Caroline Parrott: Hands & Feet Camp — it’s an awesome feeling

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 3, 2015

For the past two years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead and coordinate Hands & Feet Camp, a service camp for elementary-aged students, based out of my home church, St. John’s Lutheran here in Salisbury.

This service-based camp allows children from third to fifth grade to serve in a capacity as the hands and feet of Christ and teaches them the importance of service in our community.

Throughout the week-long camp, children served various organizations such as playing bingo with residents at Trinity Oaks, volunteering at the Community Care Clinic, working with Meals on Wheels, and even having a shoe-cutting party with Sole Hope, an organization that makes shoes for children in Uganda out of old jeans and tires.

Every day, I was inspired by the children’s energy and passion for helping others. Instead of staying home playing with their friends or playing video games, they chose to step out of their comfort zones and spend their “camp time” helping the city of Salisbury, while expecting nothing in return.

We all learned that service is easy and fun when you work together. The children left camp each day truly knowing what it meant to have a servant’s heart.

My favorite part of camp was eating lunch. I know that sounds silly, but it was a time where I could talk to the campers one-on-one and ask them about their day. They all had the most unique stories to share about the people they met, or the way they saw God in all that they did. My favorite comment was from a parent of one of the children who said this: “My son told me yesterday that he felt like he was now becoming a part of the church. It’s ironic that it took this Hands and Feet camp to make an impression like that. After all we’ve been taking him to church since he was 2.”

It’s an awesome feeling to know that I had a small part in helping the children build confidence in themselves and encourage their continuous work in our community. Our generation is considered the “self-centered” one, and it’s incredible to see children giving back at such a young age.

I have a passion for working with children, and it is because of this opportunity that I plan to pursue a career in pediatrics.

Hands & Feet camp allowed me to grow as a leader and learn how to think on my feet. I do not believe I would be the person I am today without this indescribable opportunity. I thank God every day for each of the children I’ve encountered at camp, and I can’t wait to see the camp grow and flourish in years to come.

Caroline Parrott, a junior Rotarian, spoke at the Rotary luncheon on Sept. 22.  This is the  essay she wrote describing the camp she coordinated for elementary students.


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