenings. On Sunday evening we had a great speaker in Rev John Culp, the founder of the Salkehatchie program. On Thursday, Ed Kilbourne performed for us. At the end of the week the adults and youth were some combination of tired, sore, sunburned and emotionally exhausted. At the same time we were all spiritually uplifted and grateful for the opportunity to do God's work through service to others.
The HUMC Band were a huge part of the 2003 Huntersville Camp
Salkehatchie weeks are always amazing. Everyone will tell you their own story. For me I am always amazed at the willingness of the campers to do whatever it takes to help out the homeowners. These are homeowners that they'd never previously met, had nothing at all in common with, and in most instances would never meet again. And yet the campers had to be dragged away from the homes sites because they always felt they could do something more. The other amazing thing is how heroes appear out of nowhere. When we ran into some unexpected problems and the Little house, Shannon and Michael Stewart lent their construction skills and expertise and helped dig us out of a hole. Dr. Gina LiCause offered to take care of any bumps, bruises and scrapes that happened during the camp. Ben Griffith and Bob Sims each put in about 50 hours of time making material deliveries, doing plumbing and electrical work and generally helped out anywhere they could. Mack Robinette provided us with emergency plumbing services free of charge. Whenever we needed the help someone stepped up to the plate.
It was a great camp. Thanks to everyone who participated. We look forward to doing it again in 2004.