Dec. 22, 2015
Thank you to all of those who provided Christmas gifts for the children! The boys will each get a soccer ball, socks, either hat or gloves and lounge pants. The girls will get lounge pants, socks, hair items and some craft items. There will also be various games and craft items that we’ll use for the group, and any extra items will be taken to Helping Hands or a school in the area.
A special thank you to Lakeshore Church in Rockwall for taking on the big task of receiving, sorting, and putting together the gift bags, especially at this busy time of year! The gifts are already complete, so if you still have items, you might want to consider making the donation to Helping Hands in Rockwall, or to one of the many awesome organizations who serve people every day around the Metroplex. We won’t be able to receive additional items either at Sabine Creek Ranch or at Lakeshore Church.
We are also preparing special meals for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The children will obviously be away from any family members, and we’ll do our best to ensure they feel loved and cared for in the midst of this season. Your gifts and sentiments have made that possible. Please see the FAQ for answers to the questions we’re receiving.
Dec. 18, 2015
- Baseball Caps
- Knit Caps
- Pajama/lounge pants
- Hair accessories
- Bead jewelry kits
- Craft type kits – colored yarn, post it notes, child scissors, washable markers or construction paper.
- Small board games
- Soccer ball
Regardless of the circumstances that brought these children here, or where they might be going in the future, we want to make sure they understand that they are special and loved for the few days they spend with us. Thank you for sharing not just a gift, but your heart and concern, with these who have landed here this Christmas.
As reports have indicated, we do now anticipate the arrival of approximately 100 children beginning December 18, and 100 more on December 19 for a period of 21 days. 100 staff will arrive 2 days prior to set up for 24 hour security and the other requirements of the process.
We’ve carefully researched how this process has gone at other locations previously, and we can report nothing but the best comments from those leaders. Security, care for the children, and relationships with the local officials have all been excellent.
We have been especially impressed with the high caliber of leadership at BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division, or BCFS EMD. This non-profit corporation responds on behalf of federal, state, or local governments and businesses in times of disaster, and the expertise, spirit, and professionalism we’ve experienced with every BCFS leader thus far has been outstanding. Our personal experience to date is that they are people you would really enjoy knowing and working with individually, and their competence in their mission is evident. We’ll be directing the majority of inquiries back to BCFS in the days ahead as they will be the organization actually providing the majority of services, while our Sabine Creek staff will provide lodging and meals only.
Again, we are tremendously grateful for the huge outpouring of offers to volunteer, provide food, clothing, coats or gifts to these children from individuals, churches, companies and local leaders. The heart of our community is very evident! Because of the strict security in place, and the requirement for background checks, drug tests, training that is required (and that all parents expect when they send their children to Sabine Creek for camps as well), we will not generally be able to accept these offers. If we do discover any ways you can be involved, we will put that information on the website. If you would like to receive any updates or provide details of your interest to serve, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information, and we will notify you should a specific need arise. Access to Sabine Creek Ranch will be more limited than usual as we prepare for the arrival next week, and strictly controlled upon arrival of the children.
Again, we will be serving on your behalf, and will try to provide updates as we proceed. Thank you!
Dec. 10, 2015
Rockwall County issued a press release announcing that 300 Central American children would be temporarily housed at our facility. A few notes….
- Although we remain open to the possibility of serving these children as needed, no formal request has been received at this point by Sabine Creek Ranch.
- We are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support and offers to help or donate. The love and generosity of those in our community is so evident, and we are beyond thankful to be a part of it!
- As these children have already been in the care of our government for some time, we don’t anticipate any physical needs, clothing or other items that would be needed if they do come here briefly.
- Similar to foster care, adoption programs, children’s homes or any other legal care for minors, individuals in contact with children in the care of the government are required to be background checked, drug tested and trained to ensure a safe environment for the children. Our Sabine Creek staff fulfills these standards for all our campers, including this group should they arrive. These standards for safety and security can prove frustrating for those wanting to volunteer, but they usually understand once this is explained.
- If there ARE ways to be involved, we will definitely let you know via this page. It will be difficult to reply personally, but we’ll do our best. For now, we do believe prayer matters, and it also means so much to hear from you to know you’re with us. We would be honored to serve these kids on your behalf during this Christmas season if the opportunity presents itself, but either way your heart and compassion are clearly seen!
Thanks again and many blessings.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are receiving calls from across the U.S. from people with questions. We will add to this list as time allows, so please check back.
How did you get the call to do this?
Camps everywhere often have agreements in place with organizations like the Red Cross and various government entities to provide temporary shelter in the event of an emergency or disaster. That way, they are prepared ahead of time with a plan. They typically ask what our price would be for a retreat for lodging and three meals, for example, and would pay us that rate.
The last time we received a call to help was Hurricane Katrina about 10 years ago. In the current situation, the federal government realized that bed capacity in their normal facilities would not be adequate to keep up with a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, and they were required to find temporary shelters to provide a buffer as children were processed. We were contacted to help, and were happy to do so since December is our slow season.
How much does Sabine Creek make for this?
Our typical rate for a one night retreat is around $50 per person per night. In this case BCFS, is paying us $60 per person, because in addition to the three meals, we are required to provide 2 snacks during the day and a “lunch” for the night security detail. Also, because this is a 7 day a week responsibility straight through Christmas and the holidays, we’ve hired an extra cook, and kitchen crew, will be paying time and a half for overtime as required, and have called in many of our college summer staff to work.
Some people have heard media reports of the millions of dollars spent on the temporary shelter and believed that was all coming to the camps. BCFS uses the majority of that money to pay their staff, temporary workers, transportation, and other costs unrelated to Sabine Creek.
We ARE thankful for full occupancy during an otherwise slow season! After paying staff, utilities, food and other expenses, this income will allow us to repair the roof on our dining hall, which has been a pressing need with the Fall rains we’ve experienced, and make a few other improvements for our regular camp and retreat guests.
Are you concerned about safety?
Because we take the responsibility to care for all of our campers or guests very seriously, we are always vigilant about security. Before we accepted the call to receive this group, we spoke with other camps who had done so, and carefully researched BCFS and their track record. Every camp leader told us this would be the best group we’ve ever had, that the operation was safe and secure, and that the kids were polite and happy to be in a safe place. Since the border surge began over a year ago, there have been no health outbreaks or any major issues in the process that we were able to determine.
We would not have worked with any organization who had compassion without competency. The Emergency Management Division of BCFS provides both. This non-profit works with local, state, and national governments and businesses around the world during emergencies and disasters, and they are great at what they do.