Over the past year we’ve been working to build a program called GO! with the mission to move jr. high and high school students into action in their communities. Here I’ve shared some of our struggles, inspiration and more on the path leading up to GO! Camp - but now a few weeks past the first week ever of this thing and I haven’t even shared what happened yet.
Here is an attempt to capture it in words.
Over 101,000 meals were packed to be sent to hungry children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Special care packets were created to be passed out to west TN homeless. Benches were built to be placed at a local low-income housing project. Projects were put into motion to help our local community and are being implemented now in other communities. We heard from CNN Hero nominee and founder of the Global Soap Project - Derreck Kayango. We heard from an amazing social entrepreneur and inspirational person Sam Davidson (he gave everyone a copy of his book New Day Revolution). 19 year old abolitionist and author Zach Hunter wowed us with how normal he is and reminded us that we must all find our passions and we can all make an impact. (We all got copies of his book ‘Be The Change’) There were skype chats everyday with people working in places like Latin America and Denver, CO. We watched Walker: Texas Ranger and laughed our heads off. DJs Terrance and Randall provided a killer soundtrack to the entire week. Small group time, evening devotionals and more helped keep us focused on why we do what we do. We spoke with a guy who has done work with underground churches in China. We talked with a guy who worked on editing the Green Lantern and is working to impact culture through entertainment. There were classes with two girls who started a soup kitchen, a guy who created a community outreach in his town, a guy who washed feet at a dump in the Dominican Republic, photographers who are using their talents to tell important stories, a guy who started a free yard sale through his church in their community, a girl who survived cancer, a guy who is on a mission to make people healthier in every way possible and a girl who is helping give shoes to people who don’t have them. The week ended with over 200 people going to a Special Needs Athletics baseball game and cheering louder than they’ve ever cheered.
June 5-10, 2010 will forever go down as a magical week.
Great things happened the week of camp, but we will have failed if that’s all that happens. Don’t worry. It won’t be. On the final day of camp as we prepared to close everything down and send them home to their different communities - it hit me: things are going to be better because of these kids.
In the days and weeks since we’ve been overwhelmed with story after story of students who’ve returned home to start something in their town - of kids who were inspired to step out and make something happens - of entire groups changing their summer schedules to do more service - of college students changing their majors - of high school students changing their colleges - of parents who weren’t even there being impacted and wanting to change how they live and interact with their community. We knew God was up to something, but had no clue it would be anything this huge.
Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of this crazy endeavor and who helped in any way. You have no idea how much it means to me. I hope to one day properly thank you all.
I can’t wait to see what happens in the years to come with these students. Every day I’m hit with this really cool feeling: there are now these little agents of hope and love and goodness who have been inspired and empowered to make something happen and they are taking action. Look out, world.