Little helping hands: St. John’s hosts servant camp
What does a servant look like?
Nine children in third through fifth grades found out just that during the Hands and Feet Servant Camp held recently at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
The camp was the brainchild of Danielle Kosanovich, minister for youth and outreach, and Georgia Kirchin, a member of the high school league and a senior at East Rowan High School.
“This is my graduation project,” Kirchin explained. Her topic is Lutheran missionary work, and the project developed from her theme.
Together, Kosanovich and Kirchin brainstormed what the camp would look like.
“We wanted younger kids to explore mission work they could do in the community,” Kirchin said. “It’s exciting to be able to see younger kids do this work in our community.
“They don’t know about agencies and they don’t know about the needs. When you see poverty, it makes you grateful for what you do have.”
Kosanovich said the age group is “often overlooked in outreach.”
“We wanted to create an outreach project with fellowship and fun, too,” she said. “It’s very similar to our middle school mission trip to Knoxville.
“The great thing is that we are training these kids for mission trips in middle school and high school.”
The week included a variety of service activities.
The group made visits to the Community Care Clinic to sort donated over-the-counter medicine and delivered Meals on Wheels.
They bagged rice and bread, picked up trash, cleaned walls and swept floors at Rowan Helping Ministries.
The group stopped by St. John’s Child Development Center to read stories and play with children.
Local fire and police departments received a delivery of water and doughnuts from the children.
“Since we were first up, the kids were so eager,” said Krista Woolly, director of the Community Care Clinic. “The work I had them do, they sped through it and they did it with joy and laughter and understanding.
“They did get to see that our patients appreciated their work.”
Other members of the high school league helped Kirchin and Kosanovich, including Marian Hough, Connor Kyles and youth adviser John Norris.
“Georgia texted me and said, ‘Hey, Connor, come help with the day camp,” said Connor, a sophomore at East.
The two had recently been on the high school mission trip to New York City.
“I’ve always been really good with kids,” Connor said. “It’s been good to see kids step out of their comfort zones. It’s been a wild ride.
“It’s been fun to learn with the kids and get to know them.”
During the camp, Kyles made his first visit to Rowan Helping Ministries
“I didn’t know how real it was until I walked into it,” he said of the needs right in his own community.
Five members of St. John’s attended the camp including Anna Everhart, Grace Shafer, Grant Shafer, Ellen Yang, Lillie Rusher. Four friends of members also attended including Ashlee Ennis, Allison Ennis, Emma Sparger and A.J. Flynn.
“I heard my friends were coming,” Ellen said. “My brothers went to New York and I wanted to do something to help the community also.”
Grant said that making cookies for residents of Trinity Oaks was his favorite activity. His sister, Grace, said that she liked helping people.
“I learned about Rowan Helping Ministries,” she said. “I thought it was a doctor’s office.”
Stacey Shafer, Grace and Grant’s mom, said that her children didn’t stop talking about camp from the moment they got in the car every day until the moment they went to bed each night.
“They got to go out and see that they could help in the community and make a difference,” Shafer said. “It just opened their eyes to how some people live.”
“I liked going to the Child Development Center and playing with the kids outside,” Anna said.
Carol Everhart, Anna’s mother, said the experience has been phenomenal.
“Anna has had a ball, she’s come home and talked about mission work and what they’ve done and how fun it was,” she said. “It was a good experience to see all these missions and actually feel like they’re helping.”
Everhart said getting the high school students involved was a great idea.
“They’re such good role models and having them involved makes the kids think it’s a cool thing to do,” she said.
Allison and Ashlee are friends with Ellen from school and softball.
“I learned there was a Community Care Clinic and that Meals on Wheels actually delivered food,” Allison said. “I learned a lot this week. Georgia made it fun. She explained everything really good.”
Kosanovich said Kirchin got to “try on” ministry during the camp.
“She is thinking of ministry as a career, so she got to try it out,” she said. “She is a natural leader, she took this so seriously.”
The camp’s theme, Kirchin said, was established around the Good Samaritan.
The children considered the question, “What will happen to others if I don’t help?”
“Our main theme,” she said, “is that we are all servants of God and the children have learned to be servants.”
Susan Shinn is communications assistant for St. John’s Lutheran Church.