Friday, June 26, 2009

58 Years of Amazing Volunteers...

At Lutheridge we are celebrating our 58th year of summer camp! The Camp and Conference Center is open year-round and for 58 years we have worked hard at keeping the grounds and buildings open and in good repair, it is a full time endeavor. Lutheridge is blessed to have a wonderful maintenance and housekeeping staff, but many times, it is volunteer groups that make the difference and come to help with our many various projects. Today we are going to talk a bit about these volunteers who come to “Camp” to work on projects, meet new friends and make a difference in our corner of the world, here at Lutheridge. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Jimmy, Lutheridge Site Manager, is always looking for volunteer help. Groups of any size and skill set are welcome. As the head of the maintenance and housekeeping departments, Jimmy is never lacking a variety of volunteer projects. “We welcome any group to come and give of their time and talents. I have had groups of all ages and skill sets from men’s groups that are skilled in carpentry to family groups who are able to weed, scrub, and paint. I always have a project to fit any group. Being a non-profit and budget-driven ministry and to be able to carry on God’s work, it is necessary for us to call out for help from our amazing and dedicated friends and supporters of Lutheridge,” says Jimmy Styles. “Without volunteer help, we would not be able to accomplish new projects, upgrades, and necessary maintenance to our facilities and grounds.”

Groups are lined up with projects through conversations prior to the group’s arrival. “Because we look and depend so much on volunteer groups, it is important for us to learn the dynamics and break down of the group,” says Suzanne Delap. Suzanne handles bookings for Lutheridge and Lutherock for guest groups. “When groups call in, I generally try to find out basic information such as if the group is made of mainly youth, families, etc. However, a lot of the final planning falls to Jimmy as he talks with the groups in the weeks leading up to their arrival.”
Suzanne went on to say, with a smile, “Now there are some groups where this discussion is not necessary. We know the group because they have been here so many times before.”

One such group is Antioch Lutheran Church. Jim Pasour and his men’s group have been coming for years. When asked what draws his group to Lutheridge, Jim replied, “Antioch men’s group is always on the lookout for areas where we can volunteer our time and talents for a worthy cause. For a number of years the Antioch and St. Paul’s congregations in Dallas, NC, have been meeting for a Lutheridge Sunday once a year where we worship in Whisnant Chapel and then share a picnic lunch at Lakeside Lodge after worship. As a result, our men have seen the needs at Lutheridge and responded.” When asked why they return and what is so satisfying about volunteering at Lutheridge, Jim replied, “We enjoy the time together, working on a project, using each member’s various skills, and completing projects at Lutheridge. It’s great to be able to play a small part in maintaining our church camp. We have also enjoyed the relationship with Lutheridge staff and workers. Jimmy Styles has been great to work with, providing whatever is needed to make our time at Lutheridge successful. The workers in the kitchen always provide great food.”

Jerry and Wanda Butt echoed this comment. “Our oldest granddaughter went to Lutherock for summer camp. Jerry and I had been looking for a place where we felt we could make a difference. When we contacted Lutheridge, they said they could use our help.” With a chuckle, Wanda went on to say, “That was seven summers ago.”
Jerry and Wanda come up and become a part of the staff during the summer. Wanda helps in the office while Jerry helps in maintenance. “We like to serve,” Wanda said when asked why they come. “We found this place where we can make a difference. It is an awesome place and we love the people.” And their granddaughter? “She is a counselor at Lutherock this summer,” Wanda said with a smile.

Lutheridge is so lucky to be blessed with these same feelings from many different volunteer groups such as Morning Star Lutheran in Matthews, NC; St Luke’s Lutheran in Conover, NC; and Christ the King in Cary, NC, just to name a few. This spring, a youth group from Christ Lutheran in Charlotte, NC, spent their spring break at Lutheridge. This group of about 25 youth and adults usually work with Habitat for Humanity, but came to Lutheridge to help. During their stay, they replaced the roof on four camper cabins, painted the room in lower Bischoff, scrubbed and cleaned tables and chairs, and straightened a falling shelter and then reinforced the braces, whew, these folks sure get things done!

Would you like to help? Please contact Suzanne Delap at or Jimmy Styles at to start planning your volunteer retreat. Or call at 828-684-2361. “We still have lots of projects that need to be done,” adds Jimmy. “A group will be with us in July to help clean up trees that have fallen throughout the year.”
For a list of upcoming projects, please visit the Volunteer Page of our website. To find out if your group might qualify for Thrivent Funds through the Care for Communities grants, please contact Rev. Mike Ward at or 828-684-2361.

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