During the month of July, members of White Plains Friends Meeting (WPFM), a congregational member of Friends Church of North Carolina, provided a week of Youth Camp/Vacation Bible School in Alabama and in Jamaica.
In Alabama, the event was held at the Friends Center, the former Quaker Reservation for the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. Annie Gullion, Zola Gullion and Emma Lambert helped to provide Bible lessons and games with local youth living near the Reservation.
In Jamaica, the Friends Church of N.C. continued its support of the 27-year tradition of conducting Vacation Bible School. Over the many years, the program has evolved to include all of the Orthodox Quaker churches in Jamaica.
Most of the supplies for the project are now purchased in Jamaica instead of shipping them from the US. Several Jamaicans have become certified Bible School teachers and most of the lessons are taught by the Jamaicans. This year the VBS program added a weekly “Quaker Life Camp” which was held at Swift-Purscell Boys Home in Highgate.
Brent McKinney, a member of White Plains Friends Meeting, managed the VBS/Youth Camp Program. Joe and Ann Park, Debbie Badgett and Brenda McKinney, members of White Plains Friends Meeting, taught the lessons and provided healthcare for the final week. Members of other Friends Meetings assisted during the other weeks. More than 250 campers attended one of the camping weeks.
Campers began each day with exercise at 6:15 a.m., followed by early morning Praise and Worship. VBS was held each day between breakfast and lunchtime. A class on a Quaker principle or a special topic was taught in the afternoons followed by games. The campers loved to play the relatively new game of Nine Square. After dinner and evening vespers, campers were treated to movies, games, group singing and campfires.
By all evaluations, Quaker Life Youth Camp was a tremendous success and achieved its goals of (1) making new friends, (2) growing spiritually and (3) just having a good time.