What in the world is Camp CUMCITO?
CUMCITO stands for City Union Mission’s Camp In The Ozarks – City Union Mission (a rescue mission located in downtown KC – which has a men’s shelter, family shelter, transitional housing program, etc.) brings at-risk, low income kids from the urban core of KC to the “Ozarks” (the camp is located very close to Truman Lake) where they can have a summer camp experience and learn about Jesus. Camp takes place for 6 weeks each summer and reaches upwards of 600 kids from the each year and has been going on since the late 1930’s.
Camp CUMCITO actually consists of two separate camps across the road from one another – “Big Camp” takes place for 6 weeks/summer – 2 weeks for the Junior age group (7-9), 2 weeks for the Pre-teen age group (10-12), a week of Teen boy (13-16) and a week of Teen girl (13-16) – each week of big camp can take up to 94 campers. “Tot Lot” is the smaller camp across the road and hosts 4 weeks of camp for kids ages 4-6 and each week can have up to 40 campers…Tot Lot and Big Camp run simultaneously during the Junior & Pre-teen camp weeks.
Camp CUMCITO’s motto is “opportunity for a changed life”. Campers learn about God’s love & truth while building relationships with adults/teens who are believers throughout the week. City Union Mission makes this summer camp experience accessible to at-risk youth that would typically not have the opportunity, due to cost – however, the entire week at camp for an income-qualified camper costs their family only a $5 registration fee.
Camp CUMCITO, staffed solely by volunteers, has all of the typical fun summer camp experiences – at Big Camp, campers stay in cabins of 8 kids each with 2 counselors and daily they participate in chapel, crafts, swimming at the pool, lake (with canoeing, lake trampoline, fishing & battle barge), lots of rec activities (archery, geo-caching, rock climbing wall, gymnasium, s’mores, etc.). A carnival caps off the end of the week, which includes fun things such as a bounce house, dunk tank, face painting and games. Tot Lot, a smaller version of Big Camp, has age-appropriate activities for the younger crowd – bible time (complete with the fun camp songs that we sing ALL the time), small pool, craft hall, lots of playground equipment, pony rides, merry-go-round, tea-parties, a Tot Lot sized carnival, etc.
Impact can be exponential as these kids/campers are local and from our own city. Impact/relationships can continue well beyond a week of camp with follow-up opportunities. Camp CUMCITO is a no cost mission trip ministering to people in our own city with whom you can remain connected to!
What a week of volunteering looks like? Well, depends on the role is chosen. Camp is literally the body of Christ in action. Every person doing their part to make the week happen, each part just as important as another. Positions available are anything from cooks, assistant cooks, counselors, craft assistants, chapel assistants, rec leaders/lifeguards, pony-handlers, journalists, big siblings (counselors, but that is what they are called at Tot Lot), nurses, janitors, canteen (snack bar) and supervisors (directors/managers/assistant directors). The commitment is one Saturday (June 15th, this year) for training and then Sunday (around 2pm) of the camp week signed up for until about Noon on the Saturday that particular camp week ends. Campers do not come down to camp until Monday at lunchtime, so from Sunday at 2pm until mid-morning Monday is job-specific onsite training.
Because of the amazing opportunity for local outreach and how God uses camp in the lives of campers & staff alike, Journey became involved. The first summer, 2012 Journey brought down 4 people. Bob & Donna Newell being among the first. In 2013 Journey had about 10 more people serve at camp. 2014 we were closer to 20 and it has exponentially grown from that point on. Last year Journey filled roughly 45 staff spots, which that number does not include the pre-teens/older kids who also come down to help and/or the kiddos that tag along with their parents and are campers that week. Journey has many folks that come to camp, not just because they are serving with Journey, but because they love camp and see the value/vision in what they are doing. Journey is now represented in almost every week camp runs, regardless of it being a “Journey week”, and we are also able to fill multiple much-needed supervisor positions that require past-camp experience (directors/assistant directors/managers/ head cooks/ planning committees during the year/ training folks). This year Journey even has older youth/young adults (now graduated) considering camp internships for the full summer, meaning they would work for the mission before and after camp season and every week of camp.
Camp CUMCITO is a great opportunity to build relationships with other Journey folks, however because of the sheer number of staffing needs, people from different churches all around the city volunteer every week. Honestly, that is one of the best parts of camp – working with other believers from around the city for a unified purpose for a week – it is like meeting family you never met before! Brothers and sisters in Christ.
This year Journey will be trying to fill spots at a few different weeks at Camp CUMCITO…
Pre-teen 1 (10-12 yr.olds))/ Tot Lot 1 (4-6) – June 23rd – June 29th
Junior 1 (7-9 yr. olds)/Tot Lot 2 (4-6) – June 30th – July 6th
Junior 2 (7-9 yr. olds)/Tot Lot 4 (4-6) – July 21st – July 27th
Contact email@example.com if you would like more information on getting involved in this outreach opportunity.