Parks and the Outdoors
“I have this responsibility pressing on my heart to take care and be a good steward of this planet the Lord has given us dominion over,” said Brittany Parks. As the Children’s Outreach Ministries coordinator, she is responsible for the continued development of the Salvation Army Girl Guard, Sunbeam, Adventure Corps, Moonbeam, Boy Scout, and Ranger ministries throughout the Eastern Territory.
Brittany’s Salvation Army story began at Camp Tecumseh in her home state of New Jersey. “I’ve lived all over New Jersey,” she said. “But that’s another story.” Originally from Flemington, she’s also resided in Hillsborough, Phillipsburg, and Ventnor City. “At age 12, I was asked to attend Camp Tecumseh, and I loved it,” said Brittany. She’s also served as a counselor at the camp.
Brittany says the Salvation Army’s annual summer camp programs are vital. Thousands of children, who rarely experience life outside their urban neighborhoods, get a fresh viewpoint on life as they make friends, discover what is going on, and breathe in the great outdoors. Campers play sports, create music, make art, and go hiking. Trained counselors also help them reflect on challenging situations at home and gain a spiritual perspective.
“Many times, we make excuses and say, ‘Oh, our kids are not interested in camp,’” said Brittany. “Or, we say, ‘Oh, they’re technology bound.’ But I’ve been to camping weekends with these kids. They forget about all that stuff when they get outside.
“When you’re out there in nature, you have a better understanding and respect for it.
“I know, because I was changed from attending outdoor activities, programs, and things like that. So, I’m really trying to bring that to our territory—stronger than it has been.”
Recently, Brittany attended an eight–day session at the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS), a professional development program for educators, sponsored by Safari Club International. Being in the heart of Bridger Teton National Forest was an unforgettable experience for her.
“I was amazed by the hand of God. He created all this. He created us. I saw some things that brought me to tears, just because of how beautiful they are. Flying over the Grand Teton Mountains, and then stepping off the plane and being right there; to me, that was extravagant and amazing.
“I could see God’s handiwork. We were picking up rocks and seeing these crazy little organisms. He created them too! I thought, God, You must have a sense of humor!
“To hear people who are experts tell us things that have to do with nature, ecology, conservation, and camping, really blew my mind and made me feel responsible to make a difference,” said Brittany.
“During numerous hikes, we learned about stream ecology. We learned to use tools designed to calculate and measure how fast water moved through the streams. This knowledge is important because the rate of flow, which changes throughout the seasons, determines the clarity and cleanliness of the water and literally impacts the land around it, causing such things as erosion and ultimately, over time, shifts everything.
“It was really quite fascinating. As we were in a valley, water flowing down from the mountains also affected the streams. In seasons of drought, the water becomes stagnant. We also studied the various organisms in the water and talked about their value to the ecosystem.
“For about two hours every evening, a professor spoke to us about our role in conservation, the problem of animal extinction, and how these events affect the ecosystem and ultimately, our lives. We also talked about how we can positively affect the outcomes.”
by Warren L. Maye
Who is Brittany Parks?
I am a Christian and proud of it.
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes first. Because of Him, I can do all things. Without Him, I woudl be a hot mess.
I’m pretty laid back; it doesn’t take much to make me happy.
I can’t stand negativity and I avoid conflict as much as possible.
I’m a peacekeeper.
I enjoy chillin’ with positive people and I don’t have time for drama.
I love to laugh and make others laugh.
In my free time, you’ll most likely find me playing my guitar or groovin’ on my drum kit.
|As a relative of a civil rights activist and a legendary photographer, Brittany is also linked to American history.|
|Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”|
|Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s—particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans—and in glamour photography. As a famous pioneer among filmmakers, he was the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures.|