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What Even is a Fellows Program Anyway?

I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true. I don’t always enjoy explaining what I do. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with Wesley Fellows at Floris United Methodist Church. The main reason I don’t like explaining what I do is the same reason I’m so excited to serve in this capacity: fellows programs fill a major gap in the church-at-large’s ministry. People assume churches don’t have ministries geared toward young women and men soon after they finish college. They assume this not because they’re ignorant, but because it’s ... Read More »

Letting Go of My Plan

As one of the two Serve Ministries interns this year, I have learned a lot in a very short period of time. We are almost done with Camp Hutchison Discovery and I have learned more about flexibility, teamwork, and patience than ever before. Though they may have been a challenge, these past few weeks have been such a joy in my life. In the midst of the chaos of 100 kids and around 30 volunteers, learning and growth are apparent everywhere. I have had the opportunity to witness children that didn’t know their last ... Read More »

The Students at Camp Hutchison

The thing that I learned first about Hutchison students is that they’re a lot more than just children. They have some almost inexplicable form of hope; a drive to be more than their circumstances. We saw this characteristic every day at Camp Hutchison. In class, you can see their eyes widen in awe while watching a rocket launching. They shout the countdown in unison, never quite matching it perfectly to the rocket launch, but trying every time nonetheless. During arts and crafts activities, they become involved in every aspect of ... Read More »

Encourage Reading

Reading skills are critical to success in school—and in life, but not everyone has access to books at home. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), children who are read to at home enjoy a substantial advantage over children who are not. For the past six years, Hutchison Elementary School employee and Floris United Methodist Church member Marci Hoyt has passionately organized a Hutchison book drive to ensure students receive at least two free books to take home for the summer. Marci, who goes through every single book each year ... Read More »

The Story of Camp Hutchison

Pastor Tom Berlin sat down to lunch with Hutchison Elementary School Principal Judy Baldwin one day early in 2011. Just down the street in Herndon, the school educates children from diverse backgrounds, many from homes with both parents working several jobs. Tom asked her, “What keeps you up at night?” Her response was “the summer.” She worried that many of her students didn’t have access to proper nutrition, adequate adult supervision or a way to maintain their learning over the summer months. By the end of their meeting, the idea ... Read More »

Just One of the Family by Cathy Caviness

I’ve been attending Floris United Methodist Church since November, 2013. While I felt welcome, I kept feeling like I didn’t quite fit in. It is hard to make new friends just sitting in the worship services, or even attending the short-term Lenten study. When I heard about the opportunities to serve at “Camp Hutchison” this summer, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.  They were looking for someone to teach music one day a week (Tuesdays) for the month of July. I am an elementary music teacher!  So I went online ... Read More »

Halfway Through Camp Hutchison

So, let’s take four weeks of the summer, about a hundred kids, a comparable number of volunteers and see what we get! Overall, what we get is not “Camp Hutchison”; rather, what we get is “utter chaos.” This time, though, Floris UMC has really got it right. We’re halfway through the Camp Hutchison program, and we’ve had no serious issues or problems. Minds are growing, hearts are changing, and a community is moving toward God. I’ve volunteered with Camp Hutchison for the past four years. Even so, when I came ... Read More »

Returning to Camp Hutchison

When I returned to the Serve Ministry Camp Hutchison Internship this summer, I did not expect many surprises. I spent almost four months last summer with an incredible group of people helping to run an enriching and inspiring program for rising first through third graders at Hutchison Elementary School in Herndon, VA. I was confident that with my fellow interns and the wonderful volunteers we would be able to put on a great camp once again. I did not foresee any surprises, but then his application came in. A teenager ... Read More »

Twenty-Six Names

I graduated from Virginia Tech on May 18, and moved to Jacksonville, Florida three weeks later to start my contract with Teach for America, a program that enlists professionals to teach for at least two years in low-income communities throughout the U.S. in an effort to eliminate educational inequity. I have never been to Florida and do not know anyone who lives there. I have never had a full time job and have never taught independently. I was anxious, but collaborating with people who were as passionate about education as ... Read More »

Philadelphia Mission Trip Day Two

Today we started the day off by doing a devotional about relationships and interactions with other people. As usual our group slept in the van on the way to our first site, so we had no idea how long we were driving and where we were going. We put our lives into the hands of our fearless leader Steve; he always takes charge and gets the job done. When we got out of the van we were each handed a dollar and tasked with feeding ourselves and also feed some ... Read More »

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