Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ozone World Dinner, February 15

The faces were not so different. And all were hungry. Stomachs were roaring as students shuffled into their seats. Information at Ozone the previous week had stated that the following club would be the World Dinner. Expecting to sample various cuisines from all over the globe, students did not eat before they left home.
They listened as statistics of wealth and poverty were shared. The World Health Organization estimate that one-third of the world’s population is well-fed, one-third is under-fed, and the remaining third is starving. Billions of people struggle to live on a single dollar a day – less than three hundred sixty-five dollars a year. Flashes of hungry children flashed across the screen – hungry, barefoot children.
More statistics are rattled off and more pictures of poverty reveal the truth to the students seated in hard plastic chairs. But what does this have to do with them? They can simply walk into the kitchen as soon as their stomach begins to complain, and they are satisfied. The Burger King on the corner. Take a left on the next road to get to McDonalds. Turn right now for Taco Bell. How can mere words convince students from NWA that “we will always have the poor among us?” It is time for a little demonstration that the Ozone staff has quite literally cooked up.
Squares of paper were distributed, and defined by the color of their square, students were placed into three different economic classes.  Finally, they thought, as they hungrily strolled to their different sections, separated.
Tables dressed in white cloth and crowned with rose centerpieces were a distinct difference between the dreary gray tables of the middle class, and a greater contrast still to those that sat on the floor. There was a marked distinction between the wealthy and the poor. Steaks and potatoes littered the plates of the wealthy. Cups were emptied and refilled. Fingers were licked. Many bellies were full, and some considered sharing their leftovers. One actually crossed over and fed the hungry.
"Wealthy" Seating
The group that sat at the next section of tables represented the middle class, and they were given a bowl of rice and beans. Although they also had servers to fill up their cup of water, their serving was limited to what was put in front of them. 
"Middle Class" Seating
Finally, the majority of students were seated, cross-legged, on the concrete floor. Each had a bowl of plain rice and a small cup of water – enough to rinse the dryness from their mouths. With no utensils, students shoveled the rice using their fingers. Some were noticeably hungry, and they ate. Some simply stared at their rice, while still others pushed it away. Even hunger could not persuade them to be content with their rice. One boy begged for something better to eat.
Rice served from another location for lowest class
Hunger became real. And only one attempted to help. As the night progressed, students became aware of the problem of hunger throughout the world. For one night they had suffered it. Jesus told his disciples to sell everything they owned and give it to the poor, and then they were to follow him. Students were presented with the stark truth, Christians must provide for the poor. And since many middle school and high school students do not have piles of cash, they were encouraged to start small: fore-go a snack in the vending machine or hamburger after school and use that money for the good of those in need. 

Do not go it alone. Students were encouraged to seek an older man or woman of God to meet with them and train them in Scripture and the knowledge of Christ. Let these boys and girls be instructed by those that have gone before them so that they might become men and women who love Jesus.

Christians have been given the command:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” **Matthew 28:18-20

For after they have been discipled and grown, they too might go out and train up others.  For after they have been discipled, their hearts will be steeled for the things of Christ. For after they have been discipled, they will feed the hungry.

15 million children die of hunger every year. Imagine a year in which an individual sacrificed hamburgers and fries to feed the hungry. Would 15 million less children die every year? The students of NWA are capable, but they must be willing. Perhaps students were uncomfortable using their hand to eat. Maybe they did not leave full. It’s possible they felt awkward about the idea of meeting with an older person to learn about Christ. Jesus did not try to breed comfort. Will they be willing not to have a place to rest their head? Pictures of starvation, statistics of poverty, and the encouragement of leaders cannot influence them to make drastic changes in the lives of others. Jesus must be the reason they feed the hungry. The World Dinner presented the truth with the hope of seeing students grab hold of that truth and go out into the world. Let them live the truth.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ozone Intern Spotlight: Samantha Rigsby

Samantha Rigsby has been a dynamic intern for Bentonville Ozone since August 2010. Her open, enthusiastic, and friendly personality has been a tremendous asset to the ministry. The kids love her!

Where are you from?

I am an Army Brat, which means I moved around a lot when I was younger. I tell people I am a “product of the USA,” but now that I am in Arkansas and my family is in Kansas. Kansas is home.
Where do you attend school and what are you studying?

I just transferred from Kansas State to John Brown University and am finishing up my degree in Early Childhood Education. I want to be a 4th grade teacher.

Why did you desire to be an Ozone Intern?

When I was a counselor at Camp War Eagle this summer, the Lord moved in my heart and lead me to Arkansas. He put the girls in my cabin on my heart and I could not imagine leaving for home, six hours away, and not being able to continue growing with girls I had built such great relationships with at camp.  An internship with Ozone was just another door that the Lord opened up when I obeyed His calling, which is just a sign of His awesomeness and sovereignty. How else do you spend your time besides school and Ozone?

I love hanging out with my friends and hosting game nights. I am an avid thrifter, there are so many great stores here! I eat a lot of Hammontrees [Fayetteville grilled cheese restaurant], and find time for arts and crafts and salsa dancing.
If you could have any career, and skills weren’t an issue, what would you choose?

A Broadway performer! I love to sing and dance, but those people are insanely gifted!
What are your plans for the future?

I don’t really know what the Lord has in store for me. I have learned that His plans often look way different than my own, so I try not to think too far into the future. But, for the sake of answering, I plan to finish school and work with kids in some form.
What’s your favorite part of being an Intern with Ozone?

I get to work with Ben [Rediske, Bentonville Ozone Director] and Ellie [Chase, Bentonville Ozone Director].
Do you have any favorite memories or stories from your time with Ozone?

I LOVED the Community Christmas Dinner. It was such a cool thing to be a small part of. (To read more about Camp War Eagle’s 2010 Community Christmas Dinner, click here.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lady Lifeliners: A Special Tea Party.

Fayetteville Lady Lifeliners was formed last year, September 2009, by four college-aged lady leaders and Fayetteville Ozone Director, Emily Bankhead.  The hope and vision of Lady Lifeliners was to be a bridge that allowed us to become more intentional with the Camp War Eagle elementary girls, while giving them community service opportunities.  The four main goals that we strive to meet during each event is a bible teaching and bible verse memorization, a life-skill, a community service project and something fun!  
We have had a really great year and a half with lots of different activities and projects, ranging from canned food drives, slumber parties, a trip out to a family farm in Elkins, an ice skating and swimming party, making valentines for the Wedington Retirement Home, a trip to the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, picnics and park clean-ups, making cards and potted flowers for the residents of the Fayetteville City Hospital, learning how to sew and cook, a trip to The Walton Arts Center to see the play A Christmas Carol, and many, many other fun activities. 
A Lady Lifeliners Slumber Party!

On Saturday, February 19th, we had 24 beautifully dressed elementary girls join us for our Lady Lifeliners Tea Party at AAO in Fayetteville!  The girls came dressed to the nines in their best tea party outfits; we had sparkly dresses and tulle skirts and sequined headbands and curled hair.  They were gorgeous! 
We started the morning off with a make-up parlor and a crazy costume closet for a fun photo booth setting.  The girls had a great time loading up on blue eyeshadow, boas and tiaras for their glamour shots with their friends.   
We spent part of the morning learning the etiquettes of being a lady, such as how to wear gloves and when to remove gloves, how to properly drink from a tea cup, how to sit with exquisite posture, how to curtsy, and our favorite, how to do the Waltz.  The girls did a phenomenal job dancing to Sound Of Music’s Edelweiss. 

Emily read the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector to the girls and focused the talk on loving people that are sometimes hard to love.  The girls had a great time memorizing (to dance and hand moves, of course) 1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another, be compassionate, love as brothers, be sympathetic and humble.
After the teaching, the leaders and students were blessed by the parents of the Lady Lifeliners.  The parents went above and beyond expectations by bringing delicious Tea Party snacks.  We had incredible petifores, mini-sandwiches, cupcakes, banana bread, grapes, tea, and apple juice.  The girls were so thankful as they ate the great food and drank from real tea cups.
Delicious snacks and real tea cups!
One of our dear mothers, Paula Grage, joyfully spent an hour teaching the girls how to make beautiful cards for Loving Choices Clinic in Fayetteville and then pop-up tea cup cards to give to friends as an invitation to come to the next Lady Lifeliners or church. 
Beautiful handmade cards!
We had a wonderful morning and look forward to our service project on March 12th!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spotlight: Scott Richards

Scott Richards, Director of Camp War Eagle 365, has been a leader in Arkansas camps for almost 30 years. Before working at Camp War Eagle, Scott spent two decades at Camp War Eagle’s sister camp, Camp Ozark.

What is your job title?
Well let’s see. Old Guy, Old Fart, Long-in-Tooth, or Director of CWE 365.

How long have you worked for Camp War Eagle?
6 years

What are some of the responsibilities that come with your job?
Ensure that Alden (Associate Director of CWE 365) is always putting black ink on white paper, scheduling Hannah’s (Assistant Director of Mentoring) Bible studies, officiating CWE weddings, helping Erin (Springdale Ozone Director)  with her “Yankee” attitude... Pretty much making sure that the CWE staff are meeting the goals of Ozone and Mentoring and being good stewards of the funds entrusted to us.

What does a normal day look like?
During the summer, I am pretty much on duty from 7 am to 11 pm supervising/consulting other Permanent Staff, Top Staff and Counselor staff. During the school year, my job consists of meeting with our Mentoring staff and Ozone staff on a regular basis and making sure these programs are striving for excellence at all times. My hours during this time usually run from 8 am until 4-5 pm, although oftentimes I will work some nights and weekends depending on our scheduled events.

What did you do before Camp War Eagle and what brought you to this position?
I was an eight grade math and Algebra 1/Algebra 2 teacher and a coach of football, basketball, track and tennis. I then worked for Camp Ozark in Mt. Ida, Arkansas for 21 years.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I really have a passion for kids and love watching them mature before my eyes. I love their honesty and willingness to share successes and challenges with me. I love that being outside, playing games, taking hikes, fishing and hanging out with kids is a big part of my job. Why wouldn’t anybody love this? When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work!

What’s the most difficult part of the job?
Not having enough kid time during the non-summer months. And camper scheduling can be difficult at times.

Is there a favorite moment or story you have dealing with your position?
One of my favorite moments at camp happened many years ago. We were in the midst of Red, White and Blue Day when a rain shower developed. There was a boy named Charlie who was standing in the middle of the ball field and as his hair got more and more soaked, it started to get real foamy. He had washed his hair recently but had not done a very good job of rinsing it!

What is something that God has taught you through your position with Camp War Eagle?
That children’s lives are changed at camp, but that many times it is not because of something they have been told during Lifeline or during a devotional, but oftentimes it occurs because of a relationship that has been established during the session or through somebody modeling Christ-like behavior. And that all of this is in God’s control; I am just the messenger.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I enjoy physical exercise – running, biking, playing tennis, climbing Mt. Everest, rafting down the Colorado River, base jumping off skyscrapers, going off waterfalls in barrels, etc.