Our Virtual Day On Campus Has Arrived

At the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, Day On Campus is a very special event that has been held annually since 1983. It’s a day when we invite donors, churches, and friends from across the state to visit us. The fun-filled day includes tours of our Enterprise campus where guests get to visit with some of our youth and see the cottages where they live as well as where they go to school and participate in a wide range of activities. The high point of the day is the program put on by the children that usually includes a couple of musical numbers or theatrical performance in addition to updates from our leadership. Featured guests usually include an alumni and foster parents, and sometimes one of our youth will tell their story as well.

During January and February of last year, plans were on track for the annual March event. But then along came COVID. As things progressed from bad to worse, it became obvious that in order to keep our children and staff safe, as well as our guests, we would have to cancel Day On Campus for 2020. It was the first time in thirty-seven years that Day on Campus has been cancelled. We knew that many of our friends were disappointed, but we figured there would always be next year.

Over the past year we have had to take extraordinary steps to keep everyone here safe. We of course implemented all of the recommended practices from the CDC and kept your youth on campus. Our house parents and other staff had to become very creative with activities to keep the children engaged. Instead of sending our youth to Summer Camp like we do every year, we kept them on campus and brought in large, inflatable water slides and came up with other fun things for them to do.

We were also not able to allow our volunteers on campus, which really had an impact. In 2019 we had 1,714 volunteers log 15,947 hours of work for various projects and support. With COVID preventing us from bringing volunteers on campus, that work had to be absorbed by our staff or it simply did not get done. Our 2020 plans for cottage renovations had to be put on hold since we could not allow contractors and their crews on campus.

Well here we are a year later and the pandemic is still upon us. While it’s true that things are getting better and perhaps we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we decided at the beginning of this year that we would forgo the usual Day On Campus event and plan our Virtual Day On Campus. So we set out to create an informative and engaging presentation that would give our friends a complete update of everything going on at our Enterprise campus as well as our Madison Youth Ranch and other locations. The end result is a great program that you can enjoy by clicking here.

One of the highlights of our Virtual Day On Campus includes a conversation with one of our alumni, Michelle Caudell, who is now a successful professional in Daytona. She came to the Children’s Home at age fifteen after spending a dozen years being bounced around to multiple placements. There’s also a virtual tour of our main campus hosted by Cody, one of our youth, and you’ll be able to experience our praise band that includes Spiritual Life staff as well as some of our very talented youth.

We’re truly looking forward to the return of enough normalcy to have visitors tour our beautiful campus, welcome our volunteers back, and jump-start our stalled renovation projects. In the meantime, we’ll continue keep in touch through the virtual realm.