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Mountain T.O.P.

Summer Impact Report 2




Letter from Julie Keel, AED Around here at Mountain T.O.P., we are known for building things. We build porches and roofs and stairs. We even build up children and youth in Day Camp. This is what we do, what we're known for, and it directly affects the everyday lives of families in our service area. The culture at Mountain T.O.P. has shifted over the last several years. No longer do we just speak about the number of projects completed or kids who attended Day Camp. We now talk in reference to impact: how are we creating a lasting impact? Both Grundy and Van Buren counties, where our camps are located, are considered distressed by the Appalachian Regional Commission. This classification is a way to talk about the degree of economic disadvantage experienced by the residents. In Grundy County alone, 28.1% of occupied homes are considered substandard, and 41.1% of children live below the poverty level. Families and communities are searching for ways to move the needle in the right direction. We work in an area where gaps exist. A gap in housing influences more than just physical environment. Because of community partnerships, we have come to appreciate how improving a house can improve the health of the family who lives there. Just the simple act of yard work means that children have a safer place to play outside. Inviting our local Health Council to teach Day Camp kids about accessible healthier snack options is no longer just a fun activity. It’s a pathway to a healthier lifestyle. These are just two examples of how we work with community-driven solutions to create a lasting impact—an impact we understand because of the data we collect. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from mining the data this year is the impact relationships have on us all families and participants. We frequently discuss the necessity of meaningful work, and 96% of our Youth Summer Ministry participants agree that is what they participate in during a camp week. However, the most meaningful experiences are about relating - to Youth Renewal Groups (YRGs), to Fish Schools, to families, to each other. Yes, the work we all do is always important, but the lasting impact is delivered through entering into life with each other. We are a relationship-building ministry that brings people together. Sincerely,

Associate Executive Director

The Outcomes Process Mountain T.O.P. has always considered feedback to be a

gift. However, data is the key that unlocks a world of storytelling and decision-making that isn’t accessible in any other similar way. All of our programs and services have identified short-term and long-term outcomes that we are devoted to measuring along the way. We use the data that we collect through evaluations and surveys to make crucial decisions about the direction of our ministry, and to tell our story in a richer, stronger way.

For our volunteers…

For our home repair families…

For our Day Camp children…

For our summer staff…

an evaluation at the end of a mission experience

surveys at the beginning and completion of a project, and sixmonths later

surveys at the beginning and ending of a camp week, and six months later

surveys at the beginning and ending of summer, and six months later

measure the impact service can have on spiritual development and missions involvement

measure the impact a project can measure the impact a week of have on a family’s holistic health camp can have on a child’s and sense of community confidence and social connection

measure the impact that a staff experience can have on spiritual, professional, and personal growth

The numbers you will see in the following pages are what we call “satisfaction ratings.” The number represents the percentage of those who answered a 3 or 4 on a 4-point scale. The only exception to this is the service project surveys. Those numbers represent the percentage of those who answered a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale. The numbers we are sharing are those who “agree” or “strongly agree” with the outcome described.


This camp has really had an impact on my life, getting to meet and become close with people from all over the country and spending a week with them really making a difference in a place that truly needs it for people who truly need. It has felt so rewarding and honestly makes me want to spend more time

volunteering and doing service/ mission work.

Youth Summer Ministry (YSM) Youth Summer Ministry (YSM) brings together youth and adults from across the country for a week of missional service. We desire to see broadened


horizons, an increased interest in service and missions, and to inspire our volunteers to connect more with a church community.These outcomes are achieved by spending a week in intentional, Christian-community, pairing service—either Service Project or Day Camp—and evening spiritual programming into one transformative experience.



of volunteers agreed that spending time in the county broadened their horizons


 volunteers agreed that because of Mountain T.O.P. they were more interested in service and missions


of volunteers agreed that they were ready to return to the valley belo-o-o-ow


of volunteers agreed that they learned something about their relationship with God


Volunteers say that the most meaningful programming experiences are… Friday night fishhook worship & prayer worship

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NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS For one week, Mountain T.O.P. offers a program specifically for churches within


Mountain T.O.P. lets me help out

This week has been the best week

others and do God's work for others

of my life. I learned more about

so now I can trust in him more.

Christ and Christ’s help with everything.

our service area and/or small member churches. This shorter week offers an affordable mission experience and promotes social connectedness between volunteers and local homeowners, alike.

Service Project


Doing Service Project is about more than building porches and ramps. It’s about the accessibility that is gained when a family now has a safe way to enter and exit their home. It’s about how that safe entry will provide more freedom to interact


with neighbors. It’s about how that


entryway will serve as a much


more significant entry way into a


healthier, more sustainable, and more socially-connected

lifestyle. It’s about keeping homes from falling into the “severe” or “substandard” categories. It’s about providing teenagers the opportunity to learn about power tools and the power of social connection.






families are satisfied with the quality of work



families feel that prayer and devotionals help them feel connected spiritually



Mountain T.O.P. staff & volunteers were supportive of emotional needs



Mountain T.O.P. staff & volunteers were sociable & friendly



of volunteers agreed that projects in the county were meaningful


of volunteers agreed that projects in the county were organized

Volunteers say that the most meaningful experiences are‌ getting to know members of the YRG visiting with the families we are a relationship-building ministry that brings people together

Day Camp Building resilience, exploring community, reading, growing in healthy lives, playing, learning about Jesus—this sums up a week of Day Camp. Five days of Day Camp 
 broadens horizons, brightens futures, and builds hope in youth ages 6-11 from Grundy County. Participants may visit local libraries, churches, state parks, a historical society, and Sewanee: University of the South. These field trips give participants the opportunity to connect with their communities and understand the plethora of good things going on around them every day. Day Camp is intentional about pairing Youth Summer Ministry participants with the Day Camp children, giving the YSM participants their own opportunity to grow in their leadership and mentorship skills.


“ “

I learned about God and that everybody is important.

I learned that we need to make healthy choices. I also learned how to be confident and how to communicate with my community.

Here’s what our Day Camp children say:


agreed that they had fun while at camp



agreed that they learned a lot while at camp



agreed that they care about their community


agreed that they learned how to make healthy choices

agreed that they believe in themselves

agreed that they are an important person

Volunteers say that the most meaningful experiences are… getting to know the kids of their fish school getting to know the members of their YRG we are a relationship-building ministry that brings people together

Adults in Ministry (AIM) Calling all those 18+ years-old! For those not-so-young in age, but young at heart, Mountain T.O.P. has a special 
 place for you to serve. Adults in Ministry (AIM) participants can choose to serve either with one of three programs for Grundy County children/youth for a week, or with Major Home Repair for a week or long weekend. We love that AIM is a place where adults can find spiritual refreshment, be inspired to seek out more discipleship opportunities at their church, and offer their gifts in service.

“ “

Rejuvenated me, got me focused back on service and discipleship when I return home.

This is my seventh Mountain T.O.P. trip and each year it is a different and a wonderful experience.






$66,384.72 OF LABOR


THE YOUNG ADULTS QUEST WEEK Adventuring together, growing together, meeting challenges head on together. For the first time, Mountain T.O.P. expanded the week-long Quest program to not only include 12-17 year-olds from Grundy County, but also 17-18 year-old AIM participants. We value broadening horizons and building community, especially if that happens to take place in a canoe, while rock climbing, or on the top of our zip line course. This summer 35


youth participated in Quest, 5 of those being AIM participants.

This was my first year at Mountain T.O.P. and I think it had huge impacted in my Christian faith. It opened my eyes and brought me new ideas and thoughts.

Mountain T.O.P. has taught me to listen to what God is calling me to do. It has helped me understand my role as a fisher-of-men.


Kaleidoscope Kaleidoscope is a program designed for 6-11 year-old children of Grundy County who have a special interest in the arts, and who may also have intellectual disabilities. AIM participants and local volunteers lead arts-based workshops and act as caregivers for the youth. Kaleidoscope offers children an opportunity to explore new ways of expressing themselves through music, movement, and visual




Here’s what our Kaleidoscope children say:


agreed that they like to try new things


agreed that they are an important person


agreed that they care about their community


agreed that they believe in themselves


Summer Plus Cooking and baking. Music. Art. Sports. Creative writing. College tour. In one week, unique


experiences like these come together in a culminating program for the 12-17 year-olds of Grundy County. AIM participants bring their areas of expertise, local youth bring their desire to learn about new hobbies and skills, and everyone has the chance to discover and grow together.


Here’s what our Summer Plus youth say:

100% 93.8%

agreed that they like to try new things

agreed that they know what they are interested in


agreed that they are an important person


agreed that they believe in themselves

Summer Staff This isn’t just any camp counselor job. This is continuing the legacy of leading youth, adults, and

I feel more confident in having to have difficult conversations with people and confronting people about problems. I also got better at being

peers in a mission experience on the Cumberland Plateau. This is a commitment to growing spiritually, professionally, and personally every single day for the sake of gospel. This is 31 staffers living in intentional community, leading by serving, and making ministry happen every day, for 10 weeks.

prepared this summer. I would think through every little thing in my head so I was always prepared for the next step. Finally, I learned more about patience and grace. I always find it valuable to develop my ability to work with people who are different from me and extend grace to others.


of staffers agreed that they can give and receive balanced feedback


of staffers agreed that they feel comfortable in a ministry leadership role


of staffers agreed that they feel comfortable leading a team


of staffers agreed that they grew in their emotional intelligence

“ “ 

I was never very good at communicating and letting people know everything. But this summer with talking

AREAS OF HIGHEST GROWTH understanding spiritual disciplines and why they are important

using conflict management techniques to solve problems

to families and working with managers and directors, I really feel like I have grown in my professional communication. The most valuable thing I think I will take away from this summer is clarifying and confirming. I did that before this summer but I now understand how important it really is.

Spiritual disciplines are important for how my relationship with God is formed. Getting to know

speaking in front of large groups

leading meetings and communicating in small group settings

God doesn't just happen. It's something that takes effort like any other relationship. Except it's more than that. Our relationship with God is so much more important. He is our Savior, Redeemer and Friend. He is our Father. All good things come from Him. He is our advocate and convicts our hearts to stand with integrity and justice in a world that falls short.

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

Mountain T.O.P. Summer Impact Report 2017  

Discover the life-transforming ministry that took place in the Cumberland Mountains in the summer of 2017.

Mountain T.O.P. Summer Impact Report 2017  

Discover the life-transforming ministry that took place in the Cumberland Mountains in the summer of 2017.