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Outcomes Report Summer 2016

A word from Julie Keel, Associate Executive Director

I have always believed in the mission of Mountain T.O.P. Partnership, the relational aspect of the “4 needs”, and working with (not for) families are just a couple of examples of how this mission is carried out. They are the basic philosophies at the core of why we do what we do. In addition to these, I have personal experiences with Mountain T.O.P. that help articulate the impact of this ministry on a personal level. Besides believing in our mission, I have always known that we have been making a difference; the concern was that this knowledge was locked away in anecdotes. We could see the change, but without physically bringing someone to a home in our service area and showing them what we’ve done, it becomes hard to express that change to a wider audience. In an effort to articulate discernible transformation, we have become more committed to integrating outcomes into the design and implementation of our programs. While our dedication to refocusing activities has been an easy task, we have been challenged by the practice of reassessing ourselves and our mission. Sometimes this requires an internal change in the way we do things. And that can be uncomfortable. We could go on helping families repair their homes for the sake of repairing homes. We could host Day Camps for local young people with a reasonable amount of confidence that we are making a difference. However, what would happen if we started collecting data that helped us confirm our assumptions? What would happen if we refocused from reporting activities to reporting results? One of the challenges about having a life-changing experience is articulating what that experience is. That is what measuring outcomes does: it gives us the ability to tell our story, to show we made a difference. We realize that analyzing activities and outputs in order to meet outcomes puts us in a better position to respond to new challenges. For example, if the data shows that we are not reaching one of our stated outcomes, we have the information to modify a program with greater confidence. As an organization, our capacity to respond to the needs in our service area increases. On another note, the “we” I’ve been referring to is YOU! We wouldn’t have been making a difference for over 40 years without your participation and faithful dedication to the mission of Mountain T.O.P. Without you there would be no activity to measure, no data to collect and analyze, no discernible change to report. Many thanks to the staff who have spent countless hours designing and administering surveys, collecting data, and

analyzing the numbers. They are the backbone of this process.

When you support Mountain T.O.P., you aren’t just investing in the direct services we provide, you are investing in real change. And here is the data to prove it!

Outcomes-Based Ministry Mountain T.O.P. has always considered feedback to be a gift, and we are making great strides in collecting more of it. We desire to be an outcomes-based ministry. To do this, all of our programs center around a Logic Model, which identifies a mission for the specific program and our short-term and longterm outcomes. Logic Models give us a direction for the questions on our surveys and evaluations, which are the main ways we collect data. Furthermore, all of Mountain T.O.P.’s programs fit under our Five Focus Areas. Each program showcased in this report highlights its specific Focus Areas.

Data Collection Methods Mountain T.O.P. has two primary ways of collecting data: surveys and evaluations. Surveys Pre- and post-surveys are administered to families receiving our services to measure changes in outlook, attitude, and behavior. A homeowner completes a survey before and after a home repair project is completed. Local children and youth complete surveys at the beginning and end of a camp week. Surveys are also administered to Summer Staff at the beginning and end of the summer along with a follow-up survey six months later. Surveys contain likert scales for quantitative responses and openended fields for qualitative responses. Evaluations Evaluations are administered by Mountain T.O.P. staff to youth and adult participants at the end of a week or weekend. The majority of questions are used for internal purposes—food, facilities, and programming. Additional questions measure our desired outcomes—increased cross-cultural awareness or increased passion for missions. Evaluations contain likert scales for quantitative responses and openended fields for qualitative responses.

Our 5 Focus Areas • Eliminating Substandard Housing: to provide direct services and organizational support that addresses severe housing issues in our service area • Leadership: to foster growth among staff, participants, donors, and the community • Community Development: to engage in solutions with community partners for holistic and sustainable community growth • Education: to provide and support opportunities for lifelong learning and personal growth for all ages • Health: to promote lifestyles that support healthy choices

Foundational Objective To meet the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the Cumberland Mountain people.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Youth Summer Ministry Background

Participants ages 13+ travel to Mountain T.O.P. from all over the country to engage in a week of service and Christian growth. We run Youth Summer Ministry (YSM) out of Cumberland Pines and Baker Mountain. Both camps offer Service Project, and Cumberland Pines additionally offers Day Camp. YSM combines service, worship, leadership, and community building into one transformative mission experience. This year we welcomed 78 churches from 22 states into the gates of our camps. We value our participants experiencing growth in Christ. We value bringing people together. We value making a difference.

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My relationship with God has grown. I feel more comfortable praying than before. I also feel that there is much more that I now see that I could be doing more in my own community.

Mountain T.O.P. has opened my mind even more to the endless possibilities life has to offer. Understanding my faith and love for God and strengthening my relationship with him has been an incredible experience.

Our YSM churches come from all over the U.S.

YSM participant numbers

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Desired Percentage of campers who Outcomes agree and strongly agree Increased spiritual growth Broadened horizons Participants actively seeking service opportunities

93% 95% 95%

Most meaningful experiences

they learned something about their relationship with God their time in the county helped broaden their horizons they are ready to continue service in the valley belo-o-o-ow

Worship YRG bonding Interactions with families

Service Project The SP side of things

Service Project (SP) provides a physical representation of hope to Cumberland Mountain families. Our small-scale construction projects range from painting and yardwork to building porches, wheelchair ramps, or sheds. Every project is an effort to create a safer and healthier environment for a homeowner and to preserve existing resources. Because social connectedness builds resilience, youth are encouraged to interact with families. The families we work WITH often have wonderful and inspiring life stories that they love to share with the groups while they are working on the project. Taking a break to sit and learn about each other is an important part of the Service Project program. It is the relationships that are formed in those interactions that transforms the structure, or the paint, or the yardwork into a symbol of love and compassion for many years.

“ “ I love them all! They are all sweethearts! They made me feel like it was my birthday!

out by 9, feelin’ fine

arrive at worksite, pray with family

mixing Quikcrete, waiting on it to cure

lots of measuring twice, cutting once

The group was awesome to work with and were very well-mannered.

mid-day daybreak, discussion and prayer

A day in the life doing Service Project

more hammering and many bent nails

enjoying lunch with the family

share stories with family another visit by the Ministry Coordinator

back at camp for dinner stop at dairy bar for ice cream

What exactly is “substandard� when it comes to housing? Mountain T.O.P.

has created a rubric for how we evaluate housing standards along with categories to define our projects. Housing standards

Types of repairs


Access to all entrances of home; interior of home is safe, dry, weatherized; home structure is well preserved from the environment

Safe Surroundings

We want to provide safe access to homes through porches, wheelchair ramps, landings with stairs, and electrical safety.


House is inaccessible from one or more entrances; home surroundings unhealthy characterized by overgrown brush, debris in yard; home is not weatherized; home exterior is not protected from the environment; interior of home is unhealthy

Healthy Environments

We create a healthier environment by doing yard work, cleaning, plumbing, sheds, HVAC, roofing and general repairs.


A mobile home manufactured before 1976; or Resource one or more of the 4 these issues: housing unit Preservation lacks complete kitchen facilities, housing unit lacks complete plumbing facilities, household is severely overcrowded (more than 1.5 persons per room), household is severely cost burdened (monthy housing costs exceeds 50% of monthly income).

We protect what materials already exist at a home. Through painting, staining, washing windows, kool seal, and cleaning, the life of resources are extended.

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

The 4 Percentage of families who Needs agree and strongly agree Spiritual Emotional



91% 96% 100% 100%

group devotionals and prayer helped them feel more connected

MTOP staff and volunteers met their emotional needs MTOP staff and volunteers were socialable and friendly they were satisfied with the work that MTOP did

Day Camp What is DC?

Day Camp (DC) is a place to spread hope. It is an environment where children come to be loved and challenged in a safe, positive community. Youth and adults spend a week with Grundy County children, 6-11 years old, participating in activities that take them on a journey throughout the county. Together they learn about the environment, community service, health, and local entrepreneurship.

Teaching resilience through the love of Jesus Christ.

The story of Grundy County is usually told with grim statistics— statistics that describe unemployment rates, dropout rates, and unhealthy lifestyles. Mountain T.O.P. is working on changing the story that is told about this community. We want to create a narrative of hope, healthy lives, educated citizens, and hearts full of love.

“ “ I learned to care for my community more!

I learned that some people are nice no matter what, even if you’re different, they still care about you and might be your very best friend in the whole world.

What exactly is child resiliency? Mountain T.O.P. has created a rubric for how we evaluate resilience in children based on these three factors. Social Connectedness


Optimism & Faith


-frequent involvement in faith community -very supportive family -has trusted mentors

-will finish challenges or crises within personal control -actively seeks out resources -confident in asking for help

-unwavering belief that things will work out -actively seeks out opportunities of giving back -has vision for community


-occasional involvement in faith community -somewhat supportive family -few trusted mentors

-will finish most challenges or crises -somewhat aware of resources -somewhat confident in asking for help

-some belief that things will work out -occasional desire to give back -some vision for community


-rare involvement in faith community -occasional support from family -may have mentors, weak relationships

-gives little effort before giving up -little awareness of resources -rarely asks for help

-weak personal sense of hope -little desire to give back -weak vision for community


-no involvement in faith community -no supportive family -no trusted mentors

-gives up easily without much effort -unaware of any resources -never asks for help

-fatalistic attitude of self -no desire to give back -no vision for community

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Desired Percentage of Day Campers Outcomes who agree and strongly agree Increase self-confidence Increase desire to try new things Community engagement

76% 80% 89%

they are self-confident and believe they are important they like to learn new things care about their community

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Background Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) started in the summer of 2013. The vision of this program is to provide an affordable mission experience for youth groups that are regional or small in size, who may not have a viable mission opportunity. Its focus is to draw from church congregations with 150 or fewer in average Sunday attendance or from churches in the Mountain T.O.P. service area. One of our desired outcomes is to see local residents and NHN participants eventually be on Summer Staff. We are excited to report that this year two of our staffers were NHN alum!


I am going home and I am going to begin looking for places I can serve. I know now that I don’t have to solve the problem. I just have to be the light. I can do that. I can be a spark.

NHN participant numbers

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Desired Percentage of campers who Outcomes agree and strongly agree Increased interest in service and missions Increased desire to impact local community

86% 93%

they are more interested in community service learned how they can help in their own community

Fish Camp Background

Fish Camp participant numbers

Fish Camp is a mission experience for rising 6th - 8th graders. This program was created six years ago to fill a gap for churches who have youth in this particular age range looking for an introductory mission experience. By exposing youth to missions at a young age, we desire for them to get hooked on a lifestyle of service. Though the numbers this year don’t necessarily show it, Fish Camp is an important part of our summer offerings because it fills a crucial gap. By only having twelve participants, the staff were able to personally connect with all campers and make a really unique experience for all involved.

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Desired Percentage of campers who Outcomes agree and strongly agree Increased cross-cultural experiences Increased interest in service and missions

It strengthened my relationship with God, the people that I came with, made me a more positive and social person, and it made me happy.

92% 92%

they learned more about other cultures they are more interested in missions and community service

It has taught me no matter how bad you mess up God still loves you. It also helped me learn new verses.

It really has taught me a lot, to not take things for granted and simple things like a smile can really help someone.

Adults in Ministry Background

Adults in Ministry (AIM) is a unique mission experience seeking to bring adults (18+) from all over the country together. The AIM program helps to plant seeds of change in the hearts and minds of Grundy County residents. Since its formation in 1989, AIM has been continuously seeking ways to make a lasting impact. Major Home Repair (MHR) provides physical upgrades to living conditions while Summer Plus, Kaleidoscope, and Quest communicate skills and knowledge to the children and youth of the area, skills that they can carry with them into the future. The next page provides a more in-depth look into our programs for our local children and youth. MHR projects span from roofing project and room extensions, to gutting and rebuilding structures. About 75% of our work is done with volunteers with zero to low construction experience, with guidance from our field staff who are all certified contractors. Be looking out for our end-of-year report to learn more about our MHR projects and overall participant numbers.


It’s easy on the Mountain to think about Jesus, often during the day. Not so easy in the valley below. I think this year has finally taught me how to take that mental break, that break to reflect on life’s meaning even though I am so busy with all the other things that I cannot ignore.

Right now I’m thinking of the great examples of faith and devotion to service in Christ’s name and works or journeys-in-progress which I see in staff, fellow campers, and families we work with. MTOP gives us opportunities to be so open and honest with each other—devotions, prayers at meals, worship, working together—we share weaknesses and strengths, encourage each other, share love through fellowship and work.

AIM participant numbers

Meet Albert & Carol Albert and Carol Nunley are natives of Tracy City and started working with Mountain T.O.P. one year ago. In the last year, Mountain T.O.P. completed several major home repair projects. On the outside, a new roof and siding has been put on the home. Inside, work has been done to completely gut and remodel their kitchen and bathroom/utility room. Volunteers have served by re-doing their floors, and repairing the drywall and ceilings that were rotting and damaged due to leaking water. We consider ourselves thankful to have been able to build relationships with Albert, Carol, and their extended family. Albert and Carol have three grown sons (one of whom lives next door), adopted another, take care of two more young boys, and are frequently watching over their two granddaughters who live next door. We like to describe the Nunleys as some of the most loving and caring people you will ever meet. The minute you walk into their home, it feels like your home. They love people and they love taking care of people.

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Desired Percentage of campers who Outcomes agree and strongly agree Broadened horizons


their time in the county helped broaden their horizons

Participants actively seeking service opportunities


they are ready to continue service in the valley belo-o-o-ow

Most meaningful experiences

Worship Spending time with MHR families Spending time with youth

Kaleidoscope • Summer Plus • Quest Kaleidoscope

Like all of Mountain T.O.P.’s programs, Kaleidoscope (KAL) started as a response to a need in Grundy County. Kaleidoscope is for children ages 6-11 with special needs and/or a special interest in the arts. Our AIM participants and local volunteers lead workshops and act as caregivers. Workshops include painting, music, drama, or movement. This summer 18 children were able to attend Kaleidoscope.

Summer Plus

At Summer Plus (SUM+), teenagers from Grundy County have the opportunity to explore new interests in a fun, Christian environment. Summer Plus is a program specifically for 12-17 year olds. Adults from a variety of life experiences come and lead or act as caregivers in workshops with diverse topics such as cooking and baking, photography, music, art, and card games. We had 17 youth participated in Summer Plus.


The goal of Quest is to provide an experience where youth, ages 12-17­­, are able to explore character building through challenging events such as rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, and ropes course elements. Each day’s activities are centered around a specific character trait. This summer, 16 youth were able to explore life outside their comfort zone.

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

From the beginning of the week to the end, we saw growth in the statement: “I am an important person� every week. pre-survey pre-survey pre-survey

66% 75% 73%


SUM+ Quest

78% 94% 100%


post-survey post-survey

Summer Staff What do summer staffers do? The better question is what don’t our Summer Staffers do? Our Summer Staff is an integral piece of the Mountain T.O.P. ministry. This summer we had 37 staffers serve across the Cumberland Plateau. These young adults facilitate our summer programs, both YSM and AIM. The work is challenging, but the impact on the community, our campers nation-wide, and our staff members is far greater. Summer staff members lead camp communities of volunteers from all over the country in community development, mission work (either Service Project or Day Camp), and spiritual practices such as worships and devotionals.

Based on the feedback we have received from our summer staffers, we see development primarily in the areas of professional, personal, and spiritual growth.

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Staff position most Areas of development impacted Professional development

Spiritual development

Leadership skills Management skills Interpersonal skills Self-awareness

Ministry Coordinator, Director

Spiritual disciplines God’s character Spiritual leadership

Ministry Coordinator Manager Director


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How are summer staffers growing? The biggest thing that I will take away from this summer is that I am called to serve the Lord every single day. I used to think that coming to Mountain T.O.P. was my way to give back to my community and serve, but throughout this summer I have realized it is much more than that. I can serve in so many ways every single day. I want to leave this mountain eager to turn serving into my lifestyle.

The most valuable thing I learned this summer in regards to my professional development is how to effectively manage people. It was necessary this summer to learn the different ways people work and how I work with them in order to ensure a successful summer. I had to adapt the ways in which I give feedback, lead meetings, and delegate tasks in order to make everyone feel comfortable and be bought in. I learned how to effectively manage people all while growing deeper in my faith and professional skills.

I learned that asking for help is okay. In most circumstances you’re working with a team who is there to help and better you. It took me awhile to figure it out, but using your teammates doesn’t you seem or appear lesser. It’s hard to ask for help but help is needed in almost every aspect of our lives.

One of the most valuable things I learned in regard to my spiritual development is to let go of control and let God completely take over every aspect of my life. This was something that I was beginning to work on before coming to Mountain T.O.P. and my experiences here have forced me to put it into practice on a daily basis. I have turned to God for help, praise, and healing more in this summer than I have in a while. Another is that not only does God use broken people to do beautiful things, but through His grace, he makes those broken people beautiful as well.

Areas of highest growth

Junior Apprenticeship Ministry Our newest addition The Junior Apprenticeship Ministry (JAM) was launched in the summer of 2015 as a way to involve local youth with Mountain T.O.P. through part-time employment. This summer, Mountain T.O.P. employed five young women from Grundy and Marion counties, two of whom are high school seniors, and three of whom are college freshmen. Three of this year’s staff were returners from last summer. There are three vital aspects of the JAM program: wellness, spiritual and leadership development, and professional skills. Each week, our JAM staff members learn about a different type of health found on the Wellness Wheel and dive into scripture, connecting wellness and worship together. Through Bible studies and discussion, the JAM staff learn more about what it looks like to make healthy choices in all areas of life. Field trips and guest speakers also supplement the curriculum in offering expert advice and new experience to create a more holistic perspective of living well. Further, the JAM staff is essential to the running of the day-to-day operations of our camps. JAM staff assist in data entry, administrative tasks, recycling, and helping Summer Staffers with various responsibilities. It is our hope that through exposure to a variety of job tasks and skills, they will be able to more ready for their next step, be it post-secondary education or the workforce.

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Wellness is everything, not just how you eat or workout. It’s spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially.

That God is here with you no matter what and there are always people around that you can talk to.

I learned that diving into the word and really studying it to see what God has planned for me is key to living a full life for the Lord.

You can always turn to the Lord.

I learned what it looks like and means to have complete wellness, and how wellness is so closely related to God.

8 37 5 6 3

wellness themes explored capacity building tasks field trips guest speakers 1-on-1 mentor moments

24 93 12 4 3

hours spent in curriculum hours spent doing tasks hours spent on field trips hours spent with guest speakers hours spent in 1-on-1 moments

Eliminating substandard housing > Leadership > Community Development > Education > Health

Interested in serving with us? Interested in investing in us? Interested in learning more about the data and stories in this report? We would love to hear from you! 931.692.3999 | Facebook: @mountaintopministry Instagram: @mountaintop1975 Twitter: @mountaintop1975

Mountain T.O.P. Summer Outcomes 2016  

YOU have made a difference!

Mountain T.O.P. Summer Outcomes 2016  

YOU have made a difference!