Camp Barnabas branch opens B&B in Branson
Nestled away in Branson is a branch of Camp Barnabas that's a Bed and Breakfast soon to be open for your business.
It's not only a place some adults call home, it's also a place they work on life-skills to help them someday get out on their own. And it's a place where transformations are guaranteed for staff and house-guests alike.
On the outside, the Barnabas Prep B&B is a beautiful house, and inside, greeters who feel like family make everyone feel right at home.
"I love it here. I've been here for three years," said Mishelle Woods. She helps with cooking for the guests.
Each person here has a different strength, weakness, skill set... or lack thereof at first, but each is pushed beyond his or her comfort zone-- just where growth begins.
"It took a lot of training for us, but I kind of get used to it," said Mishelle.
She is now very good in the kitchen. She makes all kinds of food.
There's not much she can't roll with nowadays, but that wasn't always the case.
After being challenged and given respect and responsibility-- Mishelle says she learned that a new level of expectation would change her life.
"This is everything that I have been training for throughout my entire life... helping someone become wholly themselves," said Matthew McKeever. He is the academic coordinator at Barnabas Prep. He says it's essentially college life for every worker there, and shows what life can look like for adults with special needs.
Students learn skills to live by, while teaching those who stay something beautiful about life.
"He's probably helped me find who I am more so than me helping him," McKeever said speaking of his brother, Evan.
It's as if Matthew was born for this job.
"I grew up with a brother with some pretty significant intellectual and physical disabilities. His name is Evan. He is an amazing man."
On this weekend, we saw Matthew's students serve us, love us, hang out with our kids, and leave a lifelong impression.
"What special needs families find when their children hit 19 and they call it the cliff... so junior high, high school, all is well and they are functioning and they're in a climate really supportive for them, but when they hit 19, this cliff happens, and these families go what do we do now," explained Barnabas Prep CEO John Tillack. "So out of need these families needed a place to go, so we started Barnabas Prep."
Tillack exchanged a long time, much more glamorous career, for life.
"This is about helping everyone understand their purpose. We are pushing people to grow," Tillack said.
"I've never had friends as dear, who look at what's on the inside of me versus what's on the outside of me, and it's real. We are pushing people to grow," he said.
Barnabas Prep says its mission is to equip young adults with disabilities for a life of self-confidence, societal significance, and spiritual maturity in Christ. It's a nine month program following a typical college schedule.
They are fully funded by donations, and by income from people who stay in their Bed and Breakfast in Branson. You can make a reservation at barnabashousebb.com, or phone 417-243-0473.
Barnabas Prep is having an Open House on May 24th from 10a.m. to 2p.m. There will be burgers, hot dogs and a tour. You can meet the Barnabas House Team as well.
If you or a loved one with special needs would like to be a student at Barnabas Prep, the cost is around $23,000.00.