Monthly Archives: July 2015

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Thank You RFKC!!

An encouraging letter. This is why we do what we do…

 

Hi Bart and Karen –

There is so much to thank you and dozens of others for with camp this year!  Do you take these moments to stop, and reflect how the memories of brief weeks will impact these kids beliefs for the rest of their lives?  Beliefs about themselves, about their abilities, about others, about God, about the ease of making friends, resolving conflict?  It’s just such a wow.  As I watched craft after prize after treasure emerge from their bags, things they had made, things important people had made for them.  And the photo books!  I’m a curmudgeon photo-wise, given that I have trouble with self love and photos, but their bringing these back out, just now and then, is enough to make me give up my Ebenezer chains and click away.

What really is important is this sense they have of “I did,” “I made,” “I jumped… rode… built….” I know it might sound odd, but I’m very pleased/relieved that you also found the boys’ tears to be concerning when I picked them up.  It was great to have my own report to Allendale about it validated, because I guess I can sometimes be overdramatic myself.  So, again, thank you.

In the end, on that score, I have been encouraged to A) acknowledge and empathize with their feelings of sadness and B) not let it drag out for 2 1/2 hours.   Their adoptive “grandparents” from CASA just kept saying what a good sign it was that the experience was THAT meaningful to them.  Which makes sense — in all my years of specialized/therapeutic foster and adoptive parenting, I have never encountered a case this complicated and twisted, where the boys’ roles are almost reversed with their bio parents.  There is so much love among them, which is rare and wonderful, still the pains so deep they’re kind of inexorable.   A week with no visits, no therapy, no double therapy.  Whew.

Tonight, for the first time, Nick (name changed for confidentiality) brought up the *possibility* that Zack may or may not be HIS actual counselor next year, as long as they were in the same cabin, and Nick didn’t get any older, lol.  It’s nice to see the boys processing in a healthy way.

So I hope we will be seeing you and other members when our schedules align!

Now, take the moment to breathe in what you’ve done for others, and the meaning of your work!

With love,

Dan (foster father)

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Where the Heart Is

“I have been distracted this week. My heart is not in California because my heart is in New York. For the past five years (and the past three with my hubster), I have been an individual camp counselor at a beautiful camp called Royal Family Kids Camp in upstate New York. I started there during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, and I haven’t stopped going there for a week out of my summer…until now. For a variety of reasons, Kyle and I couldn’t participate this year, and I want to pause and reflect on where my heart has been this past week.

Royal Family Kids, Inc. is an organization that puts on camps like our Houghton, NY chapter of RFKC for abandoned, abused, and neglected kids (ages 6-12). It’s a week of creating positive memories. It’s a week of being at total surrender and abandon and being humble enough to have a servant’s heart while creating a safe, loving, and fun environment. My first two campers were two sweet, beautiful, eight years old princesses, and after my first year of doing RFKC, I was hooked.

RFKC is family. And that family is a tie that binds across the country, and I have felt that pull in my heart this week. I can’t possibly explain to you the feeling that is inside of me when I think about this camp, and I can’t even begin to describe why this camp means so much to me except to tell you that it’s the closest thing to heaven on earth that I have ever experienced. There’s big burly men having tea parties with 8 year olds; my husband dresses up in a dress just to make kids laugh; we make fun of the counselors; grown women and men with a variety of professional degrees are singing songs with hand motions and making faces at each other…there’s cohesion. There’s love. There’s family.

My heart is aching to be at RFKC getting my face painted and tucking two girls into bed after we pray together and read bedtime stories. I want desperately to be chasing kids around through activities while they paint, build rockets, and make crafts. I have never experience deeper Christ-like behavior than I have at RFKC looking into my fellow counselors and staff members faces and seeing their complete relinquishing of their own needs in order to be present for children who need it the most. Miracles happen at RFKC. I don’t say that lightly. I say that with the utmost respect for God. I’ve seen kids come off that bus at the beginning of the week and not be able to look anyone in the eye, convinced that this was just another place that they were sent to get away from whoever is in their past, refusing to become attached to anyone and anything, only to transform through the week into a kid running to get into the pool, making friendship bracelets, singing all of the camp songs up on our stage in front of the camp. One of my girls last year was incredibly quiet and shy, and she performed a song-and-dance number with her fellow cabin mates at our talent show at the end of the week in front of the whole camp. Miracles.

One of my girls last year “graduated” from camp, and I got to say a few words about her and to her during our ceremony that we have to send off our graduates into a world that is scary, but full of potential for them. I got to hold her and see her turn her face up at me, both of our eyes filled with tears, and I received the privilege, along with the rest of the camp, to speak toward and into her future. These are moments I will never forget because, by trying to serve to the best of my ability, I have been transformed by RFKC.

My heart is not in California this week. It’s in the pool (who am I kidding I stopped swimming with those kiddos years ago); it’s on the speedboat; it’s watching my campers catch their first fish. It’s holding art projects, running to and from activities, and doling out portions at meals. It’s not showering for days (me and the campers); it’s staying up too late visiting with my old professors catching up; it’s hugging little ones who are scared of the dark. I love my family over at RFKC, and I desperately yearn to be with you all this week. Kyle and I missed being crazy with abandon with all of you. Blessed be the tie that binds, and we definitely felt that tie this week.

Love, love, love to all of you…you’re doing Kingdom work in the lives of those little ones. I’m proud to know all of you.”

– Carly Trask-Kuchta (RFKC Counselor)

 

Heart Hands

In God’s Hands

This week we have a story from the Royal Family KIDS Camp in Alaska!
Camp Testimony from Female Cousin (Counselor):

“It was a bittersweet camp this year – I was so blessed to have the same two campers I had last year, and one was graduating camp and moving out of state because she was being adopted. On graduation day we both cried because it was her last time at camp. She kept asking “Why does there have to be an age cutoff? I just want to be at Royal Family forever”. Through the tears, I told her this was super exciting because now she was equipped to go out and serve other kids and show them God’s love! Also, during the last night, lying in bed heartbroken, I kept imagining that tomorrow these kids would be walking out from under the safe umbrella that is RFK and back out into their lives, unprotected, unsafe, potentially harmed. I couldn’t stand the unfairness of it and asking God, “Why in the world am I so blessed?” My co-cousin offered a life-changing perspective. We have the opportunity to meet these kids and for a week, sow as much love into their hearts as we can. After that, it is out of our hands, but not out of God’s hands. Having met them, we can now lift them up in prayer by name and trust that they are in God’s hands. How encouraging! Thank you RFK for the opportunity to show God’s love in a tangible way.”
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Forgiveness Realized

Through Royal Family KIDS Camps, God is able to make a significant impact in the lives of these children. Here is another story about how one week, one child, one moment can last a lifetime!

 

 

We had been singing “I Will Change Your Name” each day in our chapel times. During chapel time on Thursday, I was sitting on the stage while everyone was writing down things they wanted to give to God. Beth (named changed for protection) came and sat beside me and started giving her “Testimony” using the words to the song. She wasn’t singing, but just saying the words. I will never forget what she said. She said, “I was Wounded”  (she did the motions to the song with her hands). She said, “My heart was broken into a million pieces and only Jesus has the Super Glue to put it back together, I was Lonely and Afraid, (Motions again), now I am Confident, and Joyfulness ( motions again).”  I said, “Now you are “One Who Seeks My Face”. She said, “No you forgot one!” then she did the motions for “Overcoming One” and said the words then she said, “One Who Seeks My Face”.  She went back to her seat and began to tell her counselor some of the things her step dad had done to her. Then she looked at her and said, “I used to wish my step dad would go there,” and pointed down (to hell). “But if the Pastor can forgive his stepdad then I think I can forgive mine.” If Beth had been the only camper we had, every dollar and every effort would have been worth it all for that precious little girl. I know that God hand-picked her to be there to let her know how much He loves and cares for her!

 

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One Week – All the difference…

Royal Family KIDS Camps are well underway this summer and already making a difference for so many campers! Here is a great story about the impact of a week at RFKC and how a mother believes it has a lasting impact on her child:

“I followed behind the bus back to church at the end of camp, parking one street over from the church because the church parking lot was full.  As I came into the church parking lot, a mom came towards me walking with her daughter, one of our campers. She was listening to her daughter talk quickly and excitedly about camp. The mom stopped me and asked me to wait a moment until she got her child into the car. She came to me and told me that this was her child¹s second year at camp and that her child had talked about camp the entire previous year, remembering and sharing her photo album and big moments and small moments about camp. Her Mom said, “I can¹t give my child much. I haven¹t even been able to keep her safe, but you¹ve enabled me to give her this week of camp, and it is the best thing she¹s ever known.  Thank you.”