I want to thank all the volunteers counselors for making this summer possible - without you this ministry could not survive. You are and always will be the critical link in the success of our ministry.
I also want to thank more than 90 Youth Leaders, who provided so much leadership and dedication. So many of our young campers look up to you and use you as role models. I hear over and over again from the young campers that they want to be like you some day. They see your commitment to Christ and to the ministry at Mechuwana and it becomes their goal to serve Mechuwana just like you are now. That is how it has worked for more than 60 years, the new generations have felt the calling to be part of the leadership for the next generation of campers.
What an incredible summer for our Missions Program! Under the leadership of Ned Crockett and Craig Kempton, more than 300 people came from all over the country to Winthrop, Maine. Many projects were completed: putting a new roof on a family's home, building a ramp into a house, beginning the construction of a fellowship hall at a UMC church and much more. One very special project was the complete renovation of a home for two very special little girls and a dad. Work was done from roof to basement including new bathrooms, kitchen and dinning room and two bed rooms. It is hard to put into words just what these missions campers have done for us. From the bottom of our hearts and for all those lives you helped, we say "thank you."
And finally I say thank you to the permanent staff. I have had 18 staffs and more than 300 different staff members work for me since becoming director. It is one of the biggest joys of my job to watch staff members become like families. This staff did just that - they were hard working, dedicated, fun and committed to the ministry of Mechuwana. They always put others' needs before their own. It was an honor to have you as a staff, one of the best I ever worked with.
And so we move on to fall and new exciting things. More than 4,000 people will come to Mechuwana this fall winter and spring. Youth rallies, another long tradition that we can actually trace back for more than a hundred years begin in September.
The first of October will bring the first phase in Asbury renovations the old stage has been torn out and and very soon a new stage with new lights and back drops will be put in. This work will be done by another missions team called the 29ers from Michigan.
Many physical changes have happened at Mechuwana over the years but as one person told me this summer who had not been at Mechuwana for almost 40 years, "it is like I never left, the spirit is constant, the feelings are the same, this truly is holy ground."