Former Caraway camper works way up to director
    July 21 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Asst. Managing Editor

    When Mark Moore, 27, talks about his favorite things, Camp Caraway for Boys ranks at the top.

    “My favorite thing about camp is to hear the laughter of the campers through the woods,” he said. An infectious sound like that will instantly wipe away the winter doldrums.

    Since the age of 7, Moore has been coming to the camp near Asheboro.

    It started at father-son camp and progressed to camper and camp staff. Camp is in his blood. His father served on the staff as did a brother and a cousin.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Camp Caraway staff members, in orange, try to get some noise going as the boys, ages 7-9, get ready to share what they’ve learned at camp with their parents. See photo gallery.

    “Caraway has always been a vital part of my Christian growth,” Moore said.

    He lives at the camp year-round dividing time between the camp and North Carolina Baptist Men where he’s children’s mission consultant and Royal Ambassador director.

    “We’re trying to reach all boys where they are,” said Moore, who was just completing a mini-camp for 7-9-year-old boys, a first for the camp. “We had great numbers for the first year.”

    The camp maxes out at 180 people but this summer most of the weeklong camps are averaging 100 boys or so, he said. While he believes the economy is a factor, Moore doesn’t cast the blame of lower numbers solely on the tighter budgets.

    He’s trying to learn how to better market the camp. With 4,200 Baptist churches across North Carolina, Moore said the key is getting the word out to those churches.

    “I think there is still something very special about ministering to a boy in a single-gender setting,” he said of Camp Caraway’s programs for boys aged 7-17. “We have a great potential for growth if parents will continue to buy into our ministry.”

    Moore hopes happy campers and parents will share their experience with others. In a recent debriefing session with parents, Moore shared that about 30 boys ages 7-9 gave $80 towards the North Carolina Baptist Men’s medical/dental bus ministry.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Mark Moore, far right, leads a Camp Caraway for Boys debriefing after a recent camp. The staff members discuss what worked and what didn’t and talk about preparations for the next group. Moore, 27, serves as director of the camp and also works for North Carolina Baptist Men.

    Demonstrating tools This year’s theme Tools of the Trade highlights spiritual gifts of Romans 12:6-8.

    “Everything we do at camp is intentional to point people to Jesus Christ,” he said. “Having fun is an avenue to minister to the boys.”

    The counselors are trained to point every activity to a teachable moment.

    Camp pastors and missionaries take different angles on that theme as they teach the boys.

    As director, Moore said it’s hard to be at all the functions during camp but he tries to be at as many as he can — around dealing with paperwork and fielding emails from parents and other general office work. And planning for 2012 has already begun.

    Building relationships with those boys pays off later, Moore said. At least half of the boys in the older groups are repeat campers.

    At the end of a recent mini-camp of 7-9 year olds, Moore debriefed parents before allowing them to pick up their campers. He asked them to partner with Camp Caraway in prayer and to invite their son’s friends to hear about camp.

    Moore said a face-to-face meeting is worth more than a mailed DVD or brochure.

    The camp sometimes borrows the nurse across the road at Camp Mundo Vista but also has a local doctor and nurse available for questions. Moore’s medical training as a paramedic also plays a part.

    Moore loves the father-son option at Camp Caraway. He likes the freedom in the schedule for fathers or male mentors to have time with their boys. The youth and children camps are more structured.

    “Caraway has been a place where I can always be myself,” he said. It helped prepare him for “serving God in everyday life.”

    While Moore’s salvation decision did not happen at camp, he credits the staff with “creatively discipling me as a boy.”

    “Camp helped motivate me to stand on my own feet spiritually and live out my faith in Jesus Christ every day,” Moore said.

    He also said being on staff helped prepare him for the responsibility of parenthood. He and his wife Ashley have two children.

    Capital campaign Caraway Conference Center and Camp is in the midst of a three-phase $7.5-million capital campaign called “New Beginnings.” Part of the improvements will help with an indoor multi-purpose recreation facility geared at visitors to Camp Caraway as well as the conference center. “Whether former staff or campers, if they say they support Caraway they need to back it up financially,” said Moore.

    Gifts of stocks, bonds, real estate or other items of value can also be contributed through the N.C. Baptist Foundation (NCBF) designated for “Caraway — New Beginnings.” Contact Caraway at (336) 629-2374 or P.O. Box 36, Asheboro, NC 27204. Contact NCBF at (800) 521-7334 or 205 Convention Drive, Cary, NC 27511.

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    7/21/2011 5:18:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Asst. Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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