Holy Family Camp benefits from technology


When Andy Herrman was discussing the Holy Family Camp with Myra Jacobs, it was evident Herrman enjoyed working with the staff and campers during the annual event.

“I thought he was going to say it was a great week, the best week for Holy Family Camp,” she said last week after recovering from the five-day event held Monday through Friday, June 10-14.

The director of the Salvation Army – Hiawatha Camp & Retreat Center surprised her, though. “What he said was that it was the best week he had ever had with a group that large,” Jacobs said.

One of the differences this year was the coordination that resulted from using GroupMe, a mobile application that allowed camp supervisors to communicate instantly with the staff, nurses, and camp buddies.

Messages such as “we’re making good time, so the meeting will be at 9:45 instead of 10,” or even “does anybody know where the mop is?” were instantly communicated, Jacobs said, which increased efficiency.

One of the other reasons the event went so well was the extensive life experiences the staff brought to this year’s camp.

“The youngest was 20 and the oldest was me,” Jacobs said with a coy smile. “The staff with all those talents, their wide range of abilities, it was really cool.”

She said she realized the annual event was an expression of Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s vision for the faithful to be “Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples.”

“We reach out to help others every minute of the day – people helping people,” Jacobs said. “It is a journey of discipleship, a very joyful experience.”

But it’s not just the camp buddies and staff who are helping campers, she said. “It goes the other direction. One of the camp buddies said her camper was very motherly toward her. The camp buddy felt very loved.”

Persons with disabilities very often make those they are with feel loved, she said, and have fewer inhibitions in expressing their love toward others.