How do you become a volunteer?
You will be asked to complete Camp Care Volunteer Training which consists of “Grief 101”, “Children’s Grief” and Orientation to the Camp Care Camp Site. You will also need to sign Southeastern Hospice Volunteer application, a release for a Criminal Records check, and a statement regarding Confidentiality, including the responsibility to report abuse. A booklet of materials for review and preparation for the Volunteer Training Event will be made available to you.
To become a volunteer, contact our Volunteer Leader Sheryl Taylor at 735-8915.
Volunteers Wonderful Stories
Maria Brown - Volunteer Story
Camp Care volunteers come in all sizes and packages but none with a heart as full of compassion as Maria Brown. Maria joined the Camp Care volunteer family in 2013. “I was hooked after my first Camp Care experience,” said Maria. While Maria was a blessing to all the female camp participants during her first year, it was a 15 year old teenager who recently lost her mother which really tugged on her heart. “It was a God thing,” Maria explained. “God really put us together. I was able to just love on her and help her to move forward through the grieving process.” Maria was also grieving the loss of one of her co-workers at the time of her first Camp Care Bereavement Weekend Experience. Assisting the campers and participating in the different activities of the camp helped Maria to move forward through her grieving process.
While all the Camp Care activities are designed to help campers better understand their grief, they are also enjoyable and fun centered. One of Maria’s favorite activities is the story of “Tear Soup.” Maria’s heart swells with compassion and her eyes with tears as she remembers the children of last year’s Camp Care adding their ingredients to the “Tear Soup” pot.” “It’s a time of letting go but also a time of remembering all the wonderful memories,” said Maria.
When asked, Who is the ideal volunteer? it is “one with love in their heart and wants to help others.” It is not about coming with a set of skills,” explains Maria, “but a willingness to allow God’s love to flow through you. No one regrets the time that they donate to Camp Care. You give and you receive,” says Maria. “You love on the kids and the kids love on you. It really is a Camp Care – a wonderful safe environment where we all are reminded that that someone cares.”
Jon Everson - Volunteer Story
Jon Everson believes in giving his hands and his heart to help others. “There is a tug on my heart whenever I see people in pain and in need of help,” explains Jon. “It’s like their pain is a magnet that draws me to them. I feel their pain.” Jon remembers how his heart swelled with compassion the first time he heard Rev. Dean Carter do a presentation about the children that attend Camp Care Bereavement Weekend Experience. “The idea of being a volunteer for Camp Care tugged on my heart,” said Jon. “All they need is for someone to be available to allow the love of God to flow through them to those children.” Jon joined the Camp Care volunteer family in 2005 and is still making himself available for the love of God to flow through him.
Jon describes compassion as a magnet that inspires him to do a weekly Bible study at the Lumberton Correctional Facility and to be a part of the Stephen Ministries at his church. “Compassion is my niche,” says Jon, “so volunteering will always be a part of my life.” Jon still remembers his first weekend at Camp Care and the 12 year old boy that refused to cry because he was taught that males do not cry. “He wanted to cry but was fighting back the tears because that would make him look weak,” said Jon, “but I told him that God wants us to express our joy and our sadness, and that it was okay for males to cry. We both cried as we embraced each other,” said Jon.
“It’s that tug on my heart that keeps me coming back each year. Those boys need to know the right way to grieve and that they are loved. Camp Care provides the opportunity for us to bring a little bit of heaven to the kids.”
Audrey Cox has been a volunteer with Camp Care Bereavement Weekend for Children since discovering how special it is back in 1998. She has only missed two camps that she can remember: once when she graduated nursing school and when she got married. Even then she missed being with the children and her “family” of volunteers. In 2009, Audrey was presented the John Drake Distinguished Service Award, the highest SRMC employee honor given. In that presentation, Cox was pictured volunteering at many things, but named Camp Care as one of her chief outlets for showing compassion to her community.
Her reason for going to Camp Care? Audrey heard other friends, like long time volunteers Freda Pitman and Debbie Ayers, speak of what the weekend of service had meant to them. “Now, I see that the impact on my life is spiritual, like going to church; like being part of a family. When we all get back to camp each year, we meet another wonderful set of children. But, the volunteers have a reunion as well. We give hugs and know that we are there to share another great experience together.” Many of our volunteers have been multiple years of service, which makes the camp better and better. Audrey believes that you go there to get blessed by the feeling of making a connection. You are making a difference by having fun and making possible an outlet for grief expression. She also takes pride that she plans a little special fun for just her cabin of “Balloon Chaser” girls. Almost every year, she has been a counselor for the 8-10 year old group.
Cox believes that she has helped recruit approximately 10 adult volunteers who have had this experience. She states, “There’s a common thread here among volunteers. It’s hard to define, but I believe what we get from it is a spiritual cleansing and renewal. More and more, I hear our folks saying about volunteering at Camp Care, “I’m a lifer!” I’m coming back!” Audrey says, “I wouldn’t miss it. I’m a lifer.”