In early January, a 62-member volunteer group, organized by Maranatha Volunteers International, gathered to complete maintenance projects at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, Florida. The Seventh-day Adventist summer camp and retreat center is one of the largest Adventist summer camps in the world, hosting roughly 50,000 visitors each year. This was the sixth service trip Maranatha volunteers have made to Camp Kulaqua over the years, and it addressed many projects camp staff couldn’t squeeze into their schedules. “It would have taken [camp staff] months to accomplish what they did in about a week,” remarked Camp Kulaqua’s Coordinator for Volunteer Services Ben Rivera.
Volunteers tackled each item on their to-do list with a positive attitude and impressive work ethic. They completed typical construction and maintenance projects–like installing roofs, mending and painting fences, walling off a new sign shop, reorganizing the camp’s nature center, and raking leaves. Some volunteers also experienced the unique task of building a hawk enclosure for Camp Kulaqua’s zoo. “It was awesome!” said Rivera. “In such a short time, they accomplished so much!”
The team was blessed with 14 volunteers under the age of 16, who played hard and worked hard too. “The kids did a lot of raking. Some of them worked right along with their father or mother,” recalled Project Leader Betty Beattie-Chrispell. The youngsters’ energy also helped contribute to a positive group dynamic. “Everybody worked so well together,” remarked Beattie-Chrispell. “I truly believe that, each project I go on, the Lord knows which person to send us. He always sends us exactly who we need, and because of that, everything just meshes so well.”
Each year Maranatha works with organizations in the United States and Canada to provide volunteer labor for various construction or renovation projects at summer camps and retreat centers, schools, and churches. Work ranges from renovations of existing buildings to new construction, and saves thousands of dollars in labor costs.