This past weekend our Louisiana Chapter held its annual Okatoma Canoeing Trip for young men from fatherless and single parent homes. Led by Program Director Michael Rivers, this is always a great time as the boys are getting ready to head back to school and say good bye summer while looking forward to our fall offerings. It also is a good way to cool down in the August heat. The boys and mentors all arrived at our Bush, LA camp facility Friday evening. We had a great meal prepared and served by Mandy and Britleigh Rivers. Afterwards we kicked back with some ice cream and horseshoes between boys and mentors. That evening we had a great man time discussion around the camp fire, as we talked about prayer and why it is so important, and some reasons why someone would choose not to pray. Shorty afterwards we turned our attention hitting the bed. This program was our first with our new bunk beds in the bunk house and the boys and mentors loved them! This was such a blessing to accommodate more young men and mentors in our bunk house and we are blessed to have great partners to help provide these upgrades.
Saturday morning we woke up after a good nights rest and had breakfast. Shortly afterward we loaded up, and hit the road to the Okatoma Outdoor Post. It wasn’t long after arriving that we were on the bus headed to get into the canoes. We hit the river with a boy and mentor in each canoe. It was a beautiful morning, and with a little rise in the creek things got to moving pretty quickly. This first half of the trip was great as boys and mentors cut up and goofed off but continued to create and strengthen bonds between them. At the half way point the Rivers girls once again met us there to serve a picnic lunch. During our lunch break mentor, and Pastor of Isabel Baptist Church, Michael Thomas gave a very meaningful and challenging devotional about loving God, and loving people. The highlight of the trip was CJ Wilson’s baptism. CJ had made a decision to follow Christ as his Lord and Savior and was saved at summer camp back in July. Program Director Michael Rivers had the honor of baptizing CJ in front of his TIN family there on the river. After the baptism we all loaded back up and headed down the last leg of the river. It was a great time and ended with our usual shoot down the final waterfall. A lot of boys and mentors turn over and a lot are able to stay upright, but regardless it is a great way to finish the trip. It was a long day on the river, but one that we will all remember. A great program all the way around.
Please continue to keep these programs, our boys, our mentors, and the vision of this organization in your prayers. That God will continue to move and direct our leadership and direction while working with these young men from single parent homes. You can check out all the pictures in the link below.