CAP operates two summer camps, Camp Andrew Jackson (AJ) and Camp Shawnee. The camp mission is to provide an affordable summer camp to low-income families who otherwise would not be able to attend. At camp, children ages 6 to 15 receive three meals a day and learn values such as respect and responsibility — all while having the time of their lives!

Volunteers are a vital part of CAP, and it is an amazing triumph when a former participant pays it forward by returning as a volunteer to give back.

Camp AJ has created an exciting new concept, in which their staff members are mentoring their former teen campers. Last fall, Camp AJ began a teen leadership development program that targets former campers ages 15 to 17 who have the potential to become junior counselors and eventually summer camp volunteers (at age 18). The program started with leadership training in the fall, teaching skills such as communication, flexibility, patience, humility and responsibility. Currently, 16 participants have been invited back for one weekend each month to work on projects at camp, including but not limited to installing signs at different camp activity stations, trail upkeep, and signage. They have also taken on the task of building a portable stage that will be used for talent nights. The final event of the program will consist of camp staff assisting potential junior counselors in developing their résumés, and then they will interview candidates for junior counselor positions.

This summer, a representative from the Volunteer Department will meet with the junior counselors to explain the volunteer application process and encourage them to apply to become summer camp counselors when age permits.

Through the junior counselors program, Camp AJ is helping to achieve their Strategic Plan objective of encouraging former participants to volunteer with CAP.

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These siblings from Boston, Massachusetts, have dedicated their time to serving families in need in Appalachia. Suin started her journey with CAP by volunteering with WorkFest in 2013. WorkFest is an alternative spring break for college students held annually in

March. The event attracts more than 400 students from 40 different colleges and universities each year. At WorkFest, students serve in teams to repair distressed housing and build new homes for low-income families in eastern Kentucky.

Suin had such an amazing and positive experience that she encouraged her brother to follow her lead. Suin explains that, “My CAP experience has made me realize and appreciate what I have. I was talking to Yujin yesterday about how lucky we are to have nice things that we do not think about.”

At 19, Yujin is taking a year off between high school and college, and he has chosen to make a yearlong commitment to volunteer his time to CAP. When asked how his parents feel about this decision, Yujin replies, “My parents are very supportive and feel that I can grow while working for CAP and learning about society.”

WorkFest is designed with service-learning in mind. During WorkFest, evening programming exposes students to Appalachian music and culture, informs students of Appalachian history, and explores the root causes of poverty in Appalachia.

As a housing volunteer in the Sandy Valley region of Kentucky, Yujin states that he feels good about serving other people who are in need. “I have learned to appreciate my family and sister more. I have also learned about work ethics. It has been a good experience.” This year during WorkFest, Suin returned to volunteer on her brother’s project team. Yujin jokes that he had fun bossing his sister around.

This is an amazing story of how one sibling’s experience at WorkFest led to her brother’s journey of becoming a full-time volunteer. Full-time volunteers are critical to CAP’s mission. CAP will soon be acknowledging 50 years of service, and the volunteer program is a large part of and a great attribute to this success. CAP thanks the Lee family for their commitment to our core values of service, community and spirituality.

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March 26, 2014, was an eventful day at the Kentucky State Capitol, as Senator Alice Forgy Kerr acknowledged the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) for 50 years of service in Appalachia. Senator Kerr read CAP’s resolution and recognized the organization for our achievement of providing 50 years of support to Appalachian families.

As read in the resolution, CAP was founded in 1964, when the poverty rate in Appalachia was over 60 percent, and we continue today as the 16th largest human service charity. CAP was resolved as an interdenominational faith-based organization that began with the dream of Reverend Ralph W. Beiting, who envisioned an Appalachia not marred by persistent poverty, but enlivened by the Spirit and by the hope of a brighter future.

One of our largest programs, Operation Sharing, was noted as receiving approximately $100 million worth of Gifts-in-Kind annually from corporations and other organizations.

Those donations are then distributed to nonprofit organizations throughout Appalachia. As the AmeriCops VISTA program coordinator in eastern Kentucky, CAP was acknowledged for assisting regional nonprofit organizations with administrative, fundraising, and administrative efficiency skills. CAP was also acknowledged for having more than 600,000 donors, 1,500 annual volunteers, 60 to 75 long-term volunteers, and a group of dedicated employees.

The conclusion of the resolution reads: “Be it resolved by the Senate of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, The Christian Appalachian Project is recognized for their dedication to changing lives, teaching skills, and improving the communities of central Appalachia.”

 

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