by Sarah Arrowood
A day in the life of a house parent at French Camp Academy is anything but typical! There are currently 11 boys living in our home, but that number will fluctuate during the school year so there’s always someone learning the ropes.
Bright and early each day, I start cooking breakfast at 5 a.m. All the guys slowly meander into the kitchen to eat at 6 a.m. Each young man has house duty in the morning to keep our house looking good. Jobs such as washing the dishes, emptying trash, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and vacuuming happen before school each day. We all meet for devotions at 7 a.m. and then head off to school at 7:20 a.m.
Like most house parents, my husband and I have other responsibilities outside of the home. We work in the dining hall here on campus as well as manage the campus pantry. Other house parents teach or work in other campus ministries.
We usually arrive home around 1 or 2 p.m. and begin getting ready for all those sweaty, smiling guys to arrive at 3 p.m. They are home just long enough to grab a snack, change clothes, and head off to sports or work crew which lasts until 5 p.m. When they get back home, we head down to the dining hall for supper.
After supper we have a chance to have some fun. Some nights we may go to the pool or lake, or we may just hang out at the house playing games and making music. Scheduled phone calls from home are closely monitored to ensure everyone gets an opportunity to speak to family.
The showers and laundry start around 7:30 p.m. because everyone has study hall at 8:00 p.m. Study hall time can be very trying. The typical “But I don’t have any homework!”, “I’m hungry, I need a snack.”, and don’t forget the, “My teacher never explained this.” can be heard coming from at least half of the rooms. All will be addressed before bedtime at 9:00 p.m. After an intense day the boys are usually out cold by 9:30 p.m. After praying over our boys, my husband and I may sit and chat awhile about the day’s events, but we typically head to bed soon because it all starts again at 5 a.m. in the morning!
On Saturday mornings students have work crew from 9 a.m. until noon. After lunch in the dining hall there are planned activities for all students. Saturday and Sunday evening meals are family meals in the house. Sundays find us in church worshiping together as a family and eating lunch family style in the dining hall.
Steve and Sarah Arrowood are serving their eighth year as Day Home Houseparents.