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Camp BAM 2023 makes impact in Triad communities

The third annual Camp BAM took place July 12-16 on the Mills Home campus of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). Hosted by North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM), this intergenerational service camp allows volunteers to serve aging adults in the community by building wheelchair ramps, installing smoke alarms, and completing other projects. Forty-one campers from IMPACT Community Youth and FBC Concord participated.

This year’s intergenerational camp included teenagers, octogenarians, and every decade between. Camp BAM veterans were able to train new campers in wielding a post-hole digger, using power tools, smoothing concrete, installing smoke alarms, and in the value of measuring twice and cutting once.

Camp began on Wednesday afternoon with campers settling into their rooms on the campus. After dinner, they received training in smoke alarm installation, attended a worship service, and then enjoyed ice-breaker games to get to know one another. Over the next three hot July days, the group built six wheelchair ramps, mowed, trimmed and cleaned three yards, and served three BCH. ministries. They pulled weeds in Greater Vision’s community garden, organized the ministry’s clothes closet, and sorted Food Roundup donations at the Mills Home food locker. Campers especially enjoyed one afternoon devoted to playing games with children in care.

NCBAM’s Austin Decker (north central regional director) served as camp director. “We were thrilled this year to be able to stretch our ministry projects’ budget because of grant funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act.” (NCBAM received “$275,000 for safety/home improvement projects in four Triad counties.) Lindsay Ridenhour appreciated the impact Camp BAM had on her son. “I am beyond grateful for this opportunity for Carson—for the impact not only in the communities, but in these kids’ lives as well. What a blessing!”

Philip Hightower’s teenagers attended camp and he volunteered alongside them one day. “It was the first time for all of us. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The whole experience and seeing it come together was far beyond what I imagined. I’m very proud of this group of kids and their leaders. No doubt this is God’s work.”

Monica and Billy Talbert lead IMPACT Community Youth and have attended all three Camp BAMs. “I wish everyone could see what we saw this week. We are incredibly proud of these kids! They stepped out of their comfort zones more than once. We witnessed some pray with the ones we built ramps for. They interacted with children not as fortunate as they are. Billy and I are so proud of the kids and feel so blessed to be a small part of their lives!”

Octogenarian Jeanette Moon traveled three hours to volunteer at Camp BAM. She received services from Camp BAM during last summer’s Camp held at BCH’s Kennedy Home in Kinston. Jeanette came to Thomasville to reconnect with the campers and to bless them by serving meals and keeping the dining area clean. Through

five days of service, campers acquired new skills, learned to work together as a team, and broadened their perspectives by meeting people outside their every- day lives—from children in care at BCH to older adults trapped in their homes and struggling to afford basic necessities. Most importantly, campers were able to share their faith with the people they served and see God’s hand in every project they completed.

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Written by Carol Layton, NCBAM, Director of Communications and Administration

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