Challyn stops in front of the elderly man and politely asks, "Can I take your bags out?" With one summer under her belt at Publix, Challyn has flourished in Camp Ability of Special Kids' job skills program at the Murfreesboro grocery store.
Challyn is joined by four other friends who have passed through Camp Ability's life skills program and stepped up into the job readiness curriculum. The campers have learned basic skills through volunteering at Green House Ministries and Amelia's Closet and have gone on to participate in experiential learning with Publix and Jim 'N Nick's BBQ.
"This year the campers really just jumped in more boldly with confidence," said long-time camp counselor, Regina Haydon. "They talk with customers, and now they know which items to bag together."
Learning so Much!
In 2015, our older campers have learned how to interact with money, do laundry, perform basic cleaning skills, and practice simple cooking through making trail mix and snacks. At Greenhouse Ministries, campers participated in office work, and at Amelia's closet, helped to organize the clothing donations and label shoe sizes. The campers became pros at rolling silverware, preparing tea, and filling up the BBQ sauce jars at Jim 'N Nick's. When the job skills group headed to Publix, they greeted customers, bagged groceries, helped customers to their cars, and organized the groceries in the store.
"We were most surprised by the customers reaction and how much they appreciate our willingness to do something in the community," said Mike MCCoy, store manager at Publix on S. Rutherford Blvd in Murfreesboro. "The customers really look forward to them, and on their first day back (of the summer), they remembered them from before."
Camp Ability is praying through how to grow the life and job skills programs with the vision of helping our campers transition into living more independent lives. We are so thankful for how far our campers have come this summer in learning new skills and in their own self-confidence. The camp theme for the summer has been 'Dreaming Big' with the verse from Luke 1:37, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." Will you join us in dreaming big for our campers' future and in asking God to expand the job skills program to help prepare them for the great plans He has in store?