A Week at Salkehatchie
Long days, hard work, new friends and a closer relationship with God ... they're all part of a week at Salkehatchie. Here's the play-by-play of what our campers can expect from when they arrive to when they leave seven days later.
All Salkehatchie Camps run from Saturday to Saturday. Here's what you can expect every day. If you want more detail click here to download our actual schedule for the week.
Campers arrive on Saturday and at the Huntersville Camp that's usually around noon. The first thing to do is to get registered and find out where you're sleeping quarters are. You'll also receive your Camp T-shirt and the schedule.
The campers arrive for registration
The most important part of Saturday is to visit the homeowners and form the teams that will work on each of the homes. Once everyone is somewhat settled and has unloaded their belongings there's usually a short orientation and the "tour of homes" begins. The tour is the opportunity for the youth to see the homes that will be worked on during the week and determine which one they would like to work on. It's also the first opportunity for the homeowners to see youth that will be part of the camp. (The adult campers will have met the homeowners about three weeks before. At that time the adult teams determined the homes they would be working on.) At the conclusion of the tour each of the youth will rank the homes they are most interested in working on. Not everyone gets their first choice but the camp director does his best. After dinner the campers meet for the evening program. Saturday evening is usually a good opportunity to let the first time campers know a little bit about the Salkehatchie program and how it works. It's also the first opportunity to introduce the spiritual aspect of the camp. Salkehatchie camps are more than just work camps. They are an opportunity to learn what it's like to do God's work through service to others.
Sunday is a busy day. At the breakfast the campers learn what team they're on. After breakfast each team pays a visit to the homeowner. This is first time that the homeowners are meeting the team that they will see each day for the next six days. The team site leader will usually lead the team in a devotion with the homeowner. At the meeting the team and the home owner discuss what work is needed at the house and what might realistically be accomplished during the next week.
On the pier
After the meeting with the homeowners the teams meet back at the camp and attend the worship service together. Sunday afternoon is reserved for some fun and team building. At the Huntersville Camp we have a cookout on Lake Norman. Ben and Vicki Griffith let the campers use their lake house. It's a fun afternoon.
Monday - Thursday
The work begins. The campers are up at 6am, have breakfast and head off to the home sites at 7:00am. At the home the team members and homeowners join in a devotion prior to starting work. The work day ends about 5:00pm. It's a long day with a one hour break for lunch. The work week has its ups and downs. The work is hard and it doesn't always move as quickly as the teams would like. The experience encourages teamwork, persistence and faith. Miracles truly happen.
The youth often do things they never imagined they could. They learn carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, roofing and how to work safely with power tools.
The Salkehatchie experience is not always an easy or comfortable one. Many of the youth are experiencing poverty for the first time. The evening reflections are an opportunity to explore those feelings and at the same time understand our roles as disciples of Christ.
After dinner the campers meet for the evening's program. The Salkehatchie experience is not always an easy or comfortable one. Many of the youth are experiencing poverty for the first time. The evening reflections are an opportunity to explore those feelings and at the same time understand our roles as disciples of Christ.
In addition to evening reflections there are other activities usually scheduled during the week. At the Huntersville Camp in 2003 the campers spent one evening at the Huntersville pool. It was a welcome break during the week.
At the end of the evening program the youth generally have some free time. At the Huntersville Camp the youth, accompanied by an adult, will make a trek to the local convenience store to re-stock drinks and snacks.
Friday is a big day. The work done during the week is coming to a close. After lunch the team cleans up the site and has a closing devotion with the family. It's an opportunity for the family and the team to reflect on the week. The teams arrive back at the camp and the tour of homes begins. The campers get an opportunity to see the work that everyone has done during the week. At each home the team and homeowner gather to address the rest of the camp and describe all the work that has taken place. The tour is the usually the highlight of the week.
Singing on Saturday evening
After dinner the camp meets for the evening program. The evening program is a symbols ceremony. During the week each camper, youth and adult, has found a symbol on their home site. The symbol can be anything; a rusty nail, something found in a wall or a tool that a camper used. Every camper is given an opportunity to share with the camp their symbol and whatever it may have meant to them. Communion is served and after closing remarks the progam is adjourned.
On Saturday the campers get to sleep in. Most have had late nights. The morning is spent preparing to break camp. At the Huntersville Camp we address the campers one last time and present a Powerpoint presentation which recounts the whole week. It's a great way to end a great camp. After exchanging email, phone numbers and plenty of hugs and tears the campers are dismissed.