Although many things have changed in those 70 years, with our expanding programs and facilities, it is still a place grounded in volunteerism and sense of community. A place where all people, young and old can worship God and be themselves, a place where lifelong friendships are formed. For 70 years we have survived and thrived because individuals have returned to give back, ensuring that a new generations is able to experience Mechuwana as they did.
Through all these years it has been the local Maine United Methodist churches who have stood by us, sent us campers and volunteers, and supported us financially to complete hundreds of projects.
As we celebrate our 70th anniversary, we are once again turning to our churches. One of the traditions that we have maintained for all these years is that we will turn no child away for financial reasons. This is a promise that we have kept to those who established this ministry and one we shall never break.
Over the past decade the amount of financial assistance we have given out has continued to increase as families, churches, schools, state agencies, and other organizations who support youth and camping have struggled with their own budget problems. At the same time, the funding for Mechuwana from Missions Shares from the Annual Conference has decreased, for Mechuwana it close to $40,000. We understand that this is a financial reality and a result in so many local churches struggling financially. In response to this, Mechuwana has cut staff positions, increased our year-round program, and modestly increased prices. We feel we are at a point where we must try a new approach to help with the scholarships we continue to give out.
With this in mind we are asking all the United Methodist churches in Maine to prayerfully consider becoming a “Sustaining Congregation for Mechuwana.” We are asking churches to consider two levels of giving depending on their financial ability: $150 or $300 a year. This money will go directly toward scholarships for campers. Each “Sustaining Congregation” will be listed on our website on a page describing the Sustaining Congregations program, and will be mentioned in at least one email to our entire list per year. You will also receive updates on the number of campers that were able to come to camp thanks to your church’s gift.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about this new program. We hope your church will join us in the first year of this program so that you can continue to assist youth attend camp, for a chance to be a part of our life-changing ministry.
Thank you for prayerfully considering this request. If you would like to participate, download the form and return to Mechuwana.
Norman Thombs, Director