LAKE WALES (FOX 13) - An 11-year-old boy in Polk County chose to spend his Thanksgiving break away from home this year. Carson Rudy is camping out on a billboard platform 21 feet in the air to raise money for a cause close to his heart.
Carson is participating in the Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge to help fund missionary work. His campaign is called "Up in the Air," because that's exactly where he's living this week. He and his father have set up camp on some scaffolding on top of their church's billboard, and that's where they'll stay from November 18 through 23.
Despite temperatures that tipped into the 40's Monday morning, Carson Rudy seemed unfazed.
"It was kinda chilly, I guess," Carson told FOX 13.
His dad, Pastor Shawn Rudy, says it was frigid.
They kept themselves warm inside a tent with a small heater. Along with the makeshift heating system, there is a camping toilet hidden by the screen, and a refrigerator for snacks.
Shawn comes down from his perch and uses the bathroom when necessary. But, Carson is a die hard. He uses the camping toilet, and only comes down for 15 minutes a day to take a shower.
As the word spreads, people stop by to make a donation. Carson lowers down a bucket, the donation goes in, and he pulls the bucket back up again.
In this fundraiser alone, Carson has raised more than $6,500. With his dad's help, he has been raising money to fund missions his entire life. His goal is to reach $100,000 by the end of the year-- and as of Sunday, he has $11,000 to go.
The money will go to various projects around the world, including drilling wells in Africa, and manufacturing portable medical clinics that can be used when natural disaster strikes.
"He is our treasure," Said Richard Haddon, a fellow member of Impact Church. "You don't find kids like this every day."
Carson began his stint last Friday. He plans to wrap up the day before Thanksgiving, this Wednesday.
"I am very proud as a father for him to have a passion for the lost and the children of the world," " said Shawn.
For more information about the Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge, go to bgmc.ag.org/index.cfm.