November 1, 2014
Since 1983, members of Advent Christian Village have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in ceramics classes at the Village. The classes have taken part in several locations around ACV, but are such an integral part of Village life that the construction of a new ceramics building is part of the 100th Anniversary Capital Campaign, currently underway.
The group of volunteers which oversees ceramics at ACV does not view their services as simply a benefit to the members of Advent Christian Village; they reach out to the community in order to enhance the experiences of the children of Suwannee County.
One such outreach program is their participation in Adventure Camp, a ministry to foster children and their caregivers. Four weekends a year, Advent Christian Village provides an opportunity for these children to get away and experience the treasures of Dowling Park. Up to 20 children per weekend have the chance to swim, canoe, play games, and have new, exciting experiences while staying at Camp Suwannee. Over 200 children have attended Adventure Camp at ACV.
One of the activities the children always look forward to is going to the ceramics shop to make a creation of their very own. With the help of ACV members Laura Putnam, DJ Johnson, Lee Lebo, Lynn Stevens and many others, the children have fun expressing their artistic talents and love the opportunity to do something new. Small, unfinished coin banks, candy dishes and other knickknacks are available to be painted in bright, happy colors. The finished product is only limited by each child’s imagination.
The willingness of the volunteers to be prepared for such a lively group is appreciated greatly. The group plans out each weekend, months in advance, with seasonally themed pieces for the children. Each painted ceramic piece is a treasured gift the children take home with them, often being stowed away safely or played with for the rest of the time they are at camp. Many of our returning campers comment on the place of honor their last creation holds in their bedroom or in the home, and state that the newest creation will join it proudly.
Last month, three of the ceramics volunteers packed up several boxes of ceramics, paints and supplies and went to Suwannee Intermediate School. Cathy Nicely, the wife of the Village’s pharmacist and a Village member, teaches at the school and is one of the mentors in charge of the Girls UP (Girls with Unlimited Potential) mentoring group. At least once a month, the group gets together, in order to expose the girls to an activity they’ve never done or have very little opportunity to experience.
For two years, Cathy has been bringing girls to the Village — two students at a time —as an incentive program. When it was discovered that the girls in the mentoring group didn’t know what ceramics were, the group’s sponsor, Christina Batton, asked Cathy to arrange for the ACV Ceramics volunteers to come to the school to do a large class. The volunteers were delighted.
Approximately 35 girls attended the class on Oct. 15, and they “really enjoyed” it, according to Christina. The ceramic piece each girl painted was a small, friendly jack-o-lantern candy holder. No two were alike when the girls finished painting. Polka dots, stripes and swirls were painted with bold and subtle colors. A good time was had by all: children, mentors and volunteers alike.
Children have been a focus of the ministries here at Advent Christian Village throughout its 100 years. Through the support of the Ceramics Shop and its other ministries, Advent Christian Village will continue to help enhance the lives of many more children.