The Knoxville chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters re-nominated Connor for a Come to the Water scholarship because they have seen the impact of several years of camp on him, and affirm it. “Connor,” wrote Adrienne, a BBBS match specialist, “is full of love. He loves others fiercely, and he is learning to love himself as well. Attending Come to the Water has helped him realize he is worthy of love, which allows him to love others that much more. Having love for himself is something Connor has struggled with in the past. It is a blessing to watch him learn he is worthy and grow from it.” Don’t you think that’s the goal Jesus had in mind with his parable about going out into the town to find and invite in those who never saw themselves worthy of coming to the “Great Dinner”?
The focus across greater Knoxville is sending middle school community youth to camp – kids whose life circumstance would otherwise not make camp possible. Campers are nominated by school counselors or community organizations – organizations like Knoxville’s Family Justice Center, Family Promise, Centro de Hispano, or area food pantries. Through this partnership, Come to the Water sent 7 kids to camp in 2017; 14 to camp in 2018; 36 in 2019. Covid cancelled 2020 summer camp, but this group was ready in 2021 when NovusWay camps reopened and warmly welcomed 50 youth from Blount and Knox counties for a life-changing week. “With the generous help of many,” Moeller continued, “we intend to send 100 to 200 middle schoolers annually in the years ahead.”
A week of camp, depending on the program and site, costs $500-$600 per camper. CTTW asks parents or guardians to help, if they can, by providing $50 to defray the bus transportation costs. The balance of funding comes from gifts and contributions. Come to the Water is an all-volunteer effort so 100% of all gifts go for scholarships.