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Posts Tagged ‘Richmond Baptist Association’

Story by Susan Beach. Photos courtesy of Camp Alkulana.

“I don’t feel scared anymore.”  These words, spoken by a child at Camp Alkulana, tell us the fear is gone, but they also tell us that fear was there. They remind us that some children have serious worries and that for a variety of reasons, their homes can be scary places.

For nearly 100 years Camp Alkulana, a year-round ministry of the Richmond Baptist Association (RBA), has been a refuge for many of these children. Its mission is as serious as the children’s worries: to reveal God’s love to low-income and at-risk children and youth in Central Virginia so that they might realize the intrinsic value in themselves and others.

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A serious mission, but the means of carrying it out are as fun, beautiful and exciting as God’s world. Camp Alkulana, located in Millboro Springs, VA, is deep in the Allegheny Mountains. Its proximity to the George Washington National Forest provides the Camp with boundless space and endless program resources. Summer activities include hiking, cave exploring, camping out, cooking out, rock climbing, rappelling, ropes course, and swimming, as well as crafts, Bible study, and worship.

More than 200 campers, ages nine to 14, participate each summer. Depending on age, they stay for seven- or 11-day sessions. They are led, loved and supported by a staff of 50, some paid and some volunteer. All these people and activities add up. The cost for each camper is $500, but because Alkulana’s mission is to reach low-income families, those families pay only what they can afford. No child is turned away for lack of funds.

And that’s where FBC comes in. Each summer we focus on the Camp Alkulana Offering which completely funds the camp’s budget. As some area churches recently have withdrawn from the RBA, that offering must stretch farther than ever. Gifts can be made – now and throughout the year – online or using FBC’s gold missions envelopes in our offering packets and marking gifts for Camp Alkulana.

Our gifts replace worries with blessings. They change hearts and lives and words. The campers say it best:

     “It’s a great camp where you can have fun, make new friends, and learn to trust in God.”
     “It’s a place where you can always find people who love you.”
     “Alkulana is like family.”


Author’s notes: Camp Alkulana has been in continuous operation since 1915. Pray and give that the Camp can continue its work for another hundred years and beyond.

If you have volunteered or served Camp Alkulana in any way, please share your experiences in the Comments box below.

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By Billy Davis. Photos by Sharon McCauley.

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Puppet team at RIR

We have all heard the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed – try and try and try again!” This certainly was true for those of us on the Richmond Baptist Association (RBA) team who started a ministry among the thousands of raceway fans coming to Richmond International Raceway (RIR) for the two big spring and fall NASCAR weekends.

We first focused on a Sunday morning worship service. Seeking approval to begin such an outreach effort, we received a “Yes,” but when the NASCAR Daytona executives changed the RIR venue from Sunday to Saturday night, our ministry was no longer needed.

Opportunities did not close to us, however. Motor Racing Outreach of Charlotte, NC, which provided worship, counseling and a children’s ministry for NASCAR drivers and crew member families on Saturdays, invited the RBA team to join them in their work at the Richmond track.

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Ministry volunteers at RIR

Early in 2000, Dover and Middle District Associations joined RBA’s team in a broad-based ministry effort at RIR. Then the RIR was purchased by the International Speedway Corporation (ISC). The new ISC president and many of his staff are Christians who knew the value of a raceway ministry. These two changes began a significant time in the development of the ministry now known as Central Virginia Raceway Ministries (CVRM).

CVRM provides chaplains for each race weekend at RIR. These chaplains minister to families in many situations, including when injuries and deaths occur. Our volunteers, both lay persons and clergy, work in four-hour shifts. In addition to counseling, they distribute between two and four thousand pieces of Christian literature, Bibles, driver picture cards, and hospitality packets each weekend. The Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Unit joins us in handing out cookies, lemonade and cups of water to fans. The Puppet Ministry from FBC has entertained children with their message of God’s love.

Raceway weekends bring to Richmond enough fans to make up a city as large as the fifth or sixth largest in our state. They come with all the needs of any city this size. One fan, a recent Christian, asked if he could hang out with us each day. He said, “I’m a former alcoholic. If I go back to be with the guys and gals I’ve come with, I could fall off the wagon.”

We believe there is a need for the ministry among the 100,000 plus fans coming to RIR for each race weekend. As Dean Kurtz, Executive Officer for Guest Services, ISC Daytona, said, “Everything under the sun is found at a race track and the steeple ought to be also!!”


ICON-billy-davisBilly Davis served as the RBA Consultant for church programs, strategic planning, partnership missions, and deacon, youth and senior adult ministries. Since retiring, he has followed his great passion for Raceway Ministries at RIR where he has served as a chaplain and volunteer coordinator since 2000. Billy and his wife, Linda, have two children, Barry and Susan, and three grandchildren.

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