Adults In Ministry (AIM)

The Adults In Ministry program seeks to bring adults (18 and over) from all over the country together to the Cumberland Plateau in Grundy County, Tennessee to meet the great needs of the people here. The Appalachian region is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. It is also one of the most poverty stricken. Deeply rooted in traditional values and heritage, the people of this area take pride in the fact that they can band together and survive with little when many cannot. That is why when you come to Mountain T.O.P., you work WITH a family or a child, not FOR them.

The AIM program helps to plant seeds of lasting change in the hearts and minds of Grundy County residents. Since its formation in 1989, the AIM program has been growing and changing, continually seeking ways to plant those seeds. Major Home Repair provides visual change to living conditions while Summer Plus, Kaleidoscope, and Quest seek to communicate skills and knowledge to the children and youth of the area that they can carry with them into the future. All of these programs allow you, along with your team of fellow campers, to actively minister and bring hope to people who need it. Each program has its own specific appeal: the only thing that changes will be your tools. Some folks will swing hammers, some will bend pipe cleaners. Some people will bang on drums while others lend a caring ear to a crying child. Look below to discover which program is right for you!

Major Home Repair:

From the beginning, Mountain T.O.P. set out to meet the physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs of the people in Grundy County, Tennessee: building porches, clearing brush, painting houses and actively interacting with the people of this area. Throughout the years, there were more and more requests for home repairs that were beyond the scope of a traditional Youth Summer Ministry project. With so many needs being expressed, it was obvious Mountain T.O.P. had to do something to help these people. So was born the AIM Major Home Repair program. This program allows MTOP to take on and complete vital structural repairs and renovations of local homes that would not be possible otherwise. These projects are ones that affect the structural integrity, energy efficiency, dryness, and handicap accessibility of a home. They require a significant level of ingenuity and problem solving skills that can only be possessed by a team with a certain level of “life experience”.

This does not mean that you need a shelf devoted to Bob Vila books in your house to be a contributing member of an AIM Ministry Production Team. In fact, you don’t have to have any construction knowledge at all. Each MPT has a Point Person. This person is not necessarily in charge of the project. They are placed in this position because of many attributes they possess including construction and previous AIM experience along with proven leadership skills. Their main responsibility is to be the liaison between the Mountain T.O.P. staff, the family you are working with, and the rest of the MPT to keep the project moving forward through unexpected challenges.

Starting with the Point Person, each MPT is grown, one person at a time, out of the AIM community at-large to give it the best balance of life skills to set that team up for success. This Spirit-driven system allows the members of the MPT to work together to learn new skills and grow personally while partnering with an individual or family to improve that homeowner’s current living conditions. If working as a driven team of Christians to significantly and visually change someone’s life in a positive way sounds appealing, try the Major Home Repair Program and see if you aren’t changed too.

Kaleidoscope:

Like all of Mountain T.O.P.'s programs, Kaleidoscope (KAL) started as a response to a need in Grundy County, TN. Unfortunately like most schools, the arts are not supported as well as they should be in the schools. Grundy County is fortunate to share an art and a music teacher among its 6 primary schools. For children with special needs on the mountain, an experience in the visual and performing arts is made available through Kaleidoscope camp. Adults come to lead and assist in work shops and act as caregivers to the children. Through workshops such as music and movement, dance, painting, sculpture, and 3-D art, these special kids have their horizons broadened, and are given the chance to nurture an interest in the arts while in the company of caring adults from all over the country.

The beneficial effects of art for children are numerous and far outweigh the cost of the programs themselves. It has been said that “school communities which infuse their curricula and orientations to teaching and learning around the arts have experienced broad-reaching outcomes.” Children who are classified economically disadvantaged (over 2/3rds of all Grundy county students) are particularly sensitive to these effects, which are not limited to but include: increases in reading comprehension skills, achievement motivation, school attendance, and a decrease in discipline referrals.1

1. From the book Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Social and Academic Development by James S. Catterall

We are always in need of professional artists to lead KAL workshops and caregivers to assist the children in their experience. A love of children is all that is needed to be a part of KAL!

Summer Plus:

75% of the students at Grundy County High School are considered economically disadvantaged. Many find themselves forced into adult responsibilities, such as caring for younger siblings or working to contribute to the household income. During a volatile time in a young persons life, Mountain T.O.P.'s Summer Plus ministry strives to provide a place where 12-17 year olds can be a part of an adventure that just might change the course of their life.

At Summer Plus, teenagers from Grundy County have the opportunity to explore new interests in a fun, Christian environment. Caring adults from a variety of life experiences come and lead or act as caregivers in workshops with such diverse topics as Creative Cooking, Karate and Self-Defense, Softball and Drama. More than teaching new skills, the adults bring encouragement and love to the teenagers giving new life perspectives and helping kindle a strong desire to succeed.

AIM participants lead 5 day workshops for a class of teenagers. The subject of the workshops can be anything that might not be experienced at home or in school. AIM participants are also needed as caregivers: people who covenant to be mentors and companions for the teens as they spend the week exploring new interests.

Quest:

Are you passionate about guiding and mentoring teenagers? Are you a professional counselor looking to serve God through using your gifts and skills? Have you ever wondered if spending a week with a teenager really makes a difference in their life? Quest might be just the place for you.

Quest kicked off during the Summer of 2010 as an adventure style camp for teenagers who live in Grundy County. Our goal is to provide an experience where youth are able to explore character building through challenging events such as rock climbing and ropes course elements. Mountain T.O.P. partners with the Grundy County High School guidance counselor to recruit youth who would most benefit from this program.

Though Mountain T.O.P. staff sets the program for Quest, AIM participants actually facilitate the week. They act as mentors, guides, and caregivers for the youth by encouraging each other in word and deed. Each day's activities is centered around a specific character trait. Specifics of the week and a schedule are provided to AIM participants closer to the week. There are also opportunities for you to share your faith story in group and individual settings. Quest culminates on Friday with a special time to celebrate with friends and family.

Participation in all of the adventure challenges is not a requirement to be involved with Quest and experience is never a prerequisite for AIM. However, a love of Jesus and a calling to share this love in a unique environment is a must!

Bringing it All Together:

Summer Plus, Kaleidoscope and Quest are only offered during the 3 camp weeks in the summer, while Major Home Repair is offered during all weeks in the summer and 5 weekends in the fall. Because Summer Plus, Kaleidoscope and Quest take place at the same time as Major Home Repair, summer volunteers have a choice of ministry emphasis. One volunteer may choose Home Repair, while another may choose Summer Plus, Kaleidoscope or Quest (depending on which one is offered that camp week).

In the summer, campers spend a week in service, beginning on Sunday at noon and ending the following Saturday morning. In the fall, campers arrive Thursday evening and leave Sunday morning, allowing for 2 days of Major Home Repair work.

In both the summer and fall, programming activities include daybreak, group morning devotional, sharing and worship.

2014 Dates:

Summer:

AIM Week 1: June 15th - 21st, MHR & Kaleidoscope

AIM Week 2: June 29th - July 5th, MHR & Summer Plus

AIM Week 3: July 13th - 19th, MHR & Quest

AIM Weekend: July 24th - 27th, MHR

2014 Fall Weekends:

AIM Weekend 1: October 2nd - 5th

AIM Weekend 2: October 9th - 12th

AIM Weekend 3: October 16th - 19th

AIM Weekend 4: October 23rd - 26th

AIM Weekend 5: October 30th - Nov 2nd

Cost:

$375 AIM Weeks 1, 2, and 3

$200 AIM Weekend

$200 per individual for AIM Fall Weekends