During an Encampment

Move-in day

Move-in day is a time when real bonds of friendship can begin. But well before the encampment is due to arrive, be sure to put out the call for help with move-in day!

  • It is an all-day process, so aim to recruit 50 helpers. You will need them to lift, carry, and take direction.
  • You will also want another group of people to bring in a warm meal so camp members and volunteers can have dinner after a long, grueling move-in day.

Committee work

  • The Food, Services, and Auxiliaries Committee and the Programming Committee Committee will be particularly busy during this time.
  • Have one person in charge of the meal calendar located on the Greater Seattle Cares website for an encampment in the Seattle area.
  • Explore resources such as mobile medical and dental clinics, foot-care clinics, and even local beauty parlors that can come in and offer services.
  • Identify a student or church member to attend weekly camp meetings to bring any requests to the camp community. Examples: speaking in a class or home group; watching the Superbowl in the library; attending a lecture, movie, or campus athletic event.
  • Identify a campus/church committee member who will touch base with camp leadership every couple of days to answer questions, relay concerns, etc.
  • Talk with camp leaders about when guided tours through the camp can take place, and communicate that schedule though signage. Students or church members should feel welcome to visit the camp, but also respect camp member privacy.

Educational opportunities

  • Promote learning about homelessness through special speakers, films, and panels before and during the encampment.
  • At a university, create a committee of faculty and staff to facilitate an educational series for the community.
  • Work with campus or church publications to do articles about the encampment, the groups that have engaged with them, and the special events being planned. Communicate as much as possible throughout their stay.
  • At a university, identify (and pay) a student to take the lead on linking students to the tent community. That person will be key to encouraging involvement and communicating through social media to student groups on campus.
  • At a church, identify a parishioner willing to take the lead on linking the church family to the tent community.
  • Ask faculty members if camp residents may audit their class.
  • Invite camp residents to worship with your church, join weeknight Bible studies, or attend other church events.
  • Talk with camp leaders about any needs the community may have, such as warm clothing or sleeping bags. Run a drive to bring in those items.
“So, I’m at the bottom, I can’t do nothing but go up. And I know I can’t do it by myself. I need caring people to support me.”
Single father