Several months ago, Kiana Roat, last year’s Principal of Green Bay Adventist Junior Academy, approached me (Becky Zeismer) about the possibility of collecting unwanted sleeping bags following the International Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee, to be used for the Street Team Ministry here in Green Bay, WI. In March, I went to Berrien Springs, MI, for a Chosen International Camporee administration meeting and spoke with Betty Whitehead, director of the camporee evening programs, about the possibility.
At that time, I was asked to coordinate the collection of reusable camping equipment and donations of non-perishable food items. This never has been done before following a camporee, so no one knew just what to expect. I spoke to the director of Oshkosh facilities to get an idea of what we would need. Then I worked with Kiana, who helped to coordinate the placement of three 16-foot enclosed utility trailers on the grounds the week of camporee. I then asked Marsha Zink to coordinate any food that was collected, and she put a team together to sort and stock it. Banners were ordered for the trailers, an announcement was written up for social media, the camporee newsletter, and also the announcements that ran each night on the big screen before the camporee evening programs.
On Sabbath afternoon, the trailers were unlocked and donated items began coming in as clubs prepared to leave Oshkosh. Our team at the campground (consisting of Elgin Zeismer, myself, Rebekah Helsius, and Pastor Eric Chavez, Wisconsin Conference Youth Director) worked most of the night, sorting and loading the trailers with the donated food and equipment. On Sunday morning, Jim Parish from the Wisconsin Academy Lighthouse Thrift Store, arrived with his truck to take the unwanted items for Street Team Ministry or Community Services. A few others joined us Sunday morning as the donated items were further sorted and loaded. Jim filled his truck which went back to the Lighthouse and, by Sunday evening, three trailers had arrived at Green Bay and were unloaded into our Fellowship Hall. The response was overwhelming, to say the least! Marsha and her team have spent many hours sorting, and have shared food with Green Bay Adventist Junior Academy and other ministries of the church, as well as overstocking their own shelves … it’s been a blessing beyond our imagination!
The Green Bay Street Team Ministry received 32 sleeping bags, 18 mats, 10 small tents and 7 tarps along with a few backpacks and other smaller items. We are still working to coordinate transportation of many of the tents and camp chairs that were taken to the WA Lighthouse Thrift Store, to Michigan where they will be sent to Florida for inclusion in a shipping container going to Cuba that will provide Pathfinders there with camping equipment.
Many, many people will be blessed by this effort! Please pray that God will bless each individual who will be receiving these items. What a mighty God!
Becky Ziesmer, Pathfinder Area Coordinator