Are you frustrated about our youth dropping out of school, broken teenage families, drug use, and gang violence defining our city?
We are encouraged to be working towards a solution to these heartaches … an investment that is offering our inner city kids a new, Biblical model that they are affected by and listening to. We are prayerfully planting visions in their minds of believing that they can truly BE the next generation of indigenous leaders who return to North Memphis and demonstrate leadership, Godly living, and hope for the next generation.
This process involves a ton of time, love, investment and relational trust that is slowly built over many years. Oasis of Hope has been in the neighborhood now for 14 years. We’ve had the chance to work with kids from childhood to adulthood and are now listening to their ideas for change and leadership.
One of the things these new leaders, like Octavious Johnson, are saying is this: Send our youth to Bible Camp: Offer them this powerful opportunity & exposure!
Octavious was hesitant when Oasis went with him to camp for the first time in 2009. He even tried to back out at the last minute, but ended up experiencing the life-changing urban camp with a mission of “building urban leaders by encouraging, equipping and empowering urban youth and their mentors through camping and education.”
He had never gone to a camp of any kind, never zip-lined, and didn’t know how to swim. He loved tubing on the lake and sitting around the bon fire and making friends from other states! These were all new experiences that he conquered over the next four years as he returned and grew both spiritually and emotionally. He remembers during a scavenger hunt event he carried other kids through the obstacle course and was later selected as their leader! From this experience, it sparked leadership qualities in him which he has continued to grow and develop.
But Octavious’ most memorable camp moment was when he surrendered his life to Christ! His camp counselors shared the Gospel with him which sparked an “aha moment” in his life motivating him to return to Memphis and live differently.
Today, Octavious is a leader amongst his peers in North Memphis and just completed his first year at Lane University (YAY OCTAVIOUS!!!). He encouraged his family to rearrange their summer schedule to make sure his younger sister, Sharice would be able to attend camp this summer like he had as a teen.
And now Octavious wants to give back … and eventually be an Adult Counselor at camp himself.
But it costs each student $215 to attend.
We have 34 kids that we have built relationships with, have worked with through various Oasis programs, feel they will benefit from camp, and are willing to send our staff and volunteers to counsel them through the awesome emotional process of the overload of the amazing experience of camp, but we need financial sponsors to help us pay each youth’s camp cost.
North Memphis is an ‘under-resourced’ community in our city. This means that families and kids living here aren’t offered the same opportunities as other kids around town. There are zero expectations that they will be taking a trip to the ocean, or Yellowstone, or experiencing a month – or even a week – of fun at a camp of any kind.
Being gifted a chance to attend camp … BIBLE camp … in another city, and even more exciting in another state, is a VERY big deal to kids who have most likely barely even left their own neighborhood.
We are interested in transforming urban youth in our city to impact their communities for Christ. We are interested in developing leaders like Octavious … and Shirice!
If you believe in this mission too, we’d love your support and prayers. Campers leave June 7th and return June 13th.
Donate online or send us a check. THANK YOU for being part of this movement to transform!