'Creation Vacation' provides break to cash-strapped families
7/25/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.
A UMNS Feature
By Nancye Willis*
United Methodists in Portland, Ore., believe everyone needs a
break now and then. So they're helping families who are struggling to
make ends meet and don't have the funds for a little fun.
"Creation Vacation," the church's Oregon-Idaho Annual (regional)
Conference is providing free, four-day summer camps away from the inner
city for families who couldn't otherwise afford it.
Thanks to the
effort, on a warm, breezy day at Rockaway Beach, on the Oregon coast,
Andrea Justice enjoyed a vacation with her two sons. "To be able to play
with them, and that's all we have to do - we don't have to work or
anything else - it's good," she said.
It's her first vacation
since she became a mom almost four years ago. "I'm paying my bills every
month with my check," she said, "so, when it comes around to vacation
time, there's no way to go."
Justice, who works in a bank mailroom, added, "At the end of the month, I'm broke."
why the camps are planned at month's end, when food stamps and money
often run low. It's a common problem in Oregon, which claims the highest
rate of unemployment and hunger in the United States.
who live in poverty struggle every day, just to make ends meet," said
Rochelle Killett, a conference staff member who directs the program.
conference is conducting four camps this summer at two Oregon-Idaho
Annual Conference sites - Camp Magruder and Wallowa Lake - for families
from Portland, Salem and Ontario in Oregon and Nampa, Idaho.
each camp, families enjoy a time of relaxation, recreation and renewal
in a lake or forest setting, chosen for its natural beauty. Along with
providing a break from city noise and pollution, the settings reinforce
the need to be good stewards of all creation.
The gift of a
vacation experience includes bus transportation, lodging in a separate
room for each family, healthy food and snacks, camp support staff
services, the help of volunteer staff, craft resources, insurance,
bedding and personal items, and disposable cameras and film development.
enjoy a range of activities, including swimming, boating, beach play,
donkey rides, variety shows, campfires, crafts and hikes. Each camp has
an operating budget of $10,000 and depends on donations from various
sources, including Peace with Justice offerings and businesses, churches
"Family friends" - volunteers recruited from
churches and the camp community - help make the vacation go smoothly and
ensure that the families' needs are respected. These new friends
provide orientation, scheduling of activities or even babysitting, so
parents get some quiet time.
The vacation experience has
benefited families beyond the time spent at camp, according to a survey
conducted after the 2000 camps. At least half the families who had taken
part in the Creation Vacation program reported increased time together
as a family, and closer relationships and bonding among family members.
"Families are falling apart in this country," Killett said. "This is a way for our church to strengthen them."
conference initiated Creation Vacation in 1997 with a single camp for
17 families from northeast Portland. This year, 100 families will enjoy a
break at the four camps.
More information on Creation Vacation
is available at its Web site,
http://www.gocamping.org/creationvacation.html, and at the UMTV Web
Back : News Archives 2003 Main
“We believe in God and in each other.”The people of The United Methodist Church
Still Have Questions?
If you have any questions Ask
Purchase a $20 buzzkill t-shirt and help save a life
Buy a t-shirt