Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | JUNE/JULY 2018 31 Mission-minded kids are tomorrow's hope BY DONNA FRISCHKNECHT JACKSON C hildren and teens swarmed around First United Presbyterian's churchyard, their laughter and chatter almost as loud as the buzzing of the summer mosquitoes that swarmed along with them. Poles were scattered on the grass, as were piles of shapeless pieces of neon orange nylon, black tarp and Army green canvas. "Does this belong to your tent or mine?" one girl asked. "I don't know," shrugged a boy who didn't even look up to see which pole she was holding. "I guess it doesn't matter," she muttered as she went ahead pitching a tent that would clearly be lopsided due to the wrong pole holding up one end of the canvas. The kids of Salem, New York, a rural village on the Vermont border, were excited about the church campout. Not because it meant a night filled with hot dogs and hide-in- the-dark games. They were excited because they were camping out to raise awareness — and money — to buy a ShelterBox. The Salem Rotary had told the children about how Rotary International provides shelter to families displaced by political con- flicts and natural disasters. They learned that for $1,000, one box — containing items such as a family- sized tent, cooking utensils, blankets and solar-powered lights — would provide the basic comforts for a family who had lost their home. One child thought it would be "cool" to buy a box. Another thought it would be even cooler to camp out on the church lawn to raise money for a box. And so, a campout was planned. The kids didn't just pitch their tents, though. They also helped repre- sentatives from ShelterBox, who came to the campout and set up an actual tent that a family would be living in. future advocates future advocates

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