For the fourth year, STORM (Service To Others in Relational Ministry) will be returning. The camp is based in Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Marshall. The kids don't spend much time there though. After breakfast and a devotion, the kids are out the door to do service projects for those in need around Yellow Medicine County. Chris Webb, the Director of Youth Ministries and Activities at the Church, runs the camp as the Site Manager. He got the idea for the camp because his kids in the ministry had been going to a similar camp in Faribault.
STORM started about 25 years ago in Wadena, and had branched out to Faribault. The kids in Webb's group wanted to do a similar camp in Marshall. Webb contacted Pastor David Brown, who was looking to branch out and add a second site, so the cards lined up well. The camp is mostly run by church volunteers. Each morning, the kids are divided into teams of 5-6 with an adult driver, and head out on job assignments.
The projects are varied. In the past kids have broken up concrete steps with sledgehammers, built wooden steps, poured concrete, put metal roofing on a garage, landscaping projects like weeding or putting in mulch and rocks, removed trees and bushes, cleaning out basements, and lots of painting and scraping projects. The adult volunteers commonly have some kind of background skills that come in handy. Many farmers in the congregation also come in, set up the technical work, and guide the kids. They love seeing the kids working with their hands and serving the community. The camp is a great opportunity for the kids to pick up skills and experience.
The part that probably makes the biggest impression on the kids is getting to know the people they are serving. Often, the people are at home while the students are working, so they will offer snacks and get to know the students over lunch. This gives both parties a chance to share their stories and build connections that wouldn't otherwise happen. The camp is open for kids 8-12th grade, and they are always looking for more adult volunteers. Those interested in having the kids do a project should contact Chris Webb at 507-532-4010 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org