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Julie’s Story

We knew our oldest grandson had been attending Youthfront Camp West for a couple of years, and we were glad to hear he was having a great time while learning about and practicing his Christian faith. But we were fairly removed from the experience until this spring, when we read about the opportunity for grandparents to get involved. We were thrilled by the invitation to visit camp and work alongside him!

Development Associate Ed Garlich helped me find a good volunteer fit and fill out a few forms. We decided I would take a half day off work to help Aiden and fellow campers prepare food for Something to Eat, “a crisis response, meal packaging program that binds together the privileged and the poor.” What a blast! (Literally, it was one of the hottest days of the summer.) But we hardly noticed, because we were having such fun scooping, sealing, packing and hauling boxes. We even took a short break for a little dance party!

These kinds of experiences are rare for grandmas and their pre-teen grandsons. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share values and experiences with Aiden and his peers. Now I’m planning to share the Something to Eat program with my own congregation.

It also was good to see the camp firsthand. It looks like a lot of fun – especially the new water playground. Now I’m jealous; I want to go to camp, too!

Julie Bartels Smith, Volunteer at Youthfront Camp West

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