“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” This old adage has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin and others. It’s not the busy-ness itself that makes a person a good choice for a task; it is usually that being busy is a trait of a “do-er” – someone who gets things done.
At Ascension, one busy do-er is The Rev. Deacon Rebecca Saager, our Curate and Reading Camp Director for almost ten years. Many who know her infectious smile also know that she is a multi-tasking organizer who gets things done. Her work as a youth counselor at the Cathedral Domain during church camp season led to her recent appointment as Director of Camp H.O.P.E.
The Camp: H.O.P.E. stands for ‘Helping Our Planet Earth.’ Camp H.O.P.E. is a week-long, all-expenses-paid, environmental education experience for underprivileged Appalachian middle school students. It is sponsored by A Lasting World, Inc. – a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and inspire people, especially young people, to take positive environmental action at the grassroots level, while promoting long-term care for the Earth.
Camp H.O.P.E. hosts a small group of local students at a week-long summer camp at the Cathedral Domain in Estill County, Ky. The students study Native American culture (focusing on the tribes of Kentucky), global warming, recycling, animal habitats, creek and pond studies, bats, owls and raptors, insects, reptiles, Kentucky music, trees, and more. The curriculum is enhanced by hiking, rappelling, rock climbing, swimming, outdoor games, guest speakers, volunteers, an in-residence veterinarian, dining hall staff, lifeguards, and more. For more information, see their web site at https://www.alastingworld.com.
Camp H.O.P.E. just completed its fourteenth year of operation; it relies extensively on in-kind donations and volunteers who ‘adopt’ a camper for the week. The adoption donation helps cover some of the tuition and board for the campers. This enriching experience is touching, and hopefully changing, young lives in a small but significant way. Participation gives the campers more confidence, helps to build their self-esteem, and shows them that there is a huge world beyond Estill County that needs their talents, gifts, and caring.
The dream of presenting such a wonderful experience to the campers would not be possible without the continued support of Andy and Cindy Sigmon at the Cathedral Domain Camp and Retreat Center (where Camp H.O.P.E. is held), and the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington for opening their campground and their hearts to this special endeavor.
Equally important is the monetary support of the Sloma Family Foundation and many others who give of their talent, time and treasure to make this experience meaningful and life-changing for campers who might not otherwise encounter such opportunities.
The New Director: Rebecca was recently introduced to Camp H.O.P.E. supporters, noting that she holds a Master’s degree in Education and also studied Environmental Science. She is a former science teacher at Scott County Middle School in Georgetown, Ky. Rebecca and her husband Don live on a small farm in Stamping Ground; they have two sons and two granddaughters. She will continue as Curate/Deacon at Ascension and as Director of the annual Frankfort Reading Camp.
Rebecca is a very familiar face at the Cathedral Domain. She is enthusiastic, has great rapport with middle school students, has unique ideas for presenting environmental topics, is developing a team of volunteers, “and is just all-around amazing!” Congratulations, Rebecca, on your newest adventure – and thanks for volunteering to facilitate Camp H.O.P.E. We look forward to hearing more about it!
Rebecca and her husband Donald have lived on a small farm outside of Stamping Ground, Kentucky, for thirty years. They have two sons and two granddaughters. In 2012, Rebecca retired from her position as an eighth-grade science teacher at Scott County Middle School.
"Being raised in upstate New York, yet spending my college years at Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky, has developed my unique outlook on life. After four years in training, I was ordained as a deacon in the Diocese of Lexington on June 6, 2011. My personal ministry involves helping people develop a more spiritual reverence for God's creation and creatures. Within our Episcopal diocese, I have a passion for Reading Camp and St. Agnes House. I am excited to be joining the folks at Ascension as we continue our walk together on the path of life."