Volunteering at Shocco Springs became a dream come true when we arrived on the campus in March, 2019. We knew of the camp from the days when I was a youngster growing up in Alabama. Dad had participated and been in leadership positions during various Music Week events in the early to mid-1950s. When my older sister went off to a week of GA Camp, I wasn’t old enough to go. But now, nearly 60 years later, I finally have the opportunity to return. This time I am going as a senior citizen and am a volunteer.
Volunteering at Shocco Springs
After nearly fifty years in pastoral ministry, my husband and I desired to “give back” to several ministries which had been a part of the spiritual building blocks of our lives. We first sought to volunteer at Ridgecrest Conference Center because it was there that as a very young child I had felt the early spiritual tugs of God speaking into my life. It was there that Sheldon, my husband, had listened to the song, “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go” and had promised that he would live his life in accordance to what God desired of him.
As we drove onto the campus of Shocco Springs I had no particular memory. Nothing seemed familiar. I had been very young when I was last there, but the mere mention of the words, Shocco Springs evoked a pleasant memory of days gone by. Days of my childhood.
On our tour through the Bagley Center, we strolled through the halls on the second floor looking at the various pictures depicting the history of Shocco. What a joyous moment to discover a picture of my dad, Roger Oldham, from 1951.
Tour of Shocco
When we arrived at Shocco, we were given an extensive tour of the facilities and the grounds. It was a wonderful time when Lauren, our tour guide, shared with us the vision and ministry of Shocco. Her passion for souls, zest for life, and adventuresome spirit resonated with our hearts as we were immediately caught up in the vision of Shocco. While out on the tour we met Blaire Butler, the Volunteer Program Director. It was an amazing moment when both vehicles stopped so Blaire could come over and give us a welcoming hug. This was the spirit of acceptance we felt from each person on staff that we met during our two weeks of volunteering.
The Beauty of Shocco – even before it is fully in bloom
Pictured above are Shirey Lodge and Springview, two of the many lodging facilities around campus.
Adventure Camp is slightly apart from the main campus and is exactly as named – Adventure. Sheldon and I didn’t participate in the Paintball, Ropes Course, or any other of the dozens of adventure activities that will be offered during the summer months. Maybe next time. (Sheldon is thinking about the High Ropes Course – me, not so much!)
The staff are appreciative of the volunteers who come to assist in the vision of Shocco. Upon arrival you will have a time of orientation with Blaire Butler.
She will share with you what you need to know about your job, your lodging and the vision of purpose. You’ll also receive a handbook with various needful pieces of information. Among these will be a welcome note with these words: “Whether you are folding laundry, building gazebos, wiping down tables, or greeting guests, we pray your desire will match ours in that we glorify God in all we do by portraying Christ’s love through our mission of service to God’s people.”
Housing and Transportation While Volunteering
The duplex is a wonderful one-bedroom fully furnished apartment, complete with washer/dryer. The front porch offers a place of respite each evening, or early in the morning when day is just beginning. Surrounded by a pine forest, you’ll likely be awakened by the birds singing, and entertained by the antics of squirrels rushing to and fro.
When you are ready to begin your work shift, a grand mode of personal transportation is awaiting you in your driveway. We especially enjoyed taking rides out across the campus and watching the setting sun, listening to the night sounds, and having personal times of prayer at the close of the day.
Precious New Friendships, Spiritual Refreshment
The memories of new friends we met during our time of volunteering at Shocco Springs linger in our heart and are daily in our prayers. Our lives have been enriched by getting to know them. Our spirits were renewed by having special quiet moments in the beauty of the evening when our work was completed.
Our time at Shocco was before the season started so much of our assistance was in preparation for the coming summer season when hundreds of campers will come. In Native American language, Shocco means “the gathering place.” Today Shocco is just that sort of place where in the past year over 43,000 people have gathered. It is a place of rest, inspiration, instruction, fellowship, and adventure. Lives are changed at Shocco.
Perhaps you’d like to be a part of this ministry as a volunteer. I hope so. Perhaps we will meet each other at the gathering place in the near future.
With each place we volunteer, we are discovering like-minded folks who do this full-time. Have you been a volunteer at a Christian ministry? I’d love to hear from you about your experience.