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  "CAMP SPIRIT" at Galilee

For the third year in a row, the Episcopal Church of Nevada will be sponsoring a summer camp for Children of Inmates. This year it is called "Camp Spirit." It will occur from August 12-19, Sunday to Sunday, at the Episcopal Camp & Conference Center, otherwise known as Camp Galilee, which is on the eastern shores of Lake Tahoe.

This is an ecumenical effort as other churches help us sponsor the children who will attend the camp. Other organizations that engage in prison ministries of any sort may also be able to refer families to us who have a member in prison, whose children are between the ages of 8-12 years old.

I am the "official recruiter" of camp children, so if you have some live applicants, please have the families fill out the details (see attached form) and send it to Donna Margerum (her address is included) but please also let me know as I'll need to keep a running count of how many plan to come. I'll need to know when to stop recruiting. We can only hold 40 children, max. We are aiming at between 30-40 children between the ages of 8-12. We had wider age ranges before and found it too unwieldy.

If you do Angel Tree presents for children of inmates at Christmas time, that is a great source to become aware of prisoners with children. Most children who attend Camp Spirit live within the Reno/Sparks/Carson City/Minden/Gardnerville/Fallon/Yerington area because of the transportation issue. We mostly rely on families to get their children to the camp and back. We also will bringing a Van of children up from the Las Vegas area this year. But we are limited on how many can fit into one van, plus sleeping bags and one suitcase or duffle bag/child.

If we get a lot of interest from Las Vegas, we could conceivably go to two vans. If families can provide their own transportation, then they can come from anywhere. We are really not equipped to do much of that. All costs of the camp, though, will be covered by the fundraising of the churches. We may need some help getting children to and from the camp as some families do not own reliable cars and we don't want children to miss the camping experience because of that.

The camp experience is free to the families. (Actual costs of the camp per child run about $450/child, which includes room and board, a lifeguard, nurse, arts & craft materials, water equipment like rafts and paddle boards, afternoon snacks, etc. Registration fees for children at the other summer camps at Camp Galilee are $300/child). We have an excellent chef for the camp and the food is always healthy, well-balanced, and tastey.

For Camp Spirit, we provide each child with a backpack with a Bible (courtesy of Angel Tree), flashlight, notebook of blank paper, pencil, pen,sunblock, bug repellant, etc., and they are provided a snack every afternoon in between lunch and dinner. Staff includes three priests and one deacon; one Hispanic and one Black person; young and older a like. All the adult staff are volunteers. We will be paying four young people--two young women and two young men in their late teens or early 20's, to be camp counselors to work more directly with the children, sleep in their cabins, etc.

The schedule begins with chapel first thing every morning, followed by breakfast. Then clean-up in cabins, meeting as a group, discussion times, small group time, play time, lunch, beach time, nap, snack time, arts & crafts, dinner. Group time, small group discussions, songs & games, singing and shared prayers at Point Prayer (gather around a rustic wood cross at an overlook of the beach and water), back to cabin and lights out. There will be one hike, a star gazing night, nature walks, and various fun surprises for the children. It is a wonderful, safe, fun time for the children and hopefully will have a positive effect on the rest of their lives.

We have worked with folks from Kairos, My Journey Home, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, etc., in the past to help locate eligible children. I have also used Angel Tree lists. Gene Golish was on the staff of the camp last year and he and Terri will both be staff this year. We also will have Kim & Cash Mitchell this year. Kim will be the camp nurse for all or most of the week. So it is a very ecumenical effort. We would greatly appreciate any help you can give us in fund raising and transportation of children. Below are lists of needs we are still working on. Your referrals would be appreciated. Mike & Donna Margerum are the couple in charge of the camp this year. Mike is the head program person and Donna is the business manager.

Because of health and safety issues, we will not allow visitors during the camping week. Some people want to come and "look" at how its going, but we have found that that is too disruptive.

REMEMBER, 70% OF CHILDREN OF INMATES WILL BECOME INMATES THEMSELVES UNLESS WE BREAK THE CYCLE. IT IS THE HUMANE, COMPASSIONATE, AND SMART THING FOR SOCIETY TO INVEST IN THE YOUTH WHILE THEY CAN STILL BE GUIDED IN THE WAYS OF THE LORD.

Mike & Donna Margerum's number is: 972-5148, email is: mdmargerum@sbcglobal.net

My numbers are: home: 782-5005; work 887-9287; emails: jforakerthompson@doc.nv.gov for work and jforakert@verizon.net  for home

Donations can be made out to: Galilee Episcopal Camp & Conference Center, Inc., PO Box 6472, Reno, NV 89513-6472. Please mark the check for "Camp Spirit."

Thanks. God bless,

Chaplain Jane,
(The Rev. Jane Foraker Thompson)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Still working on:

Staffing -- We are still working to obtain a music person and lifeguard. We also need a female camp counselor, over 18 years; this is a paid position ($250 for the week). Phillip Aranda, Terri Golish, and Kim Mitchell (our camp nurse) will work together on crafts.

Activities -- Cash Mitchell will check with the Dept. of Wildlife for a program with a live animal. Kathleen McGlone will work on getting disposable cameras for each camper. We will have several surprises for the campers during the week, including a magic show, star gazing, make your own ice cream in a bag (Terri Golish will coordinate). We will have a hike and smores down on the beach.

Transportation -- We will work with those who do not have rides to camp.

Finances -- We need help asking congregations for donations. Donations are a lot slower coming in this year than last.

We have a Palanca list if you find people who would rather donate things than money. "Rafts" are one item on the list and cost around $6 a piece. We don't need 40 rafts, but maybe 10-15 would do.