Category Archives: LUM Camp

A Letter from Wes Tillett – LUM Executive Director


Hello! It is a joyful honor to re-enter the Lafayette Urban Ministry orbit. My wife and I have fondness in our hearts for LUM (15 years ago, when I had hair) and are excited to jump back in, rekindle old connections, nurture new connections, and introduce our children to this amazing ministry.

If you are reading this, it tells me that you are an active part of the LUM family. Thank you! Every person matters. Every act of generosity of time, talent, and treasure counts. I am grateful for how you have helped make LUM such a helpful and healthy agency that serves others.

As I enter into the Executive Director position, I am humbled by and appreciative of the fabulous and faithful leadership of Joe Micon. His record of 495 consecutive board meetings is in no danger of being broken by me (I’d have to serve until I was 83). I know Joe built on the foundation of Executive Directors, Rev. Jud Dolphin and Rev. Ron Elly. I am asking God for the grace to continue a legacy of courageous servant-leadership with LUM.

No doubt there is some anxiety as a new person takes a place of leadership.
Can we trust Wes? Is he capable? Will he change everything? Will we like him? Will he like us? Can he faithfully maximize the good that is already present in LUM and effectively navigate future realities? All those questions are honest and good — and normal.

In response to those types of questions, I reassure you that I come into this role with both a sense of humility and confidence — and a “dependence on God” to give me the wisdom to respond to the ever-evolving needs of the Lafayette / West Lafayette community and to show up strong in the midst of my weakness (“My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9). As a recovering perfectionist, I am keenly aware of my weaknesses, more than my strengths; and it is a comfort to know that God fills in my gaps.

As for my confidence, it is built upon the reality that “God cares more about this than I do and will work it out better than I can.” This faith has guided me over the past 10 years – moving to the Middle East (Lebanon) and moving back to the Midwest (Michigan) to start a new congregation (Voyage Church).

I have seen the faithfulness of God at every turn—honing my strengths and granting me success. All of this goodness gives me confidence to experience that goodness in the present and the future.

I am excited to move back to Tippecanoe County, learn the ropes of LUM, appreciate what is, and dream about what could be. What would it look like to more and more effectively meet the needs of children and families, of immigrants, of individuals without homes, and the most vulnerable among us? What would it look like to do what together we do at LUM so well that other communities seek to follow our model? With God all things are possible.

Let’s continue to lean in and serve those around us. I am eager to learn and grow, to lead and serve.

Wes Tillett, LUM Executive Director

LUM Camp Needs You! This Summer – July 27-31


Be a Camp Counselor – Support a Camper

As we think about a better tomorrow, why not sign up to be a volunteer LUM Camp Counselor this year.

LUM Camp is a week-long, overnight camp program for low-income children from 8 to 10 years old. Volunteer camp counselors must be at least 18 years old, enjoy working with children and be able to spend the entire week at camp (11 a.m. Monday, July 27 to 4 p.m. Friday, July 31, 2020). For additional information, click HERE.

If you would rather support LUM Camp with a donation, consider sponsoring a camper for $150.


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Volunteer camp counselors must be

  • 18 years old,
  • enjoy working with children,
  • attend training on Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m., and
  • be able to spend the entire week of camp from 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 27 to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 31.

Committed volunteer camp counselors are at the heart of a successful LUM Camp and play an important role with our LUM campers. For additional information, click HERE.

The Rev. Wes Tillett – LUM Executive Director


His Vision, His Passion & His Inspiration

Restoring human dignity…which all God’s people need and deserve” is the part of the LUM Mission Statement that speaks to Wes Tillett the most. He stated that,

Each of us is made in God’s image — ‘Imago Dei.’ Everyone has value and meaning and is worthy of love and respect. The word, ‘dignity,’ perfectly encapsulates that sentiment. I pledge to continue the long history of LUM to meet people right where they are — and offer help and hope.” 

Wes attempts to “Live a Life of Love” each and every day (Ephesians 5:2). He commented that,

Love is the most important thing to me. A love that’s full of action, full of grace and truth, full of justicepeace, and joy, full of the life-giving nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Wes is inspired by faithfulness. He stated that, “It is so easy to be distracted, to be motivated by FOMO (fear of missing out), to take the convenient way out when things get tough. When people have grit, when they keep their word, when they have integrity in public and private, when they make sacrifices to help others, I get inspired.” He is inspired by “all those unknown saints who are faithful to God in their own quiet way, day after day.

Wes is also inspired by the three executive directors who have preceded him. These three leaders, Joe Micon, the Rev. Jud Dolphin, and the late Rev. Ron Elly, have left a legacy of serving “the least” and thereby serving God (Matthew 25:40). They have, over the decades, built a strong agency that has a solid infrastructure, vital services, talented staff, dedicated volunteers including board members, supportive community and government partners and a great reputation. Wes is honored and humbled to serve as the next leader of Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Recently, Rita, Wes’s wife, met a former LUM Camper of his from 15 years ago, who is now 23 years old. Wes was amazed to hear how much his attention and affection meant to this camper. He added,

As I come to serve at LUM again, I hope to enrich the lives of thousands of people — those who are served and those who serve. Hope, help, healing, hospitality — all done in love and wisdom — I hope to uplift many in the community through these.


His Experience & His Education

Wes Tillett earned a BA in Biblical Education and graduated summa cum laude from Cedarville University (Ohio). He was elected by the student body to serve on a student pastoral leadership team — preaching and leading worship on campus. He earned a Master in Divinity from Western Theological Seminary (Michigan), where he received two awards as an outstanding graduating candidate and a third for outstanding work in Christian education and formation for ministry assignments.

From 2003-2010, the Tillett family lived in downtown Lafayette and were engaged with LUM. In 2005, Wes was the assistant to the program director of the LUM After School Program, who at the time was his wife, Rita. He assisted in program logistics, tutored, mentored and in the process became a self-proclaimed basketball champion & kickball legend. During this time he also served as a volunteer LUM Camp counselor. Wes was the youth minister at First Christian Church (2003-2005) and then the director of Family & Youth Ministries at Central Presbyterian Church (2005-2010). He was the Mission Co-Worker in Zahle, Lebanon (2010-2012) and served in various churches in Indiana, Michigan, and Virginia. 

For the past seven years, the Rev. Wesley Tillett has been the founding, lead pastor at Voyage Church in Oshtemo, Michigan. He also founded the Oshtemo Area Churches, a coalition of five churches from different denominations, which addresses food insecurity, mentoring, tutoring, and clothing needs, by partnering with food banks and elementary schools. OAC received the Champ Award in 2016 by the Communities in Schools.


His Family, His Background, His Favorites

Wes Tillett is originally from Rensselaer, Indiana, and graduated from Rensselaer Central High School. He currently lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with his family and their goldendoodle, Hunter.

Wes and his wife, Rita HurleyTillett, grew up together and were middle school sweethearts. One Christmas day, when they weren’t even dating, Wes showed up at Rita’s doorstep to ask if she’d marry him. Today they are the proud and grateful parents of four children — Tobias (13), Kidest (11), Avalyn (6), and Noah (5). Wes and Rita feel blessed to have received their children through birth and adoption — internationally from Ethiopia and domestically through foster care.

Growing up on the prairies of northwest Indiana, Wes developed a love for the outdoors and Chicago sports teams (Bears, Bulls and Cubs); and Wes & Rita grew up cheering for the Purdue Boilermakers. (Boiler Up!) Wes enjoys swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, water skiing and stand-up paddle boarding, also known as “SUP-ing.” He also loves playing board games with his children, date nights with Rita, hiking with his dog (Hunter), traveling to new places, playing guitar & hand drums, painting, and spending time alone with God. He has a passion for holistic health (body, mind, soul) and staying in shape by participating in 5K runs and sprint triathlons. In addition to his work, Wes has been active in the community with agencies focused on children, mentoring, and education.

  • Wes’s favorite Bible passage is, “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5)
  • His favorite quote is “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years,” attributed to Mark Twain
  • His favorite poem is The Peace of Wild Things by poet, novelist, essayist, farmer, and environmentalist, Wendell Berry, from Kentucky 

The Peace of Wild Things


When despair for the world grows in me and

I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,

and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Wendell Berry (1968)

Current Volunteer Needs – Food Pantry


LUM Protein Food Pantry


The LUM Protein Food Pantry Data Entry volunteer welcomes clients to the LUM Protein Food Pantry, verifies their household information on LUM’s client database, and determines if they qualify for assistance.

Volunteers are needed when the pantry is open — every Thursday morning, 9 a.m. to Noon.

The Data Entry volunteer must have knowledge of basic computer operation and database concepts. As special training is required, a long term commitment is desired.

For more information, click HEREor email or call Nina Morgan (foodpantry@lumserve.org | 765-423-2691).


CALL to ACTION – New Year, Renewed Commitment

¿Habla Español? Love Helping Others?
Sign up to Volunteer with LUM!

volunteer opportunities

LUM Needs You! Here are the CURRENT LUM Volunteer Needs:

There are many different opportunities for volunteering, from working one-on-one with a child to helping run the homeless shelter. Also, there are opportunities to fit every schedule, from regular long-term commitments to one time work with an event. Some volunteer positions require training while others require only a willing heart and a helping hand. READ BELOW for more detailed information on current volunteer opportunities. To view all LUM Volunteer Opportunities, click HERE.


LUM Events

Sign up online to volunteer at LUM Events like LUM Follies, Hunger Hike, Port of Hope, Thanksgiving Celebration, Turkey Trot 5K & Jubilee Christmas. Online Volunteer Sign Up Sheets, click HERE.


Group Opportunities

If your group would like to volunteer with LUM, sign up for a LUM Event online — or please email or call for more information (lum@lumserve.org | 765.423.2691).


Volunteer Opportunities

  • To view all LUM Volunteer Opportunities, click HERE.
  • SIGN UP ONLINE — Sign up to volunteer with LUM online. It’s quick & easy and you’ll get email reminders.

Many more Volunteer Opportunities may be found HERE.


¿Habla Español? Love Helping Others?
Sign up to Volunteer with LUM!

Please share with others

Current Volunteer Needs – Camp Counselors


LUM Camp


Would you, or someone you know, make a good LUM Camp Counselor?

LUM Camp is a week-long, over-night camp program for low-income children from 8 to 10 years old. Volunteer camp counselors must be 18 years old, enjoy working with children and be able to spend the entire week at camp (11 a.m. Monday, July 27 to 4 p.m. Friday, July 31).

For additional information, click HERE.


CALL to ACTION – New Year, Renewed Commitment

¿Habla Español? Love Helping Others?
Sign up to Volunteer with LUM!

volunteer opportunities

LUM Needs You! Here are the CURRENT LUM Volunteer Needs:

There are many different opportunities for volunteering, from working one-on-one with a child to helping run the homeless shelter. Also, there are opportunities to fit every schedule, from regular long-term commitments to one time work with an event. Some volunteer positions require training while others require only a willing heart and a helping hand. READ BELOW for more detailed information on current volunteer opportunities. To view all LUM Volunteer Opportunities, click HERE.


LUM Events

Sign up online to volunteer at LUM Events like LUM Follies, Hunger Hike, Port of Hope, Thanksgiving Celebration, Turkey Trot 5K & Jubilee Christmas. Online Volunteer Sign Up Sheets, click HERE.


Group Opportunities

If your group would like to volunteer with LUM, sign up for a LUM Event online — or please email or call for more information (lum@lumserve.org | 765.423.2691).


Volunteer Opportunities

  • To view all LUM Volunteer Opportunities, click HERE.
  • SIGN UP ONLINE — Sign up to volunteer with LUM online. It’s quick & easy and you’ll get email reminders.

Many more Volunteer Opportunities may be found HERE.


¿Habla Español? Love Helping Others?
Sign up to Volunteer with LUM!

Please share with others

LUM Volunteer Opportunities – 2020

New Decade, Renewed Commitment to Serve

Immediate Openings — LUM Volunteer Needs

There are many different opportunities for volunteering, from working one-on-one with a child to helping run the homeless shelter. Also, there are opportunities to fit every schedule, from regular long-term commitments to one time work with an event. Some volunteer positions require training while others require only a willing heart and a helping hand.

To view all LUM Volunteer Opportunities, click HERE.

¿Habla Español? Love Helping Others? Volunteer with LUM!

Please share with others.

Wishing You ‘Amazing Peace’ This Christmas

A Letter from Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper. At first it is too soft. Then only half heard. We listen carefully as it gathers strength. We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder. Louder than the explosion of bombs.


Dear Friend, 

It was during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in 2005 that Dr. Maya Angelou first shared her poem Amazing Peace. 

As one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time, Angelou’s words beckon us to contemplate a world of peace during a season of peace. She wrote that, “there is no better time than Christmas to come away from rancor; no better time to look beyond complexion to see community; no better time to mend that which is broken into that which is whole. “

They are powerful words that speak directly to the mission of the Lafayette Urban Ministry. An organization of 47 Greater Lafayette churches, LUM nurtures children and strengthens families who are experiencing difficult times.

During the past year, the Lafayette Urban Ministry served 4,723 families through one or another of our 22 programs. 

  • The LUM overnight Emergency Shelter continues to serve compassionately the chronically homeless in our community. The LUM shelter and Winter Warming Station will provide shelter and addiction services to more than 900 homeless individuals during 2019.
  • Two-hundred and thirty-nine at-risk youth learned and grew because of the LUM 5th Quarter Summer Learning ProgramLUM Camp and enhanced After School Program.
  • The LUM Good Samaritan Program serves up to twelve families each day – families that are in the throes of eviction, utility disconnects, health care or transportation emergencies. LUM has aided 1,780 families this year.
  • The LUM Tax Preparation Program served 522 low-income workers, returning to them $906,000 in tax credits and refunds.
  • The LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration served 900 meals, the LUM ID Clinic served 217 clients, our Immigration Clinic served 173 individuals, and of course Jubilee Christmas – 1,831 children!
  •  In addition, the Lafayette Urban Ministry started the LUM Protein Food Pantry in 2019. This new and innovative response to persistent food insecurity in our community provides meat, eggs, fresh vegetables, infant formula and baby food to children and families in need. More than 50 families are served each week.

In her poem, Maya Angelou interprets peace as a harmony of spirit and a comfort of courtesies. She defines it as security for our beloveds and their beloveds. She calls Christmas the halting of hate time. 

In the spirit of peace this Christmas season, I hope that you will support the important work of LUM with a gift of cash. Your contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will be used to support needy children and their families, right here in our own community. 

I share below Dr. Maya Angelou’s Christmas poem, Amazing Peace, in appreciation of the kindness you have always shown toward those LUM serves. On behalf of each child and family, please accept my heartfelt thanks and my wish for a joyous Christmas.


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Amazing Peace by Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We interrogate and worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly
in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother. Peace, My Sister. Peace, My Soul.


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55th Annual – LUM Camp 2019 – Best Ever!


LUM Campers “Gear Up!” for the Future

Last week, local children from low-income families participated in the 55th annual LUM Camp. LUM Camp is an overnight summer camp for 84 boys and girls (8, 9 and 10 years old), who come from families served by Lafayette Urban Ministry. Our camp includes all the traditional activities that a great camp should have, such as morning chapel, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, boating, a climbing wall, arts & crafts, campfires, a zip-line and an outstanding LUM Camp staff.

Along with all of these activities, LUM Camp focuses on interactive and experiential learning. Our theme this year was GEAR Up! GEAR stands for Great Education Activates Readiness, and our campers engaged in lots of interactive, hands-on experiential learning. They learned about careers in archaeology, coding, cyber security, chemistry, and engineering; and blasted off their own rockets, ran through a maker space relay, and even took home their own coding program.


LUM Camp – Board Night – Ice Cream Social

On July 31, our LUM friends & board members traveled in the LUM bus out to Hanging Rock Assembly Camp in Warren County to experience an evening at LUM Camp.

When our LUM friends & board members arrived they met the campers and sang camp songs. They were then treated to an authentic camp supper followed by an ice cream social, which included ice cream sundaes with all the fixin’s. Our guests scooped and served the ice cream to our campers giving them more time to interact. The highlight of Board Night for the campers, as well as our guests, was the laser light show. You could tell that our guests enjoyed camp life for a few hours and our campers enjoyed having visitors.

Thank you to everyone who helped make LUM Camp 2019 possible. Through your donations, campership gifts, and volunteer time, you have once again made it possible for our LUM Campers to have a positive, life-changing experience that they will remember fondly for the rest of their lives.


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LUM Camp

Be a LUM Camp Counselor – Make A Difference

Be a volunteer LUM Camp counselor and join Marlena Edmondson, former youth camper & 2019 program director, and Joe Micon, camp director, who is leading his 40th consecutive LUM Camp this year. Be a part of something epic.

Volunteer camp counselors must be 18 years old, enjoy working with children and be able to spend the entire week at camp. Counselors are needed from 11 a.m. Monday, July 29 to 4 p.m. Friday, August 2. Join Marlena & Joe and make this the year YOU make a difference in the lives of local children.

Three Ways YOU can help LUM Camp are as follows:

  • Make a Monetary Donation, click HERE
  • Sign up to Volunteer, click HERE
  • Sponsor a Camper, click HERE

If you’re interested or need more information, click HERE — or email or call Marlena Edmondson (medmondson@lumserve.org| 765-423-2691).

Be a LUM Camp Counselor – Make A Difference

Be a volunteer LUM Camp counselor and join Marlena Edmondson, former youth camper & 2019 program director, and Joe Micon, camp director, who is leading his 40th consecutive LUM Camp this year. Be a part of something epic.

Volunteer camp counselors must be 18 years old, enjoy working with children and be able to spend the entire week at camp. Counselors are needed from 11 a.m. Monday, July 29 to 4 p.m. Friday, August 2. Join Marlena & Joe and make this the year YOU make a difference in the lives of local children.

To apply or find out more information, click HERE.