Camp of the Hills has basketballs, kayaks and even prayers on its wish list

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

SMITHWICK — For more than 20 years, Camp of the Hills has changed the lives of more than 10,000 children, most of them from inner cities. The camp, 1552 CR 344 in Smithwick just east of Marble Falls, draws in children and teens each summer for a summer camp experience they might otherwise never get.

And through the programs, camp counselors and leaders share and demonstrate the message of God’s love with at-risk children and teens. For many of the campers, it’s often the first place they really get to hear about God and his Son.

But to keep down costs, the camp relies heavily on volunteers and donations.

This Christmas, Camp of the Hills has a few things on its list. Michael Thames (pronounced Tims) said the camp always appreciates the support the Highland Lakes community shows.

“There are so many big and little things we need,” Thames said. “We tried to shorten the list and give some options.”

Camp of the Hills provides numerous outdoor recreational opportunities for the youth. This year, Thames said the camp is starting an archery program. So to get it off the ground, Camp of the Hills needs youth bows, arrows, targets and other archery equipment.

Many of the campers experience their first time in a canoe or a kayak while attending Camp of the Hills. But it takes having those watercraft to make it happen. While Camp of the Hills does have several of each, Thames said the camp is looking to update its fleet this year, so any donations of canoes and kayaks are greatly appreciated.

Other wish-list items include:

• 32-ounce Nalgene water bottles to use and take home,

• basketballs, kickballs and footballs, which are used for camp but also given to campers at the end of the week as rewards,

• gift cards from Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes to help purchase special items for the camp and the campers before summer,

• a DSLR camera for photographs and to help with marketing throughout the year.

Along with the tangible items, Camp of the Hills also could use volunteers, not necessarily as camp counselors, but to help in other ways. During the summer, volunteers (often church and youth groups) work in the camp’s kitchen to prepare and serve food. But the camp also requires maintenance and upkeep throughout the year, offering more volunteer opportunities.

Plus, the camp also appreciates people’s prayers and support.

Go to www.campofthehills.org or call (830) 693-2580 for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com