This is the fourth in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities happening at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. The following is from Lake Wapo Lutheran Camp in Wisconsin.
The new opportunities that our ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grant has provided have been extremely beneficial to Ox Lake’s program this summer. We have been able to use these resources to further Ox’s commitment to being thoughtful of how we live in and care for our world and its resources. One of our projects has been focused on water.
We purchased two rain barrels and constructed a rainwater collection system on one of our dining halls. After the first rainstorm we were amazed to see how much water can be collected! We installed the second barrel closer to the garden, and connected it to the first barrel with a 100-foot hose. Water drains from the first barrel into the second, which we use to water the garden. When the second barrel is full, the first barrel then fills. We use water from the first barrel in the kitchen. Because of the rainy summer we’ve had at camp and because the system works really well, we’ve been able to water our garden entirely from our rainwater collection system. We’ve also been able to challenge campers to think about the resource of water and how – and how much – they use it. Activities designed to illustrate the difficulties many people face distributing and transporting water have further challenged our campers to think about access to clean water.
We also wanted to show the cycle of food, and to discuss the problem of waste and pollution. We were able to purchase materials to build two different types of compost systems. Each system shows kids the benefits of composting. We built a barrel-compost for organic waste from meal preparation and table scraps. It’s been neat showing kids how organic material breaks down over time. We empty the broken down material back into the garden. Explaining to kids that the nutrients from the broken down compost helps our garden grow brings them full circle. We also constructed a fenced-in, pile-compost used primarily for lawn clippings, garden material, weeds and vegetation etc. We’ve been able to ask kids about where their waste goes. We’ve been able to challenge them to think about alternatives to discarding their waste (esp. organic material) in trash cans.
Overall, these additions to the Ox Lake Village Program have challenged campers and staff alike to see that how we live affects our neighbors that live next door and people across the world. As we seek to love our neighbors as ourselves, we believe that it is essential to think about how we can be better stewards of all that God has given us, and these projects have helped us do that.
Tony Schaden and Sam Pertz