Outreach Report

by Elizabeth Queally

I would like to tell you about seeing our outreach dollars at work on Nantucket. Recently a group of volunteers from the Chapel provided a cookout for The Tulgey Wood. For those of you that aren't familiar with Tulgey Wood this is from their Mission Statement.

The Tulgey Wood encourages and supports friendships, adventures and artistic expressions between people with severe disabilities and the friends who adore them.

What an amazing time we all experienced! Let's start with the food-we provided hamburgers, chicken and veggie burgers. Usually the campers do not have meat due to a very tight budget. As you might imagine everyone was very excited with the burgers and chicken. Water is the standard beverage offered and for the cookout we had all types of sodas and lemonade. Coke was a HUGE hit! Many volunteers cooked, shopped, donated, served and cleaned up. Over 20 people arrived to help the night of the cookout. I was truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the Chapel community.

Now the best part-the campers! Some were able to walk, some were in wheelchairs. Some could talk and others could not. Most could see but one could not. But ALL were amazing and ALL were enjoying every minute of their camp experience.

Camp includes field trips-just that day the campers had been to the whaling museum. It includes swimming, surfing, pottery, yoga, theatre, singing, sharing and much more. For two weeks the campers are able to be a part of a TRUE CAMP EXPERIENCE. Every camper has a counselor or "mate" who is with them 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The mates are remarkable in their own way. All are volunteers and many have taken personal vacation to attend camp.

After dinner we all shared a time of storytelling. There were many touching moments. One camper that struck me was Bobby. Bobby is 66 years old and he has been attending camp since he was 6. Bobby has Down's Syndrome and he is unable to communicate in a language that we understand. However, it was clear that Bobby was enjoying camp by the exuberance with which he spoke. He smiled and gestured and had the audience spellbound though we couldn't understand a word. At the end he gestured with both arms raised, fists pumped - as if he had just won a HUGE victory. The whole audience cheered wildly and there was no doubt that we all had been forever changed.

Matthew 5: 14-16

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your FATHER in heaven.

In honor of my new friend Bobby and in grateful appreciation of your generous support of Outreach.

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