Operation Fun

Operation Fun

During the late 1940’s members of the Lacy McKenzie Bible Class became involved in working with disadvantaged boys and girls in our community. OPERATION FUN was the name that developed. Once children were selected for the activity, members of the class took them to White Lake. The boys and girls were transported to and from White Lake in the personal automobiles of individual class members. The day's outing included swimming, games, and a tasty meal prepared by the members. The purpose of the project, a genuine desire to promote Christian fellowship in the community, was fulfilled.

As the Sunday School class continued to show concern and interest in doing more for the young people in our community, the one day outing at the lake became a week at camp. In the summer of 1951 the site chosen was Camp Chickagami at White Lake operated by “Skipper” Brothers and his wife. The campers enjoyed Bible study, crafts, sports, swimming, skits, singing, and good food. Camp counselors were church members: high school coaches, college students, and adult women whose children accompanied them. The summer intern from Union Theological Seminary more or less directed the activities for that week at camp. Camp Chickagami continued to be the site of Operation Fun through 1954.

After the opening of Camp Monroe by the Presbytery, Operation Fun was moved there by members of the Lacy McKenzie Bible Class. Even though the site of this outreach ministry changed, the commitment remained the same. Class members continued to work with our local schools in selecting campers. Doctors in our church screened the prospective campers. Again church members served as counselors for the week. We truly served the Lord as we sought to spread the Good News to His children.

As times changed we became aware of the many children living in foster homes throughout the county. Therefore, our church looked to the Robeson County Department of Social Services to select the children for Operation Fun during the 1970’s. As a congregation we were not directly involved with the teaching or working with the children at camp. Even though our high school and college age members assisted the paid staff at Camp Monroe, we were unable to touch the lives of the campers as we had done in the past.

At the insistence of many concerned members of the Lacy McKenzie Bible Class, the selection of the Operation Fun nominees was returned to the class in the fall of 1981. The class members elected a screening committee. Once again all organizations within the church - Men of the Church, Women of the Church, and Sunday School classes - became involved in the ministry. The endeavors of the group were so successful that Operation Fun became a committee of the Session in January, 1983.

No organization can function successfully without goals and the structure to make those goals work. One goal was to provide a week of recreation and Christian fellowship for ten to twelve year old boys and girls. Another goal was to nurture the campers and their families beyond the camp experience. Scholarship recipients and their families began attending our Sunday School and church services. Structure and organization are important features of the Operation Fun Committee. A curriculum was written. Criteria for selecting children for camp was established. The committee members solicited the aid of the teachers in our local schools to nominate outstanding, but deserving boys and girls as prospective campers. The recipients of the Operation Fun scholarships were from families who do not usually receive government benefits. Special attention was also given to the children from single parent families. The scholarship recipients come from all races, ranging in ability from gifted to slow learners.

As with other endeavors of our church, Operation Fun has changed with the times. The original project has undergone numerous changes, but the goals and structure of the ministry remain in place. Our church looks forward to another century and a half of promoting Christian fellowship in the community by reaching out to disadvantaged boys and girls.

For more information about Operation fun, please contact the church office.