Springtime at Barakel brings a scheduled maintenance season. I say ‘scheduled’ in contrast to last year when the whole summer and even into the fall ended up being all maintenance season! But spring is normally a maintenance season here, so this year we have been a part of that. There are many projects that can go on during this time in addition to a lot of cleaning. Outdoor projects getting the grounds ready for summer, indoor projects fixing things, perhaps building projects depending on the needs each year. This year there is even a project making improvements to the carpentry and wiring in Boys’ Dorm to make it ready and safe for the Techs and Engineers (our high school aged volunteers). Jim has had a big part in this project in organizing communication between the different trades, volunteers, and inspectors.

For cleaning, we have two separate weeks, one in March and one in April, where all of the resident staff clean for three full days. In March the cleaning was done on West Side and in April we cleaned on East Side. Also spread out through March and April, the staff ladies have 1 or 2 mornings each week that we clean in various buildings around camp. All of these cleaning days are not just the standard cleaning that gets done in between each group of guests, but rather a full deep cleaning. My favorite phrase I’ve heard to describe it is: This isn’t round cleaning, it is square cleaning; we clean every square inch. And boy is that true! Ceilings, walls, edges of the floor, ceiling fans, bathroom fans, light fixtures, drains, under furniture, inside furniture, windows, doors, linens, mattresses….you get the idea! I now know why the Camp Barakel facility is generally in such good shape after more than 75 years! Certainly not all of this work has been terribly fun. But it’s good to be a part of it. It’s good to know that we are working to prepare for spring and summer campers. And it’s also good that we spread it out so we aren’t too overly drained by it all at one time. Maybe the high school volunteers can handle that during the cleaning week in August, but us middle-mixed-age adult staff have to pace ourselves! 

Another thing that typically happens in maintenance season just got started this weekend. In April and May there are three weekends we title Co-Labor weekends. We are happy to host volunteers who come up to work alongside us in many tasks, both cleaning and grounds maintenance. Yesterday was the first of those. There were helpers here working on the Boys Dorm project, and there was a crew here starting on the large task of raking the grounds. Our family had to sit this one out – we’ve had some illness going through our family this week. Lydia had it first, and later this past week it hit Jim pretty hard. So we’re hanging around home getting over whatever this is! But when I went into camp to pick something up on Saturday evening, it was encouraging to see a path of fresh woodchips laid around west side by the workers who had been here. It is like a sign of summer coming!

There is space for more helpers during the next two weekends. If you can work a rake, you are qualified to help! We even enjoyed coming for these years ago when our girls were younger, but able and eager to help. We raked alongside Lee Brown and enjoyed visiting while we worked. In fact the Lord even used our time at one of those weekends to work in our hearts and begin to call us here.

Thank you for your prayers and your financial support. The Lord is meeting our needs through the giving of His people and we are so grateful. 

Rachel, for the Bennetts