10th-Annual Labor Camp Hosts Record Numbers

June 27, 2014

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“Who says kids get to have all the fun?”

So goes the slogan of Florida College’s summer Labor Camp, which convened last week for its 10th-consecutive year, hosting a record number of total volunteers and first-time campers. The camp is comprised of alumni and friends of Florida College who come together every summer to volunteer sweat and toil in exchange for home-cooked food provided by staff, on-campus lodging and daily Bible studies. IMG_0055.workers

The camp is led by Craig Bean ’80, a preacher at the Spring Street church in Racine, Wisc., and Paul Greiving, a professor and the chair of the College’s business department. The friends met at Florida College in 1979.

Bean was inspired to start the camp in 2003 when he and his wife, Tami, dropped off their daughter for her first year at Florida College.

“We were remembering our own experiences while looking around at the things  Lauren would soon experience,” he recalled. “We looked at the river walk, which was nearing completion, and when we heard that several people had been pitching in to help, including administrators, we thought, ‘Well, we could have helped out.’”

So, the following year Craig delivered a proposal to then-president Colly Caldwell, and Florida College Labor Camp was born. The idea combines his love for his alma mater with his experience in landscape architecture, and serves to work alongside administration and maintenance for the benefit of the College.

This year’s camp hosted a record 96 campers (compared to last year’s 58), who completed a combined 1,951 hours of volunteer labor for the College.

IMG_0338.lawnTheir main project was to provide landscaping and interior renovations to the business building (pictured left). Campers removed shrubs, repainted the building’s east side and laid sod over the formerly weeded and sandy landscape. Indoors, new office doors were installed, and the two north walls were demolished and rebuilt.

Every other building on campus received attention as well, from classroom and dormitory touch-ups to refurbishing the athletics facilities to installing new doors in the administration building. The volunteer’s estimated man-hours totaled at $62,000, a significant increase from last year’s $38,000. The week’s accomplishments were made possible by a record number of first-year campers.

David Holder of River Oaks, Texas, was one of the camp’s 19 first-time volunteers.

“Labor Camp was a unique, exciting and rewarding experience,” Holder said after the week. “The combination of working with great people, taking time for spiritual devotion and helping Florida College is hard to beat…I heartily recommend it to others.”

“It’s my favorite week of the year!” remarked Karen McClenny ’82, a five-year camp veteran from Winter Springs, Fla. “It is a tremendous privilege. I return home every year with my heart full and a long email list of new friends.”

Holder’s and McClenny’s take on the week is emblematic of the group’s attitude as a whole, which provides a perennial encouragement to Craig Bean.

“It’s great. I’m always amazed that the enthusiasm level keeps rising,” he said, smiling. “And I’m impressed by everyone’s willingness to cooperate and work. There’s no complaining, no murmuring — Moses would have loved to have led this group.”