Yearly Archives: 2013

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Camp Volunteer Information

So you may be interested in volunteering. Not to discourage you, but not everyone that desires to volunteer has the opportunity to do so. Our first priority is the safety and well being of the children we serve. That said, we do have camps all over the United States. Each camp is a part of our national network of camps. Here’s what we were able to accomplish last year –> http://royalfamilykids.org/stats-on-foster-kids/

UPDATE: Local Camps will be recruiting volunteers for the 2016 summer in February-April, 2016.

The best way to volunteer and/or get involved is to contact the Camp Director through their contact information listed here (see your state) –> http://royalfamilykids.org/locate-a-camp/

The camps have various needs: from volunteering for the entire week of camp to volunteering a day or a few hours (Birthday Party Team, Registration, Welcome Home Reception).

To volunteer for the week of camp it requires:

  • A four page application along with references (minimum 18 years old)
  • A complete background screening including finger printing
  • A thirty minute interview for suitability and camper selection
  • 12 hours of training (provided by the local camp staff)

The process is intense and thorough because of the nature of working with children of abuse. The part-time volunteer positions do not require the same level of training and interviewing, but do require a background screen to be done.

The week of camp is fully planned out with a daily schedule for the campers and their counselors. Each counselor is only responsible for two campers (1 to 2 ratio) which allows for excellent relationship opportunities.

The camps are only held in the summer months (May-August) and when they are “off-season” the Camp Directors are focused on fund-raising, team meetings and various events. Most of the camps begin the counselor recruitment process in February each year. This allows for plenty of time to have individuals complete the requirements before camp. That is the best time to connect with Camp Directors if you wish to volunteer at camp or volunteer part time.

However, you may just want to be a part of raising funds to give “Camperships.” Our camps are offered at no cost to the children so if you’d like to just donate to send a camper that would be a HUGE help. If you would like to be involved with a local camp’s fund-raising they would love to hear from you.

Until then, we’d love to have you receive the Royal Family KIDS email blast. You can do so by filling out the form below.

 

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A Message From Wayne

People often ask me, “What is most rewarding about Royal Family KIDS?” I tell them, “After the campers, it’s the adult volunteers (ages 18-90) who are committed to sharing compassion and wisdom with our children.” Our incredible adult volunteers help to create the healing community for the children we serve as they model Deuteronomy 6:4-9:4

“Hear, O Israel! (RFK Community) The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children (Campers) and shall talk of them when you sit in your house (Cabin) and when you walk (Hike) by the way and when you lie down (30-30 time) and when you rise up (Polar Bear Swim). 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand (Values Wrist Bands) and they shall be as frontals on your forehead (Memory Book Photo Album). 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house (Cabin) and on your gates.”

This is the “Community” creating memories that last a lifetime. Adults are key to the process, so I want to say, “Thank you to all the adults who serve for the children.”

Wayne Tesch

Co-Founder & CEO

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A Flickering Smile

ONE LOOK AT CALEB AND YOU COULD FEEL HIS OVERWHELMING PAIN: his eyes held a sadness no eight-year-old child should have to bear. His silence spoke volumes. He couldn’t look any adult in the eye.

But as the week of Royal Family KIDS Camp progressed, so did Caleb. A flickering smile. The flash of a dimple. A chuckle he just couldn’t contain. We watched with joy as Caleb opened up, let down his guard and became … a “regular” kid. That’s what happens when hurting children begin to heal – when they feel safe, when they experience real love.

One afternoon at camp, Caleb was digging in the sand near the water. His Counselor asked what he was doing. Caleb said, “I’m digging for pirate treasure.” His Counselor replied, “What will you do with the treasure once you find it?” Caleb, not missing a beat in his intense pursuit of treasure, said, “I am going to buy myself my own Royal Family KIDS Camp so I never have to leave.”

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Reflections On Camp By A Former Royal Family KIDS Camper

After seeing the movie, CAMP, based on Royal Family KIDS Camp, Michelle*, a former Royal Family KIDS Camper, was deeply moved. Here are her reactions:

“The beginning of the movie while Eli was with his parents… taunted me. I remember my uncle treating me similar to the way Eli’s mom treated him. I, too, was forced to stay in my room and told that I didn’t deserve a birthday party that year. Although my birthday was forgotten, it was later celebrated at camp. The most touching part of the movie for me was the ending when all the campers departed from their counselors, not knowing whether they would ever see each other again. When I was in that situation, all I could do was pray that I would see my counselor again. Eli was lucky to reunite with his counselor after camp, just as I had. I love this movie! It’s important to hear other people’s stories because it makes me realize that I’m not the only one who had to overcome such hardships.”

*Name has been changed to protect the child’s identity

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A Royal Thank You: Passing The Scepter After 14 Years Of Service

Rob and Sharon Macioce of Spring, Texas are ‘retiring’ as Camp Directors after 14 years of service to children in foster care with Royal Family KIDS! As we say a grateful goodbye, we share their memories of lives changed:

“Friends,

My wife and I spent the week of June 10th, 2013 directing the Royal Family KIDS Camp sponsored by Woods Edge Community Church. Including our training in 2000, we have been part of Royal Family for 14 years.  I also had the privilege of serving on the Camp Cabinet for 11 years, and was Chairman of that committee for 4 years.  In that span of time, we hosted over 350 abused, abandoned and neglected children.

We have had over 550 amazing volunteers serving over 70,000 combined hours of their free time. Financially, over $250,000.00 has been invested in our campers.   We have had a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, professional football players, cheerleaders, magicians,  professional dancers and even a gentleman that taught the children to mold clay grace our camps over the years.  At any given camp, our staff represented in excess of ten different churches in and around our community.   Another camp in Tyler, Texas was birthed from our first camp.  They have hosted 11 camps.  We expect to birth another camp soon.  Our church has sponsored four TRAC camps and a TRAC mentoring program.

This year was special for a couple of reasons.  On Thursday at our Birthday Party, we had two returning campers as special guests.  A 21 year old young man and a 17 year old young woman came to the party to hand out the boy and girl birthday bags.  The young man attended three of our camps.  A special moment occurred when he went up to a member of our birthday team and said, “HI COUSIN JAY!”  Little did we know we were going to have a reunion of camper and counselor.  That was truly an unplanned surprise.  The young lady attended 6 camps and all 4 TRAC camps.  There were tears of joy from my wife and three members of our team that were on staff when they attended camp and of course, I managed a few tears myself.

I share all this with you because my wife and I have directed our last Royal Family KIDS Camp.  We are stepping down as directors.  It is time for us to pass the scepter; to bring new leadership to our team.   It is quite likely we will continue to serve Royal Family KIDS and mentor the new directors.   I expect we will be connected to Royal Family KIDS in the years to come.

So, what do all these years of serving mean at the end of the day?  Sure, we have memories that will last the rest of our lives.  We will have stories to share as “honored guests” at future training sessions for new volunteers.  Some are quite funny, some are testimonies that one week DOES make a difference, and some are gut-wrenching realities of the pain of abuse.

But the real story of Royal Family KIDS is about a loving God.  It is about his call to Wayne and Diane Tesch to heal the pain of the abused.  It is about their call to stop the cycle of abuse, one child at a time.  Royal Family KIDS is about a loving God that can heal the hurts of a child.  It is about God using ordinary people to demonstrate his love, create positive memories and build self-esteem in the lives of children.  It is truly a ministry of hope, a message of God’s plan for the future of our campers.

Early on in my years as a director, I told Wayne that I had learned that Royal Family Kids was a ministry for adults, and God using kids to change their lives.  Where else can you bring 50 adults together, ranging from late teens to grandparents, all with one passion: to serve foster children.

We have witnessed adoptions, couples becoming foster parents, marriages being strengthened and young adults with the desire to become camp directors and spread the ministry.  My wife and I have attended 9 weddings of volunteers that have served at Royal Family KIDS.  One wedding was a couple that actually met as a result of Royal Family KIDS.

Sunday after Sunday at church I share hugs with a number of folks that have one thing common.  They answered the call to serve the abused child.  Sometimes not a word is spoken.  That person may be a teenager or a 60 year old adult.  In my world, they are all family.  I believe we will always have that relationship, even when our Lord and Master is handing them the jewels for their crowns in heaven.

And of course there are the campers.  We love them dearly, and they are in our prayers.  Today at church I was able to speak to our congregation about our 13 years of directing our camp.  I shared our love for the abused child and our passion to break the cycle one child at a time.  I told a story of a child that came up to me at our first camp and asked that Sharon and I adopt her.  That story had a very happy ending by the way.  Two months after camp she was adopted by a member of our staff and lived with that family until the age of 18.

But then there is the pain we share with our campers.  While it was an honor to share our ministry and our years of experience with Royal Family KIDS this morning, before leaving I was informed of a suicide.  I attended the funeral this afternoon.  I was heart- broken.  A foster father committed suicide this week.  He was the foster father of the very same 17 year old young lady that I mentioned earlier that returned to our camp this year to hand out the birthday bags.  Just a few weeks ago she was being honored by our staff and today she was sobbing at the loss of yet another dad.  I cannot possibly put into words the emotions I experienced when she broke from the family and ran into my arms.  As she wept, I shared my love for her as I so desperately wanted to heal all of her pain.   You see, once you allow God to use you and the talents he has given you, he will also bless you.  Today, I was able to share a ministry, and the very same day I was there to love a heart broken child.

Yes, we are stepping down as camp directors.  However, we have over 300 new kids in our family to remind us of the power of a loving God.  We have over 500 new Christian friends that we consider brothers and sisters in Christ.  Not to mention all the amazing staff at the corporate office and directors around the world that understand everything I am trying to say in this letter.

To our successors, we pass the scepter with pride.  To our staff over 13 years of camps, we share in God’s response of ‘job well done.’  To Wayne and Diane Tesch and Sue and Dave Watkins, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

– Rob and Sharon Macioce

 

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Best Day Of My Whole Life

After mentoring little nine-year-old Sarah for a year, Lindsey felt like she had failed. While other Club kids hugged their mentors and bubbled with excitement whenever they saw them, Sarah was quiet and withdrawn. Lindsey tried everything to connect with her,  but nothing seemed to work. Like a lot of children who have been abused, Sarah seemed emotionally “frozen,” as if nothing was interesting or exciting.

For their last mentoring session of the year, Lindsey took Sarah out for dinner to see a Disney film. After the movie, the two rode home in silence. But when Sarah opened the car door to get out, she turned around and whispered to Lindsey, “This has been the best day … of my whole life.”

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A Royal Wedding

Erie, Pennsylvania: Royal Family KIDS Camp counselors Kim Ball and Chris Bost were married on June 15th where Erie conducts their camp. The ceremony was in the camp chapel, the reception was in the dining hall and the dance floor was at the activities pavilion. Kim and Chris met at camp training exactly 2 years ago, and returned this Summer for their third year as counselors. The couple are the 5th pair of volunteers from the Erie camp to wed since the camp began in 2005.

(Pictured: Royal Family KIDS counselors Kim Ball & Chris Bost along with Erie, PA director Joel Miller – on the right in a purple shirt of course.)

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Fostering Hope – Day 30 – Old Made New

Old Made New

It was a balmy 95 degrees on the San Antonio river walk. As the boat drifted along on its half-hour sightseeing voyage, the captain was commenting on points of interest, and then he said something that caught my ear. He said, “Here in San Antonio, we don’t like to get rid of things that are old. We prefer to rehabilitate them, and make them into something that is new.”

At 16, she was used to taking care of herself. From the few stories she shared, I knew that life had been chaos, and I suspected that what she spoke barely scratched the surface of what childhood was actually like for her. Her family tree included generations of substance abuse and domestic violence. I asked how she coped and she laughed a little. “I used to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day – started when I was 7. By 10 I was drinking alcohol every day. But that’s in the past – I’ve been clean for a year.” She went on to tell me that most people just saw her as yet another chapter in the old story of a broken family – a kid with no hope and no future. But then she met a teacher who was dif-ferent. Who paid extra attention to her. Offered to help her after school so she could catch up with her peers. Believed in her. Told her how she could be different from her family history. How she could be somebody new.

The truth is I’ve seen teens in foster care who I haven’t believed were fixable. Who I don’t spend much time with because the yield seems so low, so unlikely to be worth anything of value. Who I don’t love as much as I should because I don’t think it will matter. But we are not in this to throw out kids, to deem them as old and useless, but rather to REdeem them, to give them opportunities to be made new and useful.

God, give me new eyes today – ones that can see what is possible.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Prayer: Dear God, these are Your children. They were Your children yesterday living under a bridge, and they will be Your children tomorrow in a foster home. Only You know the divine plan for each of these children. Remind us gently and often that You will, and always have, taken care of that which is Yours. Thank You for loving these children. Amen.

http://www.fosteringhopeproject.org

Fostering Hope – Day 29 – Heaven Meets Earth

Heaven Meets Earth

He was a three-and-a-half feet tall bundle of emotion. In a few short years, he had unfortunately witnessed much more bad than good, a fact that became painfully clear to his foster parents as he ran screaming through the house. As they struggled to settle his fears, their silent prayers were filled with doubt. What could they do? They weren’t equipped to handle a kid like this. Finally the screaming stopped, and there was silence, except for the quiet sobs of a little broken heart. The man fell to his knees. “We will never hurt you.” At these simple words the sobs stopped. Time seemed to stand still as child and adult locked eyes. Then the most unexpected thing – a sloppy, wet, little boy kiss planted firmly on his foster dad’s cheek. He ran off to play, leaving his caregivers stunned, realizing that heaven met earth for just a moment that day.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11 (NIV)

Prayer for Foster Children: Now I lay me down to sleep, Lord these precious babes are yours to keep. Shield their hearts from fear and pain; pouring grace like gentle rain. As they close their eyes in slum-ber, we beseech you Father, for blessings abundant. Cover them in peace and faith, a hedge of angels before them place; banish the demons and evils too, and keep their hearts so pure and true. God bless one and God bless all, the innocent victims of the fall. Help me Father heed the call and love these hearts so very small. And when they wake by morning’s break, may joy and peace be theirs to take. Amen.

Did you know?
Fewer than 10% of all child abuse allegations are related to sexual abuse. Yet 25% of ALL WOMEN say they experi-enced sexual abuse as a child.

http://www.fosteringhopeproject.org

Fostering Hope – Day 28 – Trust

Trust

I remember it like it happened yesterday. She was 14, and in my office for a check-up. We talked through some of the normal stuff that I like to know – how she is doing in this foster home, her school grades, whether she has good friends. Oh, and what about boys? On that day the conversation was easy, although it hadn’t always been. After a few moments of catching up, she handed me a notebook. The cover was faded blue and torn a little bit. It was also a little discol-ored, as if water had spilled on it. Or perhaps tears. I didn’t say any-thing, but my eyes must have asked the question. “It’s my story,” she answered. “My counselor made me write it, then told me I had to find someone I trust to show it to. I have carried it around a while, but I decided I wanted to show it to you.”

I opened the pages slowly, carefully. Contained there were stories, poems, and drawings, each representing a piece of her history. Sto-ries about her family, about loss and grief, but also joy and excite-ment. Pictures of her siblings, who she rarely saw but thought of of-ten. I sat next to her on the exam table as we thumbed through the pages, and she filled me in on even more details than the pages con-tained.

It was a holy moment – a sacred time. One that changed me. Like many people, somewhere between childhood and adulthood I quit trusting people. Got burned a few times. But the truth is that trusting people is part of our DNA. Without it we aren’t fully able to engage the humanity around us. Aren’t fully able to enjoy all that a relation-ship offers. It is not something to be entered into carelessly, to be sure. But if we are able to trust and be trusted, we will experience an unusual depth to our relational interactions.

That kid needed someone to trust. And I needed the reminder that so do I.

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)

http://www.fosteringhopeproject.org