Heart and soul: Conference staffers drive Salkehatchie spirit

By Jessica Connor

When the hundreds of volunteers gather this year for the 34th annual Salkehatchie Summer Service Camp, they will do so largely because of the diligent work of two staffers who have a passion for the ministry.

Tammy Fulmer and Gail Corn, S.C. Conference Connectional Ministries staff members, feel their work to equip Salkehatchie is light years more than just a job. They truly love what they do and love the spirit of Salkehatchie, driving them to do everything it takes to make the summer service camp all it can be “ for the volunteers and for the people they are helping.

The duo serves as ground command for the United Methodist ministry, which brings together youth and adult volunteers from all over the state to repair the homes of needy families. Fulmer and Corn process applications, ensure proper background screenings have been done for adult volunteers, arrange meetings, coordinate with camp directors, produce and mail brochures, keep the million-dollar camp budget in check and much more.

They do so much; they re the ones who cross the T s and dot the I s and make sure the applications are processed and all the funds are paid, said the Rev. John Culp, who founded Salkehatchie for the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1978 after ministering to Lowcountry people living in devastating poverty.

Culp calls them the heart and soul of Salkehatchie: The camp directors depend on Tammy and Gail. They spend a lot of time and are just great, dedicated servants who make sacrifices for our program. We couldn t do it without Tammy and Gail.

Fulmer and Corn acknowledge the massive workload is difficult. They work hard all day, then bring work home at night. Corn also serves as a Salkehatchie worker; this summer will be her third year working a camp. Corn said witnessing the love and the transformation, both in the volunteers and those being helped, inspired her to serve, too.

I wanted a piece of that, she said. The people at these camps sweat with you, sleep next to you, and even though they ve done it year after year, you see the transformation every year. The love shown is incredible.

Fulmer is not able to work a camp herself, but she is grateful to be able to serve those in need behind the scenes. What strikes her is how Salkehatchie is able to transform even the most superficial.

It s very humbling, Fulmer said. I ve seen youth and even my own son change spiritually from this. They have no idea how good they have it until they go.

Fulmer also appreciates the gratitude of the camp directors, who always say thank you, and the chance to watch the ministry grow from 14 camps when she started to the present-day 55 camps on the 2012 schedule.

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