Seniors Go on Mission Trip to Camp Serving Children with Disabilities
While most high school students were filling their summer with jobs, sports, vacations and social activities, the senior class at Summit Christian Academy in Lee’s Summit was reserving a week in July for something different. Together with faculty and staff, these students were preparing to travel to Camp Blessing for a mission trip.
Camp Blessing is a Christian summer camp located in Brenham, Texas, that serves children with physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities. The weeklong camp is designed to be barrier-free and offers traditional summer camp activities including horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, swimming and ropes courses, all adapted to the needs of the campers.
A senior mission trip is part of the curriculum at SCA. Students began preparing for this trip as juniors. The class was asked to give input about the type of mission they wanted and where they would like to serve. It was decided they wanted to work directly with children to hopefully make a lasting positive impact in their lives. Camp Blessing paired each student with a camper for the week allowing for the more personal experience they were looking for.
“I’m not sure our seniors have ever felt so needed. They were serving their camper 24/7,” Mike Evans, Summit Christian Academy faculty member, says. “It was amazing to witness their compassion, their perseverance and their love.”
It was a unique opportunity for students to see their peers outside of the typical school or social environment.
“I loved being on the senior mission trip,” senior Payton Sprouse says. “It was so amazing to be able to see my fellow peers from a different perspective than I ever had before.”
The students served as a constant companion to their camper. This gave them better insight into a life that is much different than their own.
“The senior mission trip opened up my eyes to a new realization that everyone is different. Our world looks at people with disabilities as weird or abnormal, but if we put ourselves in their shoes, we might realize they see us as the abnormal ones,” senior Luke Moehle says. “God created everyone to be unique in their own special way! My camper showed me that his disability wasn’t a disability at all.”
The students and staff would agree this trip was life-changing.
“There is no way you can go and serve at Camp Blessing and not be changed in some way! I saw change in every student’s life, and I am looking forward to how they will continue to show that change for Christ this coming year,” Joe Hesman, SCA secondary principal and director of operations, says.
While these students will work towards completing the coursework needed to graduate in the spring, many of the lessons learned at Camp Blessing could not have been taught in the classroom.
“I learned from my camper and Camp Blessing that every person with disabilities still have awesome personalities and are fun to be around,” senior Preston Kliewer says. “I went in thinking I was going to help my camper, but I ended up learning from him.”