10 Apr 3 Reasons You Should Spend a Week in Allendale this Summer
What’s the big deal about Grace Church being a part of a summer camp in Allendale, SC?
If you are like most parents in Greenville, you have already been hearing about summer camps for a month, or more. And you’ve probably already registered and blocked off time for at least one week. (One summer camp that our son has taken part in opened registration in February, and was booked up within minutes.)
If you google “Greenville SC summer camp” you will get about 135,000 results. If you want a shorter version, cheat sheet, you can just check out Greenville Today’s – 10 Coolest Summer Camps.
So what makes the Allendale summer camp so unique? Why is Grace Church sending interns for the whole summer, and six teams that will each spend a week there?
1) We’re partnering, not leading.
If you know anything about small towns in the South, you won’t be surprised that there has been a racial divide in Allendale County, since, well, forever. In the time when our family lived in that community, we did not witness dangerous racial conflicts (at least what would have more common 50-60 years ago). However, most inter-ethnic relationships go little beyond common courtesies.
This division is especially evident among the 100+ churches in the county. Most interaction between white and black churches involved teaching or giving to each other, not working alongside each other for a common goal.
This summer camp is not an initiative of Grace Church. It is not an idea coming and led by people from Greenville. It is being led by two historically-separate churches — Fairfax First Baptist (mostly white people) and Nazarene Baptist Church (mostly black people).
This summer camp is not an initiative of Grace Church. It is not an idea coming and led by people from Greenville.
For three years now, these two churches have been partnering together for community activities. They have experienced the tensions of working alongside each other, bringing different ideas and desires, but for a common cause — spreading God’s kingdom. They are only united by the gospel.
By partnering with these two local churches, we from Grace Church have a chance to encourage them in their mission. They are already doing God’s work, and we have the privilege and pleasure of being a part of it.
2) There’s nothing else to do.
One of the first things I heard from people in Allendale when I started working there is, “There is nothing to do” for youth. While Greenville has hundreds of options for summer activities, most kids in Allendale do not have such access.
I am not exaggerating when I say that there may be one or two other summer or two other camp opportunities in Allendale. If this camp doesn’t happen, those youth (they hope to reach 100 children) will have few alternatives.
Think about it — this is a county without a single public pool, or without an open indoor recreational center for kids. When it’s 90 degrees, what other options will they have but to sit inside, isolated and bored?
3) Without you, it doesn’t happen.
This summer camp is important, but not because of us. This camp is not about Grace Church coming in with an agenda. This camp is the dream and vision of two churches that are united by the gospel, and who have a common mission to reach their community.
But they don’t have the resources or manpower to make it happen on their own. Allendale summer camp will only be successful with outside partnership.
They don’t have the resources or manpower to make it happen on their own. Allendale summer camp will only be successful with outside partnership.
When you serve this summer, you will know that you will have a lasting and tangible impact, even with only a week-long investment.
Will you be a part? This is an opportunity for singles, young couples, empty nesters, or for entire families to sacrifice a small part of their summer. You will get to serve as one body and make a difference in two churches and in the Allendale community.
Joey eats oatmeal every day for breakfast. He also wants to warn you that his daughter now is eligible to drive, and it doesn’t help that he was her instructor. Joey attends the Downtown campus.