GraceWorks recap of 2022 summer

GraceWorks has completed another successful summer. We opened the ministry up to full capacity, with 95% of the campers being residents of Woodlawn. Many walked to and from the church each day. The staff consisted of seven High School students. Three were graduates from the GraceWorks ministry, and another two were residents of Woodlawn.  

The workshops were a big hit with campers and volunteers. All were impressed with the models they built after hours of following detailed instructions and remaining focused during the modeling workshop. The campers were amazed at the skills they learned during the Calligraphy and card-making workshop. The other two workshops involved a lot of energy, movement, laughter, and determination as everyone participated in the Team games and Ballet and Hip Hop dance.    

Our time learning to mow, weed eat, paint, build dog houses, garden, and sack groceries paid off with the campers learning how to work together to accomplish large goals such as beautifying a historic cemetery, painting outdoor murals, delivering shelter to 3 large dogs, harvesting vegetables, and providing support to the food pantry. Their favorite team task was completing the rainbow painting of the food forest rod iron fence. With the help of the St. Peter’s youth group from New Jersey, a very colorful fence now highlights the GraceWorks food forest.     

Our daily Spiritual time was filled with discussions and discoveries of the faithfulness of Biblical young people who faced problems and life issues similar to today’s youth struggles. The facts learned often became interesting points addressed during the weekly Eucharist services. This year six priests from the diocese led our spiritual times and Eucharists. 

Although our Friday trips were interrupted by the weather and COVID issues, we enjoyed the Cook Museum of Natural Science, a fishing trip to Lake Head, a waterfall, a cookout, and swimming at Oak Mountain, Camp McDowell, and our favorite trip to Point Mallard Splash Park. 

Unfortunately, the group’s exposure to COVID towards the end of the summer meant we could not have the annual celebration dinner. However, each child received their certificate, trophy, Calligraphy pens, models, personal photo books, and other GraceWorks items. The success of the 2022 summer program was summed up by campers stating they would be back next summer and the older campers making plans to apply for a position as a staff member next summer.

                                          –The Rev. Deacon Kay Williams