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.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

YouTube & Sunday Vespers...

Sunday evening vespers have been a tradition at Lutheridge for years. For the first time last year, we taped the vesper service each week and uploaded the videos to YouTube. Now, the parents, grandparents, family, and friends could share in that experience. These videos were so widely watched and appreciated we decided to do it again this year!

Sundays in the summer are exciting times at Lutheridge. Around lunchtime, counselors come in from their night off to have lunch and prepare to meet a whole new group of campers. Areas and cabins are prepared to welcome campers that will spend a week in a Christian community building and sharing their faith.

Then the campers arrive. Some are so eager to get here and get that top bunk they arrive thirty minutes to an hour before registration opens. The afternoon is spent moving campers into their cabins, meeting the counselor and other campers that will be their family for the week, and waving good bye to parents and grandparents. And the fun begins!

While the family heads back home, campers and their counselors are playing games, going over rules and expectations, and meeting many other campers from different places in the southeast. Then it is off to dinner.

Sunday evening ends with a camp-wide vespers service. For about an hour, all campers, adult leaders, and adult participants sit under Lakeside Lodge singing songs, meeting each other, and hearing a story from Pastor Mary.

So, as you drive home from dropping your camper off, imagine the fun he is having. Then on Monday or Tuesday, visit our website for the link to the YouTube videos. You can enjoy and experience a taste of camp. Or learn the songs to sing with your camper when he is home to help in continuing to build his faith. For a link to our Podcast and Videos page to view the videos, just click here . Enjoy, sing out loud, and relive the camp week with your special camper! Or take a minute and relive your camp experience from childhood!

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to register for Bunk1 to view the online photo gallery of pictures taken during the week. We look forward to seeing you on the mountain this summer!

Log on to our website to book your summer experience today. We would love to have you join us for our Sunday vespers service.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Scholarships and Camp: Makes A Difference...

In the past we have featured articles on our Faith Formation Stimulus Package (our outreach to families affected by the economic times) and camp scholarships.
These programs have been very successful and we have helped many kids who otherwise would not have gone to camp. We have received many heartfelt letters and thought we would share this one with you. We can all make a difference in the life of a young person.

"Dear Mr. Johnson,
Amy won't be able to come to camp this summer. She will be spending the summer with her father in Arkansas. Here is a small check ($100.00) for you to add to your scholarship fund. Last summer at camp changed Amy's life and my own in profound ways that I never thought possible. I will be forever grateful. I hope this small token of gratitude will make a difference for someone else. God bless you."

You need to know a little more about Amy and her mom, lets call her Martha, so you can appreciate the full significance of this gift and the miracle that God worked in their lives. Martha's pastor (lets call him Pastor Joel) used to serve on the LLMI Board of Trustees. Last spring, he went to Martha and encouraged her to send Amy to camp. Martha said no. She had been divorced twice, was unemployed, and claimed she could not afford it. Pastor Joel did not know it at the time, but Martha was also dealing with a bad drug habit. Amy had dropped out of youth group at church and was starting to have trouble at school. Fortunately, Pastor Joel persisted. Together with his congregation and LLMI, Amy received a full scholarship to attend camp at Lutherock. That week literally changed Amy's life. She was physically challenged and the Holy Spirit touched her life in a profound way. Amy also re-connected with some old church friends while at camp. Amy was not the same person when she returned home. Thanks to Pastor Joel's help and encouragement, she once again attended youth group and arranged for a ride to Sunday worship. Martha noticed the difference and, last fall, was motivated to seek Pastor Joel's help to enroll in a drug treatment program. Amy and her mom still have a long journey ahead of them. It will not be easy for them, but they are no longer walking alone. The Christ who surrounded Amy with love and support at Lutherock, is walking alongside Amy and Martha. They now have hope for a better future.

In making a gift, Martha is not only saying thank you, but she is also recognizing the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of campers and guests at Lutheridge+Lutherock. In the Camp Season 2009 several campers will receive financial assistance to share in the Christ-centered camp communities this summer. Already, over $75,000 has been committed to the Faith Formation Stimulus Package. However, we expect to need to at least double this amount in order to meet all the anticipated requests for help this summer. If you know of a young boy or girl who could benefit from summer camp, please contact them and invite them to attend. Their situation does not need to be as dramatic as Amy's. What a joy it is to share together in a ministry that God uses to touch lives like Amy and Martha!