A Grand Opportunity: Maintaining Camp St. Christopher
As you can imagine, a 300+ acre beachfront property like St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center needs to be well cared for. As you can also imagine, in the middle of a COVID world where the Barrier Island Environmental Educational program, summer camp, and other year-round event income abruptly stops, you are forced to make tough decisions. St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center has had to furlough or lay off close to 80% of their staff, including most of the maintenance crew, but the maintenance work is never ending. This situation is what several St. Philippians drove into a couple of weeks ago!
Todd Brown was nicknamed “Mr. Clean” in a recent eSPIRE, but we saw a different side of Todd on Thursday. He is now “Zero Turn,” named after the fancy lawnmower he conquered. And then there was Sam Robinson, who set the tempo for the entire workday. It was all Todd and I could do to keep up with him. Sam singlehandedly cleared the roads and near road beds of debris that blows down daily when the sea breeze or a storm settles on the property. Sam was able to get all of it to the drop area using an available pick-up truck.
We were blessed by good weather and a good workout, and we found great solace and had plenty to do. We cut, rode mowers, picked up, sprayed, transported, pushed mowers, and ran weed eaters. There was plenty of room to socially distance and work individually while enjoying God’s beautiful creation. It certainly leaves you alone with your thoughts so you can think of the many children, perhaps even some of your own children, who attended Barrier Island or summer camps in years past. You also might begin to recall your own spiritual journey where you spent time with friends attending events like Cursillo or men’s and women’s retreats or even larger functions.
Finally, and most importantly, what a spiritual place! Just a walk around the grounds or slipping away to the beach to see the beautiful North Edisto River and the back side of Deveaux Bank and Botany Island will make you feel like you are miles away from our now normal. It will remind you that in the middle of this COVID world, our Lord’s beautiful creation still exists, and you can feel His presence from the shore.
I believe St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center’s needs will continue until a COVID vaccination is available and their income stream can return, so we anticipate the need for additional help throughout the fall and winter and perhaps well into the spring. There is such a range of tasks that there is literally something for anyone––and it is still the growing season. It is an easy project to coordinate for a day, and I am happy to be the tip of the spear for the next visit.
We are planning a St. Philip's vestry-led workday at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center on Saturday, October 10, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Please click the link below by Wednesday, October 7, to let us know 1) if you and/or any family members can make it on October 10 and, 2) if you can bring gloves, a chainsaw, clippers, push mower, or weed eater and feel comfortable running the equipment. They have only a few pieces of power equipment available to us, so our bringing personal equipment will help it be a very productive day!