Work Ready Workshop

What was your very first job? Maybe you babysat or mowed lawns. Maybe you worked at a fast food restaurant or a movie theater. Whatever it was, you should be proud of it! Getting your first job can be a tricky process. That’s why Sawyerville Day Camp hosted our first ever Work Ready Workshop.

On Saturday, March 11th, students from Greensboro High School who have either served on staff or attended camp as a camper, joined us for a full day devoted to learning how to apply for a job, succeed in an interview, and even get promoted.

Click here to see a short video about the Work Ready Workshop

Tracie Bates from the Tuscaloosa Career Center shared the do’s and don’ts of filling out an application and dressing for the part. She also brought applications from dozens of local employers and invited the students to write their own pocket resumes.

Thomas Goldsmith, Director of Admissions at the Altamont School, talked about the importance of a good first impression, how the little things like a strong handshake and sitting up straight can really add up in your favor.

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Patrick George, the Career Coach at Greensboro High School, offered tips on how to impress employers in an interview and how to answer that not-so-simple question, “Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?”

Finally, Charlie Stevens, from Thompson Tractor, concluded the program with advice on how to be a great employee, one who gets promoted. He talked to the students about the importance of being responsible and taking initiative.

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The students left the workshop with a certificate that states they have successfully completed the Sawyerville Day Camp Work Ready Program and have earned the distinction “Certified Work Ready.” They’re off to do great things!

100% of participants said that the workshop was “very helpful” and that they would recommend the workshop to a friend. One student said the most important thing she learned was “to be engaged, ask questions, and to be calm” in an interview.

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This event was made possible by lots and lots of wonderful and generous volunteers! Besides all the amazing speakers, several people from different business backgrounds sat alongside the students and answered their questions and helped them create their pocket resumes. Volunteers from St. Mary’s on-the-Highland’s, Birmingham, and St. Paul’s, Greensboro provided breakfast, lunch, and a snack for all participants. Others donated ties for the male students to take with them. This was truly a community effort, and we’re so thankful for everyone’s support!

We’re especially grateful to the Work Ready Workshop’s planning committee – Kay Donnellan, chair, Liz Edwards, Lisa Miller, and Charlie Stevens. Thank you for your dedication and creativity!

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Click here to see a short video about the Work Ready Workshop

Person 2 Person 2017

This past weekend was the inaugural Person 2 Person, a three-day event in Montgomery where Sawyerville Day Camp staff talked about race. One of Sawyerville Day Camp’s goals is to help improve race relations in Alabama; this event did just that.

Over the course of the weekend, the group traveled to the Rosa Parks Museum, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Freedom Rides Museum, and worshipped at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was once the pastor. Outside of the field trips, we talked about the difference between stereotyping, discrimination, and racism; unpacked privilege and internalized oppression; told stories of times when we experienced or witnessed discrimination; and learned about the current situation in Standing Rock, ND and how indigenous people have been oppressed in the past. Together, we had deep conversations, revisited history, prayed, and dreamed.

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Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church

During worship on Saturday night, the group took some time to reflect on Dr. King’s dream as well as our own. Here are some of the responses:

What’s your dream for Alabama?

  • To take responsibility for our past and intentionally work together towards a more open, loving, and accepting state.
  • To openly talk about our past and work towards a more inclusive future.
  • For Alabama to become a place known for how well we welcome strangers and how gracefully we admit our wrongdoings and change our ways.

What’s your dream for your hometown?

  • Racially and economically diverse school systems so that every student has equal opportunities.
  • To understand our privilege and learn how we can eliminate that privilege by empowering other communities in our state.
  • More diverse political beliefs, increased open-mindedness, progress in racial issues and others.

What’s your dream for Sawyerville Day Camp?

  • A permanent facility/institution that can continue to educate, help, and grow both staff and campers.
  • Our own space, integration, and continue spreading love amongst each other and the Black Belt community.
  • A permanent facility and more diverse staff. More intentional race-based discussions.
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Dreaming at St. John’s Episcopal Church

This group had a great conversation about ways to make the staff community at camp even more inclusive. We’re looking forward to putting their ideas into action this summer.

If you weren’t able to participate in Person 2 Person this year, don’t worry, the event will happen again next year. Go ahead and mark your calendar for MLK weekend!

We’re so thankful to all of the people and groups who helped make Person 2 Person possible! Thank you to:

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To see more photos by Allison Kendrick, check out the Facebook album.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Person 2 Person: SDC Staff Talks About Race

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Sawyerville Day Camp works to accomplish three goals: 1) to serve God and the church through outreach 2) to broaden the horizons of campers and counselors 3) to improve race relations in Alabama. With that third goal in mind, Sawyerville Day Camp will host a new event called Person 2 Person for high school juniors and seniors over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery. Those who have staffed SDC before are invited to join us!

At Person 2 Person, we’ll learn more about the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, and we’ll take field trips to the Civil Rights Memorial, the offices of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. We’ll talk about race in Alabama, our own experiences of race, and how we can improve race relations through Sawyerville Day Camp.

Please apply to participate by January 4th. There is no fee for attending this event, and meals are included. Questions? Email Crystal at cjones@dioala.org.

 

Giving Tuesday 2016

Tomorrow, November 29th is Giving Tuesday!

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a day to give to others.

The are three ways to participate in Giving Tuesday with Sawyerville Day Camp: give thanks, give time, and give money.

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We’re collecting answers to the question “Why are you thankful for Sawyerville Day Camp or the Yellowhammer Learning Program?” Tell us why you’re thankful through this easy online form.

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You can give your time by writing prayer partner letters that will be given to a volunteer staff member this summer. This is a great way to be connected to the camp if you can’t be there in person. Read the instructions here.

If you’re in the Birmingham area, come visit us at the Abbey on Tuesday – we’ll have letter-writing supplies ready for you!

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As always, your contribution will go directly to our free summer programs for children and youth in Hale County. This is a great time to consider making your year-end gift. Give online here.

How will you give to others on Giving Tuesday?

Oh When the Saints Go Marching In

We are so grateful to count the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and many, many parishes among the supporters of Sawyerville Day Camp. For years, roughly 60% of the Diocese’s parishes have supported the camp. Imagine what we could accomplish together if 100% of parishes were involved. What if the saints went marching into Greensboro?

With this question in mind, for Summer 2017, we’re looking at parish participation in a new way, and we’re asking parishes to give together to sponsor one day of camp. For example, we’ll ask all three parishes named St. Mary’s (Birmingham, Jasper, and Childersburg) to pool their resources to support St. Mary’s Day at Sawyerville Day Camp. Sponsoring one day of camp includes everything from bus transportation to meals, water bottles and back packs to staff housing and pool fees.

The day your parish sponsors will be the perfect opportunity for parishioners to tour the camp and the learning program or to volunteer to serve a meal to the staff. We’ll celebrate your parish’s day with the campers and post a special “thank you” on social media.

To learn more about how your parish can be a part of a team of parishes sponsoring a day of camp or staff training, contact Claire Cotten at ccotten@dioala.org or (205) 358-9237.

Oh, when the saints

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Go marching in

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Oh, when the saints go marching in

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Oh Lord I want to be in that number

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When the saints go marching in

 

Thanksgiving Reflections

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This Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll take some time to consider why you are thankful for Sawyerville Day Camp and the Yellowhammer Learning Program. Think back on what SDC and the YLP have given you, what you have experienced at camp, what role the camp and learning program play in the community and the church, and why you are glad to have camp in your life.

We’ll be gathering these Thanksgiving Reflections throughout the month of November, and we hope to share them with folks who have yet to experience camp. We think these reflections will help to explain why SDC is so special to so many people.

Share Your Thanksgiving Reflection

All reflections are automatically entered to win some SDC swag!

A Letter to the Staff

This summer, Tye Edwards, one of our college-age interns, worked as the Camper Registrar. Tye is from Greensboro and grew up coming to Sawyerville Day Camp as a camper. She eventually become a high school staff member and then an intern. 

Tye wrote a beautiful letter that was shared with all of the staff this summer as one of the Prayer Partner letters they received. This letter came at the end of the week, and it sums up why being on staff can be challenging and why it can be so very rewarding.


Hello friends,

Congratulations, you found your way through the week of camp!!! I know it has been a long, hard fought journey of chaos, but it was all worth it.

I would like to first thank you all for ALL the hard work, dedication, energy, and love that you have shown around and/or to camp and this community. This has been a week to remember; one of those memories that will last with you and others forever. Although it may seem like you have not given it your full potential, it will be the littlest things that mean the world to these kids. I am here to let you know that you are appreciated because I was one of those kids, and I can testify that this project impacted me in ways I did not know it could.

As I recall, growing up in Greensboro was not so bad UNTIL we had to make summer plans. I thanked God annually for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama because in 1993, Sawyerville Day Camp was born (not me, of course). I attended camp when I was around the age of seven, and I have been going ever since, faithfully. I staffed for four years, and now I am an intern as the camper registrar. Traveling down this journey, I have met some of the most outstanding and supportive people in my life. Some of you have watched and helped mold me into the person I am today, and I am so grateful for you. Without this opportunity, I would be still lost, trying to find my way, but because of this, I have learned that “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” It may not mean anything to you right now, but take a minute to reflect on all the smiles you created, friendships you built, and for most, stepping out of your comfort zone. Because of you, this community is united by love and others can see that from afar.

So, I think I speak for my community of Hale County when I say thank you. You gave us hope for a fun, fulfilling summer. Thank you for lighting up our world, but most importantly, thank you for letting your light shine for others.

With love and peace,

Ty’Nedra Edwards 🙂

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From L to R: Hakeem Bennett, Emily Hooker, and Tye Edwards

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Tye helping parents at camper registration