Scenes from Grandma Rachel’s Camp

IMG_1712Grandma Rachel’s Camp ground in South Carolina where I volunteered this summer.

IMG_1714Fresh peaches fell to ground daily and were used in an assortment of delightful dishes.

 Check out more pictures and read about my experience after the jump!

IMG_1751The campfire roared without ceasing, creating the camp’s center meeting place.

IMG_1749Our meals were cooked each day over the fire in big, black cast iron pots.

IMG_1716The beauty of the countryside is breathtaking and the young men thrive in nature.

photoThe home of camp speaker Mr. Cecil Williams which he designed himself.

IMG_1717It was inspirational to see people from the community help out with the camp.


IMG_1737The campers bathed outside in an area secluded by plant-life.

IMG_1721Casting their fishing nets in hopes of catching dinner.

IMG_1720Learning to navigate and have respect for Mother Nature.


photo3Speaker Mr. Cecil Williams talks to the young men about his pioneering work in architecture, photography, design, book printing, and politics.

photo2Mr. Williams showing the young men a newspaper article written about his discoveries regarding solar power in the 1960’s when people told him that his work was futile.

photo1Mr. Williams’s book, “Out of the Box in Dixie” showing him drinking from a “White Only” waterfountain in South Carolina.

IMG_1718Chef Brother Anthony created spectacular meals throughout the week.

IMG_1748Chief Larry McNeil speaking on the benefits of making good decisions.

IMG_1742Here I am teaching a lesson on African history to the campers.

IMG_1750Juraee S. McNeil – Founder and Organizer of Grandma Rachel’s Camp.

 Musings on Grandma Rachel’s Camp

The first time that I volunteered for Grandma Rachel’s Camp, I did so via Skype. My mother, who founded the camp three years ago for young men, asked me to speak with them in the evenings to discuss how their days were going at the week-long camp. I discovered quickly that these boys loved to talk and express their bright personalities.

Last year, I traveled to South Carolina to participate in Grandma Rachel’s Camp in-person – helping out with food prep and teaching the boys meditation and yoga practices. It was a lesson in patience for me but the love of the campers made any frustration that I experienced well worth it!

This year, I thoroughly enjoyed the camp experience. We visited African-American entrepreneurs who discussed with us their obstacles and successes, had meals cooked over an open-fire by two amazing volunteer-extraordinaires, enjoyed fresh fish caught by the boys (well actually one boy caught all of the fish), slept in tents under the starry sky (ok, so I was the only one who slept in the house on an actual bed, I know, I am spoiled), and visited local colleges to urge the boys to consider their future.

So many laughs were shared and so many good memories created which I am sure we will always look back on for a lifetime. I am so proud of my mother for creating a safe space for boys to be boys – to develop friendships, learn about life, meet inspiring people, eat healthy meals and run through the country without worry. I pray one day that all children can experience freedom without the weight of the world on their shoulders. I also pray that we as adults share more in the responsibility of caring for our children. It is both a joy and honor to be a part of a child’s life. I am excited for what the future holds for Grandma Rachel’s Camp.

Today’s mantra: love one another.

6 Replies to “Scenes from Grandma Rachel’s Camp”

  1. Great pics Ajua. Looks like a good turnout. I’m sure it was a great learning experience for all the participants. We need more things like this.

  2. such a wonderful experience for you and all of those you touched,so happy for you ❤ it is important to go to nature,the best place to heal and learn and grow,you are a blessing dear spirit, thanks for sharing the photos

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