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A New Day for Camp New Day

Volunteers are needed for Camp New Day — You Can Make a Difference in a Child’s Life!

By Irene Wise

On a hot day in July 2017, I found myself sitting on a concrete floor, in the midst of a noisy, happy, excited group of children and teenagers. The girl I was sitting with, however, was quiet, sad and angry. It seemed to me that we were a small, morose island in the midst of a wild, joyful sea. Maybe she was feeling that way, too.

We were spending a week as part of “Camp New Day,” a camp sponsored by the United Methodist Church in Michigan. The camp has been in operation in the ‘mitten’ of Michigan since 1999, the result of an incredible leap of faith. As detailed in The Story of Camp New Day:

“Armed only with a vision and the approval of the Prison Committee, Jim Taylor was approached in early March to see if his campground was available. Jim asked “Do you have any money?” No. “Do you have a dean?” “Do you have a camp staff?” “Do you know how many campers you will have?” No. “Do you know it usually takes at least a year to put together a quality camp?” No – but I think God wants this kind of camp to happen this year.” (1)

In serving children and youth coping with the incarceration of a parent, the mission of Camp New Day is:

“To provide a fun-filled Christian summer camping experience for children ages 9-14 who have a parent who is incarcerated. To create and maintain an atmosphere of acceptance, love, and hope. To foster self-respect and respect for others. To promote positive life skills, such as team-building. To promote an appreciation of outdoor activities and nature.”

 WE are the means of fulfilling that mission. WE are called to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus here in our communities. What can WE do? The answer, for me, is that I can be the nurse at camp, providing first aid, other necessary care, and sometimes sitting on a hard floor in the middle of a hot, noisy, dining hall — caring by being present.

The operation of Camp New Day was disrupted by camp closures in 2019, COVID-19 in 2020, and staff shortages in 2021. Still, the struggle continues relentlessly for the children we serve.

A 1999 study estimated that one parent of at least 50,000 Michigan children was incarcerated during that year. (2)

Children of prisoners have many needs. Camp New Day is not designed to meet every need. What we can do is offer a safe place, a fun place, a place where Jesus is known, and love is shown.

Camp New Day is back for 2022 and we need volunteers like you!

How will you answer this call to serve?

Aug. 7-12, 2022 at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center (Dowling, Michigan)

  • Counselors, 2-3 for each cabin of 7 children
  • Director: coordinate the camp
  • Psychological and Behavioral Support Counselor, available to campers and staff during the week
  • Chaplain, organize and lead worship
  • Staff Support Leader, emotional and logistical support for staff
  • Camper Support Leader, emotional support for campers
  • Transportation, for campers, to and from camp
  • Registration Helpers, for the first day of camp, including clerical and nurses
  • Support Staff, supporting the logistics of fire-building, kp-ing, and anything else that needs doing

Learn more on our website, campnewdaymi.org, or contact our coordinator, John Skinner, with any questions or to volunteer.

In addition, and most importantly, we need your fervent prayers for Camp New Day, the children, and the staff to help this effort come to fruition next summer.

Volunteer Brochure 2022

Camper Brochure & Registration

  1. “The Story of Camp New Day” Mission Matters, Newsletter of the West Michigan Conference Board of Global Ministries, Winter 1999-2000

  2. https://www.purdue.edu/hhs/hdfs/fii/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/s_mifis05c01.pdf

    “What About Me? Children of Incarcerated Parents”