The annual community service summer camp known as WIRED has been canceled for 2020 due to social distancing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The intensive week of community service, missions, Bible study, and worship draws teens from around the Wiregrass. The decision to cancel WIRED 2020 was not easy, said Allen Singley, president of WIRED Ministries’ Board of Directors.
“It was extremely difficult,” said Singley, a youth pastor at Grandview Baptist Church. “One, I’m a youth pastor, so I know how it has an effect on my students individually. Then, of course, it affects the other students and youth groups that participate in it.”
The extension of Alabama’s Safer at Home order until July 3, keeping social distancing requirements in place, led the board of directors to cancel the WIRED 2020 camp.
The biggest challenges in planning the 2020 event, set for June 21-26, was keeping the required six-foot distance for people from different households when transporting teens to and from host churches, ministry sites and worship assemblies, a news release from WIRED Ministries stated. But there are also the distance requirements during events that created a challenge for organizers. While work sites may be in smaller groups, the large events include more than 1,000 people.
The annual weeklong event helps local non-profits and others through service projects. Some partners have come to look forward to WIRED each year, Singley said.
“It’s always a tremendous time for our churches to come together, and it means a lot to our community,” he said. “… It’s definitely something that the participants walk away from growing in their relationship with the Lord and having a heart to serve others even greater, but then the people we have a chance to serve, whether it’s building a wheelchair ramp or playing Bingo in a nursing home or working with some of the other nonprofits...”
The event has grown since it started in 2008 and has had as many as 1,400 participants in a year. Since beginning, WIRED has had around 12,000 teens and adults participate in the summer camp.
Plans are already being made for WIRED 2021, scheduled for June 20-25, 2021. Updates can be found at www.wired ministries.com or on social media.