OMP Family Camp provides mission opportunity beyond summer format

By Bailey Faulkner Special Contributor On the weekend of March 14, 100 people from Heber Springs United Methodist Church traveled to the Fordyce area to participate in Ozark Mission Project’s first-ever Family Camp. It provided an opportunity for people of all ages to serve their neighbors by providing hands-on mission work. Youth work on a construction project for a neighbor during last summer’s Ozark Mission Project camp in El Dorado. In the spirit of Christ, Ozark Mission Project sends church youth groups to camp sites around Arkansas. Using the camps as a home base for the week, they serve their neighbors in surrounding communities by completing minor construction and yard work. It offers its participants a diverse cultural experience that equips them to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. However, participants in regular OMP summer experiences must have completed the sixth grade. With Family Camp, we removed that barrier so younger campers could attend, because even if they are too young for the work sites they still can participate in age-appropriate activities and share in prayer and fellowship with their families and other campers. Over the weekend, OMP campers completed 16 projects in the Fordyce area. Community leaders Todd Roark, a member of First Baptist Church of Fordyce and Larry Whitley, a member of First United Methodist Church Fordyce, did advance work alongside Ozark Mission Project to find projects for the group to complete. Some campers built a wheelchair ramp for a couple that had just been injured by a terrible car crash. Another group did yard work for an elderly couple. It was a day filled with service, prayer and fellowship. I enjoyed seeing families work side by side to help other families in need. After completing the projects, volunteers, neighbors and families celebrated with a community wide block party in the parking lot of First UMC Fordyce. None of this would have been possible without the vision from Heber Springs United Methodist Church. We are thankful for the leadership from them, as well as from board member Hank Godwin, a member of Lakewood UMC North Little Rock. Faulkner is the executive director of Ozark Mission Project. She can be reached at 501-396-9244 or director@ozarkmissionproject.org. Adult workers needed for summer camps OMP is looking for adults to help with the 12 camps they have scheduled across the state this summer. Camp dates are June 8-12, 8-14 and 22-28; and July 13-17 and 13-19. Open volunteer positions include: •worship leaders •tool coordinators •construction coordinators •adult chaperones •directors in training OMP also needs volunteers year-round for additional roles, such as board members, steering committee members, office assistance, the annual college mission trip, family camps and pop-up projects. To learn more about OMP or schedule a speaker to teach your small group about the organization and its work, contact Bailey Faulkner at 501-396-9244 or director@ozarkmissionproject.org.