21 Years of Nothin’ but FUN

Twenty two years ago I sat in a Sunday Morning service in my home church and moaned when a guest speaker was announced. It softened the blow that  I was familiar with him,  he had been at my college for a brief time and was now from Orange County, California with some ministry to share.  I started half listening.  By the end I was whole listening and totally committed to Wayne Tesch’s vision.                                                                                                                                         A year later I joined 38 volunteers from our church to host one week of summer camp for kids in state custody.  Abused, neglected, forgotten kids from foster homes.    It’s been a staple of my summer ever since.                                                                                                                                  A few weeks ago, I completed my 21st year of Royal Family Kids Kamp.   I spent 16 years at Camp  in Oklahoma,  one year at Camp  in Parker Colorado and the last four years in Springfield, Missouri.  For twenty of those years I’ve been the activities director planning and executing hundreds of crafts and exploration stations.                                                                                           It’s the hardest week I’ll ever love.  RFKC is based on the starfish story. I’m still amazed to find people who don’t know the story,  it’s such a basis of our ministry. (https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/503244-the-star-thrower)   Over the years I’ve been able to make a difference in hundreds of kids,  it’s hard to find a number because some of them return to us year after year.  Others come and go once.  My stories could fill several books and many of them still bring tears to my eyes.  Over the years veteran staff members are able to accept that we only have 6120 minutes with these kids.   We can’t fix their lives;  we can’t change their circumstances,  but we make a difference for a few days.   We give them a chance to play games with safe and caring adults.   We host a giant birthday party for everyone.  We put those kids on the stage to perform their own brand of talent,  yes,  burping can be entertaining.  We give them a chance to be brave on the rock wall or zipline, in a swimming pool.   We let them explore all kinds of messy art supplies.  We let them be kids.                                                                                           One year a social worker commented,  “I can’t tell the foster kids from the regular kids”.   Another year, a child said,  “Hey,  all these kids are foster kids like me”.  She didn’t see herself as different for the first time in a very long time.  Thank you,  that’s our goal.  That foster kids can have a few days of just being a regular kid.                                                                                                       Learn more at forthechildren.org 

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