North American Division Women's Ministries Single Mom's Camp
Single moms and their children enjoy a camp-retreat at the Indiana Conference youth camp each year. A joint ministry of the Youth and Women’s Ministries (WM) departments, the camp is fun for the children who enjoy the attention they get from the youth staff as well as the camp activities, and a stress-free vacation for their mothers, who have their own activities while their children are cared for.
The moms receive information in home economies as well as tools to improve their relationships with their Savior, their children, and with others.
The families receive gifts from the staff. In 2007, in addition to baskets of toiletries and food from WM, several churches bought cookware (pots/pans) sets for each mom. The WM Committee provided large buckets full of kitchen utensils, potholders, dishcloths, dish soap, bakeware and salad spinners. The children received gift bags containing age-appropriate items.
In addition, one day of camp is devoted to pampering the moms. It starts with lunch at a restaurant followed by free haircuts from a local beauty shop and then “spa time” at camp with manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials provided by the camp staff.
Lives have been changed as a result of this camp. One woman admitted that the previous year she had been drinking alcohol the entire time. The next year, however, she proudly displayed to a WM volunteer her medallion for being sober for nine months. Within two years her parenting skills improved, and she gave up drugs and prostitution. Her grandmother had been an Adventist, and even though the grandmother is deceased, her prayers are still being answered!
Other women have gone back to school and improved their job skills as well as their family finances. When they receive instruction, hope, encouragement, and self-worth, the women blossom.
Julie Loucks, a WM volunteer at the camp, related, “One county mental health center has sent women for two years. After the first year, one of the counselors called me regarding sending women to the next camp. He said that his client came back changed; then he declared, ‘You people are miracle workers—you are angels.’ His client had shared with me during the retreat—through tears—that she thought God had forgotten her. She felt His presence and wanted to return to church. She is not one of our church members, but praise the Lord, she wants to reconnect with Him!”
As the mothers’ needs are met, they become better mothers and healthier mothers, which transforms their children as well. Since the camp is a “safe” place, they learn to trust the Church as well as God. In such an environment, spiritual, and emotional growth can take place.
Source: Julie Loucks, NAD WM "Intuitions"