By dividing the community into YRGs, youth are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones in a safe, Christian community where exploration of Christ is encouraged. Our main focus in creating this space came about when we found that many organizations offer a place to come and work, but very few offer the connection of why we do what we do. Through personal reflection time guided by a devotional in the morning, a devotional on the work sites during lunch, a time to gather and share the day’s events and evening worship, we seek to encourage a day that is continuously refocusing on God. Who are you in Christ? What does He have planned for your journey with Him? What do you hear Him saying to you while on this mountain? What do you hear Him calling you to do when you leave this mountain?
Likewise, we create a space for the youth to plan and participate in worship services within their Major Groups. Each YRG is given a part in worship and each individual contributes to the worship in some way. Since our focus lies primarily in empowering youth to lead and acquire new skills, we offer the opportunity to contribute to worship in ways they may not have experienced previously.
Service Project (SP)While at camp, youth can choose to work in our Service Project program or our Day Camp program. Service Project runs every week of the summer, and consists of Minor Home Repair projects such as building porches, wheelchair ramps, sheds, painting houses, doing yardwork, or fulfilling any other expressed need. On the worksites, youth are encouraged to engage in problem solving and work as a members of a team moving together to accomplish a hands-on task. Youth are also encouraged to interact with families from lower socio-economic backgrouds, often opening their eyes to issues of poverty within our nation for the first time. Likewise, the experience is transformative because youth are putting their theological convictions and beliefs into practice. Here, the words and meditations of Jesus, “I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me....,” are brought to life. Similarly, in a time where experiential learning is more prevalent than before, youth desire an experience where they are able to “do” something about their passion and love for Jesus through serving His people. As Joey Butler in the article “(Not) talkin‘ ‘bout my G-G-Generation” writes, “The more opportunities Millennials have to get their hands dirty, the better. Churches need to look into their communities and see what needs are there - perhaps a pancake breakfast for the homeless, a Habitat build or a community cleanup.” Mountain T.O.P. provides an atmosphere where youth experience what it looks like to reach out to impoverished communities, thus empowering them to reach out to their own upon returning home.
Day Camp (DC)What happens if your mission trip does not involve swinging a hammer? What if it involves giving away warm fuzzies, piggyback rides, and making art out of pipe cleaners? What if it means opening a child's eyes to a new world of possibilities? What if it means showing a child unconditional love, how to pray, who Jesus is?
Is this still missions? Yes! And this is just a small picture what Mountain T.O.P.'s Day Camp is like for the children of Grundy County. This county's story is usually told with grim statistics. 70% of all high school students are considered economically disadvantaged and only 7% go on to higher education. 25% of the county lives in what we would consider extreme poverty. Unemployment is typically 40% higher than the current national rate.
Day Camp is a place to spread hope. It is an environment where children come to be loved and challenged in a safe and positive community. Youth and adults spend a week with children, 6-11 years old, participating in activities that take them on a journey throughout the county, learning about such things as the environment, community service, and local entrepreneurship.
Let Day Camp open up new areas in mission work for your group. Here are a few basic guidelines to get you started:
- Vehicle requirement is one 12 passenger (or larger) van for every 7 participants
- You group can do both Service Project and Day Camp during the weeks that both ministries are offered
- You must have the appropriate number of adults to participate with your youth in Day Camp
- Drivers will have a van route and pick up children with their Youth Renewal Groups (YRGs)
- Daily schedules vary between activities such as going to a state park, visiting local businesses, doing crafts at a church, or participating in a service project. Days are planned and managed by Mountain T.O.P. staff. You are asked to be a full participant in the daily activities.
- Snapshot of a day: leave camp at 9am and pick up children; meet at a set location with other YRGs from your Major Group (MG); have Opening Circle with your MG leader and move to a center with your YRG; have lunch together; spend the afternoon at a state park with a park ranger; go on a hike; load kids into the van and take them home; return to camp by 4:30pm.
YSM Week 1: June 2nd - 8th
YSM Week 2: June 9th - 15th
YSM Week 3: June 16th - 22nd, Service Project & Day Camp
YSM Week 4: June 23rd - 29th
YSM Week 5: June 30th - July 6th, Service Project & Day Camp
YSM Week 6: July 7th - 13th
YSM Week 7: July 14th - 20th, Service Project & Day Camp
YSM Week 8: July 21st - 27th
Cost:Weeks 1 and 5 cost $350/person
Week 7 at Martin Methodist College costs $395/person
All other weeks cost $375/person