Randee Paraskevopoulos talked to MAD for Jesus servants about their experience last summer with Wesley-Rankin kids.
"Thank you for teaching me about Jesus."
"Thank you for letting me pray."
"Thank you for loving me."
"This program was one of the most spiritually rewarding gifts I’ve experienced," said Pam Taylor, the director of the annual MAD Camp at Trietsch.
MAD camp 2014 was Pam’s first experience with MAD – Music, Arts & Drama – Camp, when she served with the second graders. "I fell in love with them," she admits. So much so that when Kim Beck told her she was stepping down as camp director after four years, Pam stepped up as director in 2015.
Trietsch hosted between 157-173 first-eighth graders that week, in addition to their Americorps teachers. A dozen Wesley-Rankin high schoolers came on Wednesday and Thursday to help in the Trietsch kitchen, unload and load drums, set up over 200 chairs for the closing program. They also served Kids Eat Free both days!
Each day included music, art and drama sessions for all the children, followed by an amazing homemade lunch from the "Loving Kitchen Crew" led by Jan Deering. Victor Lozada and Dani Doak coordinated the music rotation; Jean DeFord and Jacqui Russell headed up the Art sessions, and Kim Beck led the drama time. These are just a few of the many programs Wesley-Rankin kids were exposed to.
Trietsch first got involved five years ago, when a church that had committed to go and hold a camp there pulled out at the 11th hour, recalls Rev. Karen Chraska. Sarah Squires, then director of Wesley-Rankin, had ties to Trietsch, so she called and asked if we could bring a music camp to them. "We said, 'we need to do this,'" Karen said. "So we stepped in, and our congregation rallied. We also decided it would be much easier to do the camp here. Wesley-Rankin was able to get the kids here, and so MAD Camp at Trietsch was born."
Cindy Gullo, a volunteer with the third and fourth graders, said, "Watching the kids touch the musical instruments, some for the first time, was amazing. I was extremely moved by it."
Pam said. "As a first-time leader, I really wanted to understand the pros and cons of this program because it was not fully budgeted. But I have to say, after seeing the comments of the kids, the appreciation of the Wesley-Rankin staff, and the smiles on everyone’s faces during the week – I don’t know how we could refrain from giving this gift of love to our neighbors in West Dallas."