Sulphur Springs Workcamp is a three-day experience in which area youth groups of all denominations join together to better the community by repairing and restoring homes of the disabled, elderly, poor, widowed and single mothers- free of charge.
“I’ve never had anybody ever come and do anything for me before,” said Shirley Lasley, a widow since her husband’s death in 2003. “They painted so diligently and it was hot. But the main thing I saw in those children was love. You could feel it from their hearts.”
The idea for Sulphur Springs Workcamp was conceived in the mind of Shannon Oaks Church Youth Pastor Brian Cromer.
“Sulphur Springs Workcamp at its very core is about loving God and loving people,” said Cromer who has been with Shannon Oaks for the past five years. “We are simply responding to the love God has lavished on us by loving and helping other people.”
Knowing the importance of making a difference in his own community, Cromer said he came up with the idea about four years ago and combined it with his desire to promote unity within the Christian community.
Cromer began contacting other churches and by May of 2007, the first Sulphur Springs Workcamp began with 100 students and adults from three different churches and two denominations joining in the efforts of making repairs and revamping the homes of nine local recipients.
In 2008, more than 150 teens and adults, representative of five churches and four denominations, came together to work on 12 homes within the community.
This year’s Workcamp will take place Sunday, June 7 through Wednesday, June 10.
“The overall goal is for Sulphur Springs Workcamp to grow each year in each facet of the event,” explained Cromer, who added that just over $14,000 was donated by businesses and individuals.
This year, according to Cromer, he is planning on 15 houses, 180 participants, an increase to eight churches and $20,000 to cover the cost of supplies and materials.
“Many businesses in the area fund our projects,” Cromer said. “The more the community comes together and gives, the more we can put back into our community.”
Teens and adults are split into crews of 10 to 15 people and assigned the tasks of scraping, painting, repairing and clean-up, as well as landscaping such as mowing, weeding and planting flower beds.
At the end of each day, the crews gather together for dinner and an evening of fellowship, fun and worship before crawling into sleeping bags for a good night’s rest.
“It’s good to get out of your normal routine, take a break and go out and serve somebody,” said Emalee McMillan, an eighth grade participant. “I love meeting and getting to know the residents we serve. It makes what we’re doing even more meaningful. Especially when you see the joy they get. It’s amazing how grateful they are to us for what we do.”
“It was truly a blessing for me,” Lasley emphasized. “These children painted my house, picked up my yard, mowed my lawn AND my neighbor’s yards. They did all kinds of little extras-even made me a flower bed. I’d never had a flower bed before. It was so pretty. It just made me want to cry, all that they did.”
Deadline to sign up for the camp is Friday, May 15. For more information on how to get involved by participating or donating, please call 903-885-6542.
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