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Impact: More Than a Mission Camp—A Family

Posted: 7/10/19 at 9:40am. Article by Mikayla Barnes.

I have been a part of Impact Mission Camps as a camper, staff member, and now as on-site coordinator since 2009. While on staff in the summers of 2015 and 2016 I was able to meet so many wonderful people.

Since I have been a part of camp for ten years now, I have had the opportunity to meet and bond with other fellow Impacters over the years and when I became a staff member I was able to reconnect with previous crew chiefs, youth leaders, and even some campers.

Mikayla Barnes

One that really stuck out to me most though was my very first crew chief, Stanley Clayton, who even seven and ten years later could tell you exactly what I—not just my crew, but me as an individual—did on our job site that summer.

Stanley has been to Impact for many years and is an awesome, godly man, and being not only recognized and remembered but also gratified by him means more than words can describe. It truly touches my heart to see God working in all of us. Stanley is only one of many people who have touched my heart through the Impact family.

Starting back with Impact after being away for almost three years was a major adjustment. I have finished college, I am now married, and I have started graduate school, but it was like I never missed a beat. We have now completed two camps and are in the midst of the third this summer, and tons of people have recognized me, given me hugs, asking me about my life like they saw me last summer or even last month.

I have been welcomed back with open arms and felt like I was missed, which is a true blessing. This is because Impact is a family. I had a crew youth leader in 2013 who was with me in the hospital the very next week at camp because he just so happened to work at the same hospital my grandmother was in. He was there for me and prayed with me and my family, because I was a part of his family—the Impact family.

In summer 2016 another crew chief became like a father figure to me and treated me as his own when my now husband came to visit. He took on that role very well. Then three years later, that same crew chief welcomed me back into his family at camp in Bluefield. He acted as though he had seen me every step of the way in the past three years, when I had not seen him once. Last week, he pulled me aside after the last night of worship and felt as though he needed to tell me just how proud he was of me, how much he has seen me grow, and how God is using me in amazing ways.

God spoke to me through him that night to help confirm my calling to Impact, because of this family it has created. Impact is not just a summer mission camp; we are a family, bonding together summer after summer.

Mikayla Barnes is currently serving as on-site coordinator for Impact Mission Camps, a ministry of the BGAV that enables students and leaders to grow spiritually through hands-on ministry while ensuring safe, warm, and dry housing for homeowners. Impact Mission Camps has long-term commitments in the communities they serve, building lasting relationships across the Commonwealth and beyond. To learn more about Impact, visit their website.