For 85 years, the Evansville Rescue Mission’s Camp Reveal has built upon the faith, commitment, and love for youth of its founder, Ernest “Pappy” Reveal. Staples of the summer camp, from horseback riding to zip lining, have long captured the hearts of Evansville’s children. For just as long, the Rescue Mission has relied on hardworking volunteers who, in turn, are fortunate enough to witness and be part of something bigger than themselves.
This summer, in addition to the usual activities, Camp Reveal offers a brand new experience for its campers and volunteers — one that Chris-Michael Morrison, the Rescue Mission’s chief development officer, and Mike Day, a sales representative and Rescue Mission volunteer, hope will bear fruit long after the three weeks of summer camp are gone: planting gardens.
The project targets children in families with financial limitations with the goal of teaching them where and how food is grown, as well as practical gardening and math skills. Ultimately, however, “it’s promoting community stewardship,” Morrison says.
Over three weeks in July, three separate groups of children will attend Camp Reveal’s annual free summer camp for impoverished children in the Tri-State area. Morrison and Day hope for 150 total (50 per group: ages 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13). During the week, the children will work together in the camp’s “community garden,” learning lessons and enjoying their week of adventure. The Camp Reveal staff will select the 50 most enthusiastic young gardeners (16 from each group, plus two more) to receive a free garden kit — a 7-by-7 frame designed and provided by Plastic-I-Like, plus a wide variety of vegetable seeds and necessities provided by a local garden-supply company.
Like all other Camp Reveal programs, the community garden initiative will rely heavily upon volunteers. Morrison hopes individuals and families will be quick to “adopt” children, a process which involves mentoring them as they tend their gardens and providing an avenue of accountability. “A lot of these kids, after camp, may lack goals or accountability,” Day says. “But if somebody’s coming by to check on them, they feel important.”
It’s all part of their plan to keep kids involved beyond a weeklong camp experience. “We want the planted seed from that one week of camp to be transferred to their homes, schools, and beyond,” Morrison says.
Do you have a green thumb and want to volunteer or make a monetary donation?
Visit www.2rescue.org or call 812-421-3800.