By Jessica Brodie
WEST COLUMBIA—Salkehatchie leaders and camp directors from across the state gathered at Mount Hebron United Methodist Church July 24 for “Salkehatchie Reboot,” a one-day organizing session designed to mobilize fresh energy and roll out new plans.
COVID-19 prompted the cancellation of the summer service camp the past two years, and they plan to spend the next year getting as many people as possible excited about the opportunity to help repair homes in some of South Carolina’s most poverty-stricken communities.
Kathy Hart, board chair, spoke about the tremendous opportunity Salkehatchie gives not only to the people whose homes are worked on, but also the students and adults who volunteer,
The Rev. Millie Nelson Smith, director of Connectional Ministries, also spoke about the phenomenal opportunity Salkehatchie brings to help churches understand the importance of the United Methodist connection. Volunteers, many of whom are teenagers, are encouraged to head outside their communities to experience firsthand what it’s like to help others in need.
“Jesus gives us the opportunity to reboot,” Nelson Smith said, and Salkehatchie does, too, bringing hope to people and an opportunity to touch somebody’s life.
In an effort to reach more people about Salkehatchie this year, leaders have launched a presence on social media, with an Instagram (@salkehatchieumcsc), Facebook (@salkehatchieumcsc) and Twitter (@salkehatchie1) presence. They will share photos, information, announcements, deadlines and more.
With help from Rolland Fitch, the conference scouting ministries coordinator, they are engaging with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help every unit know about Salkehatchie and its service opportunities.
Hart said they are also working hard to educate youth directors and pastors about Salkehatchie so they can let youth groups and other church members know about the ministry.
The Rev. John Culp, Salkehatchie founder, closed out the meeting with prayer, remembering those volunteers who died recently.
“Life is fragile,” Culp reminded all. “Life is precious.”
Salkehatchie Summer Service started in 1978 and is a servant ministry throughout South Carolina where youth and adults come together to serve the community. It has grown to more than 40 service camps and more than 2,000 volunteers. Roughly 200 homes are helped each summer, and 6,000 families have received assistance since Salkehatchie began. Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older, complete a background check and pay a registration fee.
Summer 2022 camps, fees and other information is expected to be released early this fall.
Learn more at Salkehatchie.org.