Watch party at Barnabas is "Extreme"

Thursday, October 20, 2005
A look inside: After the premiere of the Extreme Home Makeover Camp Barnabas episode, the Teas family invited the watch party audience to tour their new home and the other new camp facilities. Democrat Photo

Around 300 individuals attended the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" watch party at Camp Barnabas on Oct. 16.

Contractors, family members and friends gathered in the Bless All Mess Hall at Camp Barnabas to watch the premiere of the Extreme Home Makeover Camp Barnabas episode on ABC.

"The words 'thank you' seem quite inadequate," said Paul. "There is no way to express to you all the feelings we've had in the last few weeks."

Paul admitted that he knew Camp Barnabas was a finalist for the Extreme Makeover show but did not know the camp had been picked until the design team showed up on Aug. 17.

"Every day we wake up and wonder if this is reality," said Cyndy. "Today it feels even less like reality."

Cyndy said she did over two hours of interviews after they returned to Camp Barnabas on Aug. 24.

"I wish I could talk to each one of you individually," said Cyndy. "Everyone I talked to had a story of how God worked in their life during that week."

Paul and Cyndy were escorted from interview to interview while the room of restless individuals waited for the Camp Barnabas premiere.

"I've been told by ABC that it's the best show they've ever done," said Cyndy during one interview. "I can't wait to see how they captured the kids."

Although, the Teas have heard from several old campers and staff members since the Camp Barnabas Makeover previews began, Cyndy can't imagine what the aftermath of the premiere will be.

The two-hour Camp Barnabas Makeover episode brought cheers, tears, clapping and laughter from the large audience, as each person was transported back to that magical extreme week in August.

After the Teas were sent on vacation to Hilton Head, S.C., the Extreme Makeover design team burned their outdated A-frame house.

"The Teas' old house was structurally unsound," said Preston Sharp, Extreme Home Makeover designer.

"If you look at the cost of repairing all this," said Paul, "how many tuitions are those?"

The old house was replaced with a new rustic ranch style home, which features cathedral ceilings, a large kitchen and several pieces of camp-related art.

Designers built a large tree that displays many of the campers' hands as replicas of leaves.

"I thought about each time God held my hand and walked me through this walk of faith and there were all those little hands I've had the opportunity to hold," said Cyndy, "and I hope a million more hands get on that tree. Those are precious little hands on that tree."

Trace Teas was surprised with a University of Missouri inspired bedroom.

"I love my school," said Trace. "I can't think of a better room for me."

Kayman received a beach hide-a-way bedroom in the new Teas home.

"They took the idea of a beach and ran with it," said Kayman. "The dock bed was amazing. It really did look like the pier just stretches out into the ocean."

The new home also features several framed black and white photos of campers and volunteers.

After the Teas' family toured their new home, they were surprised to learn of two other new structures at Camp Barnabas.

One new facility is the Barnabunk, which features 40 beds for camp volunteers, two large bathrooms and double washers and dryers.

"Volunteers are so important to our program," said Paul. "They're kind of the meat and muscle on our frame that makes Barnabas work. To be able to offer a significant number of them these outstanding accommodations is tremendous."

The second new structure, called The Silver Lining, is a multi-media building for campers to enjoy during rainy days. The building features a large game and video room and several indoor restroom facilities.

"The Lord blessed us 10,000 times more than I could ever imagine," said Cyndy.

As the premiere ended, the Teas invited the audience to tour the new camp facilities.

"I am so thankful to be able to show it," said Cyndy. "It is so wonderful to let people see it."

Cyndy said she felt ABC reflected the camp kids well but didn't understand why the designers continuously talked about her sacrifice.

"It doesn't feel like a sacrifice," said Cyndy. "When Ty talked about our sacrifice, I thought, you just don't get it. I think by the end of the week he started to get it."

Cyndy said the last two months have been a whirlwind of phone calls. She hopes the premiere of the episode will inspire others to start camps like Camp Barnabas.

"I feel like this whole thing is a miracle," said Cyndy. "I want people to know, don't be afraid to step out and do it because God has a great journey for all of us."

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