Camp, Bible Funds enrich experience for kids in Methodist Family Health programs

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

For children and youth in the care of Methodist Family Health (MFH) residential programs, summer camp has not always been a given. Many have never before experienced a campfire or s’mores, paddling a canoe across a lake or singing silly camp songs.

But they get to do all that and more at the annual Reverend Robert Regnier Memorial Summer Camp, held each June at United Methodist Camp Tanako near Hot Springs.

Now in its 15th year, the camp is not only a treat, but also a major therapeutic benefit for the children and youth who live in the eight MFH group homes around the state and require emotional and behavioral therapy and treatment. Camp is a place of spiritual growth and memories for the campers, and for many a highlight of their summer.

The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas (UMFA) recently awarded a $15,000 grant to MFH to help fund the Rev. Robert Regnier Memorial Camp.

“We are excited about helping youth from Methodist Family Health experience the joys of camp,” said UMFA president and CEO Jim Argue Jr. “Many youth with behavioral problems don’t get that opportunity.”

Summer camp gives youth the chance to make wonderful memories, have fun and continue learning through the Teaching-Family Model, which is used in all MFH programs. The Teaching-Family Model uses positive reinforcement, and this continues at camp. There are multiple opportunities for awards throughout the week, and medals and trophies are given as tangible evidence of their accomplishments. MFH Teaching Parents say these awards, along with their camp T-shirt, become some of the kids’ most cherished possessions and are proudly displayed when they return home.

“This is an opportunity for our kids to experience fun camp activities like their peers,” said Carolyn McCone, executive director of the Methodist Family Health Foundation. “Time spent in an outdoor ministry setting like Camp Tanako provides unique experiences that are valuable for the youth in our care.”

Even with the large gift from UMFA, opportunities remain for churches, groups and individuals to help make the Reverend Robert Regnier Memorial Summer Camp possible. MFH sponsors and staffs the annual camp, and major funding comes from contributions to the MFH Camp Fund.

In similar fashion, every child in the care of a Methodist Family Health residential program is given an age-appropriate Bible or Bible Storybook. Contributions to the MFH Bible Fund make those gifts possible.

“United Methodists around the state can make a big difference in the spiritual lives of these youth by donating to the Camp Fund and Bible Fund,” says Maggie Beeler, director of development for MFH. “It truly means a lot to these kids to get to go to camp and to have a Bible of their own.”

To give to the MFH Camp Fund or Bible Fund, make checks payable to Methodist Family Health and send to Methodist Family Health Foundation, P.O. Box 56050, Little Rock, AR 72215. Please indicate “Bible Fund” or “Camp Fund” in the memo line. To learn more, contact Maggie Beeler at mbeeler@methodistfamily.org or 501-906-4220.