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October Letter from the Executive Director


“You’re in the canoe with me and I’ve got Jesus in my heart, so I think we can go out a little deeper.”

Dear Friend,

Camping in the fall is a tradition for my family and I was excited to learn that staff were taking a group of our UP kids camping to Trapp Pond, Delaware. Tents, sleeping bags, firewood, and s’mores – the key ingredients of a successful camping expedition – were loaded into our van and they set off into the vast wilderness of southern Delaware (an area about the size of a large back yard in most states).

UP’s After School Programs are focused on homework, but building relationships and giving kids vision through new experiences is foundational. You can’t beat camping to accomplish this.

Trapp Pond is not exactly the Outback, but for our kids it passes for Alaska. The lack of streetlights and buildings worries them. Strange sounds fill the night and they have little doubt a grizzly bear attack could be imminent.

Rounding out our young explorers survival skills are fire building, fishing, and canoeing. Aaron Orr took some of our boys fishing. It was a real, genuine family experience – snared fishing lines, hooks caught in trees, kids squeamishly baiting hooks, and no fish! Just like my fishing memories! God bless Aaron! Like a good father, he had the kids persevere and gain a life long memory along with a deep conviction that fishing can be traumatic to your health. (No fish were injured in the making of this adventure.)

Bethany and Salima took some kids canoeing. Coaxing them onto the water was a major victory, but, despite being Columbus Day weekend, Tyree was convinced that going more than ten yards off shore would risk falling off the end of the world.
“Just eights, Miss Bethany, we’re not going out deep, I just want to do eights”, meaning figure eights within wading distance of shore. Content to get him on the water at all, Bethany dutifully did figure eights. After a time navigating perilous shin-deep water, Tyree called back over his shoulder:

You’re in the canoe with me and I’ve got Jesus in my heart, so I think we can go out a little deeper.

 The safety of figure eights was cast aside, and Tyree’s canoe ventured to World’s End. Happily, no sea monsters were encountered but, like Columbus, while the Indies were not discovered, a new world was.

You and I live in the new world. I don’t mean the Americas; I mean a place of opportunity, abundance, and hope. For most of the kids in our After School Programs this world is foreign and fearful, and the ocean that separates them is so wide and dangerous our kids spend their lives 

“doing eights”. It’s what they know.

You and I know life can be so much more than ‘eights’. That’s why Bethany’s canoe trip is so important. That’s why After School Program is so important. That’s why your help is so important. It’s not the homework that will change their lives, it’s the hard work of giving kids vision – coaxing our kids to get in the canoe, to capture a vision of the good things that lie out deeper, and being in the canoe with them to help them get there. They’ll never see the new world if they don’t get in the canoe.  I need your help to get our kids in the canoe. Your gift of $200 gives our kids camp sites for a  weekend. $50 will feed the tribe. $35 will get their land rovers (ok, just old mini-vans) to the Delaware wilderness and back. $500 will give the whole crew another priceless weekend experience, canoes and all. Our kids want to go deeper. Incredible staff like Bethany, Aaron, and Salima are in the canoe with them. Check the enclosed orange response card.

Friend, give a gift of support and get in the canoe with them. With Jesus in our hearts, let’s go out deeper together. Go deeper and give our kids a new world.

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