Salkehatchie: A summer of service

Salkehatchie closes successful season repairing homes for people in need

By Jessica Brodie

They sweated, they downed gallons of water in the sweltering summer heat and they worked their muscles sore. And now, weeks after the final Salkehatchie Summer Service Camp of 2015, more than 3,000 teens and adults are breathing a collective sigh of relief for a job well done.

Beginning June 6 through the week of July 25, volunteers participated in 47 service camps in every district in the state, repairing homes and otherwise connecting with families in need. While final totals are being compiled now on the exact number of homes, sites and families assisted, it is safe to say that thousands were impacted: not just the homeowners but also the volunteers, who often said they were blessed even more strongly by the eye-opening experience and the opportunity to help.

As Susan Hagins of the Lancaster Salkehatchie Camp said, “Work was worship!”

Amy Pope, of Wateree Salkehatchie, agreed: “What is truly amazing is the transformation that occurs with God in the hearts and minds of the teenagers and adults.”

This year, campers had to face triple-digit temperatures as early as June, which was unusual. But despite the heat, there was only one minor heat incident were a volunteer had to rest and cool off, said Gail Corn, conference support staffer for Salkehatchie.

This was also the first year for the new eSalkehatchie, an online registration system that enables volunteers to register, submit forms, select a camp and pay entirely online. Corn said that while some of the volunteers had a bit of a struggle with the new system, the camp directors loved how it streamlined the paperwork required for the massive undertaking.

“All in all it was great…and next year, everyone else will love it, too, because all they’ll need to do is make sure none of their personal information has changed, select their camp and pay, and they’ll be done,” Corn said.

This is the 37th year Salkehatchie Summer Service has brought youth and adults together to spend a week throughout the summer repairing homes at various sites. Salkehatchie started in 1978 by the Rev. John Culp, who founded the camps after he ministered to Lowcountry people living in devastating poverty.

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