My name is Amy Jones, I am one of the Adult Advisors for Nature Camp at Craig Springs Camp & Retreat Center in New Castle, VA. Many of you may be familiar with Nature Camp, but if not, I'd like to tell you a little bit about it. Nature Camp provides an opportunity for at-risk (underprivileged) children (ages 9-11) to experience a week of a fun, safe, overnight summer camp, and also provides an opportunity for high-school age teens to serve one on one as Counselors to these children during the week, where the teens develop skills for leadership, ministry and service. This is a high-energy week for young campers to learn about God, sing, swim, play games safely outdoors in the clean air of the mountains, participate in activities such as a talent show, a dance, get three delicious meals a day with snacks, etc. Each camper (underprivileged child), has their "very own" teenaged counselor all to themself for an entire week as a "big sister or brother", mentor, and friend, where the two bond in a way that allows the camper to feel safe in their surroundings and cared about, which is sometimes rare for them at home. They also learn about God's love, and how having faith can help them through challenges in life. Each year it amazes me how sometimes the campers arrive looking somewhat worn, tired, in need of care, and within the first few days of camp they begin to physically transform into healthy, fresh and happy children!! It’s the toughest, most rewarding, most memorable week the teen counselors will ever have, and there is not a dry eye when it's time for the campers to leave at the end of the week.
So, this is where we need help: Our high school aged Counselors pay registration fees to be a part of this camp, which cover the cost of their room and board. The campers do not pay at all to come to this camp, and this has created a financial hardship for the camp as a whole. I am praying to have any donations made at this time, which would be great in any amount whatsoever, and, ultimately it would be camp-saving to get at least 100 people to donate $100.00 per year on a continual yearly basis to get us out of the hole we are currently in, and continue to be able to hold this camp that has changed so many lives. At this moment, however, if we could get any amount donated, it will help immensley. I was a Nature Camp Counselor as a teenager in the 80's, became Assistant Director and then Director of the camp after completing my Junior and Senior Years of high school. The camp is completely run by the teenaged youth in Virginia. We have an R.N. for medical needs and plenty of other adult advisors to be there for guidance and support. I have personally been contacted by campers I had when I was a Counselor who found me to thank me for giving them a glimpse of the safe Christian environment they had never known before attending Nature Camp. They found me to let me know that their time at Nature Camp helped to shape their life for the better. This is an experience that is hard to put into words, but is special and undeniably moving to all who are involved. It is never comfortable for me to ask for money, in fact I loathe having to do so, but this cause is so near and dear to my heart and many others', it is worth a moment of my personal vulnerability to ask if you would support Nature Camp in this way. Of course, we will accept any amount that your budget will allow, every dime donated adds up, so even if you can only donate $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, we are eternally grateful. We will be more than happy to send you a letter of donation for tax purposes for your entire donation if you so desire, as the money is tax deductible. If you choose to send a check directly to our Regional Office, PLEASE don't forget to earmark it as "Nature Camp Donation", and make the check out to: Christian Church in Virginia; and mail it to: Sue Gordon, c/o Christian Church in Virginia, 1290 Enterprise Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24502. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the contact number and e mail address provided on this site.
Crusher Bowers, the first Adult Advisor for Nature Camp (which, by the way, has been held every summer since the early 1970's), lives on through this camp, and I'd like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU on behalf of Crusher, Ellen Canode who gives so much, myself, and the hundreds of lives that have been touched throughout the years. We need you! We appreciate and are grateful for your kindness more than I know how to express in words! Thank you most of all for your prayers for the success of Nature Camp and Craig Springs as a whole. Even if you are not in a position to donate monetarily, your prayers will still bring it in, and blessings will come your way. Thanks so much for your prayerful consideration in helping this worthy camp.
With sincere gratitude, Amy E. Jones
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