In 2011, two Disciples laymen from Yukon, Dwight Weber and Wayne Nivin, had a vision to start a program to reduce the cost of summer camps for children and youth at Central Christian Camp in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Today, their vision includes supporting Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, camps throughout the state and establishment of a permanent fund to support such camps for years to come.

As their vision grew, the “Leave No Child Behind” (LNCB) program became a Regional Ministry of the Oklahoma Disciple Men (ODM) in June 2012. The program expanded to benefit Texoma Camp Christian as well as Central Christian Camp in Guthrie. In 2012, through the support of congregations and individuals, the ODM group was able to reduce camp cost for 225 children and youth in Oklahoma by saving each child $35 in camp fees.

Through the continued support of ODM, the cost of camp this year for 275 children and youth will be reduced by $50 per child. However, the visionaries of this program hope to eventually fully fund Christian summer camps for all children and youth who wish to attend regional camps.

Recently, ODM and the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation (ODF) teamed up to establish a new endowment fund for Disciple Men to ensure continuation of the “Leave No Child Behind” program. The LNCB program is the partial beneficiary of one of the Foundation’s current endowments; however, a permanent endowment specifically for this mission is crucial to the continued and long-term growth of the program.

ODF, through the Howard Million Dollar Matching Fund, will match 50% of what is raised for the endowment. July 1, 2016, is the first matching deadline for the LNCB fund. Congregations, groups and individuals (you don’t have to be a member of the Disciple Men’s Group to donate; you just need to love children) wishing to support this mission for the future of Oklahoma’s children are encouraged to send gifts to ODF. Please make checks payable to “ODF” with “LNCB” noted in the memo line and mail to the region office at 301 NW 36th St., OKC, OK, 73118. Or, you may donate via credit card or PayPal on the ODF website at Click on the red “Donate Now” link at the top of the home page (or the large blue “Make a Difference” Donate link at the bottom of the page) and follow the prompts. Under Fund, please be sure to select the “Leave No Child Behind” fund.

As of mid-April, registrations at two summer camps had already reached full capacity: Discovery Camp has 70 registrations with a waiting list, and CYF Conference has 86 campers registered with a waiting list. Deadline for summer camp registration is May 15. Summer camps for children and youth are a wonderful ministry of the Church and, with your help, the “Leave No Child Behind” endowment will provide a lasting legacy of faith, hope and Christian values to future disciples leaders. Thank you for your consideration and support!

— Julie Bowers, ODF Development Associate