Monthly Archives: August 2015

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“God gave me my life for a reason.”

“I was first placed in foster care while in kindergarten. I was very young then, but this is one of my earliest memories. My parents were going through rough times. My father was an alcoholic and had trouble maintaining a job. He was usually getting arrested by the police. My mom tried too, but she was a drug addict. I went in and out of foster homes from the ages of 5 to 8. During those years, I was mad that I had to move around so many times and live with so many strangers.  In my mind, I always knew that somehow I would go back home to my parents. The last time I was taken away from my parents, my dad had asked me if I thought calling the social worker was the best thing to do, and I agreed. The police came and took us away to the police station, where a social worker picked us up and separated the four of us.  Being the oldest, I was usually placed alone so that my brothers and sister could be placed together in the same home.

I felt lonely during those years, but I knew that sooner or later, I would reunite with my family. When I found out my dad had died and my mother had fled home to Mexico, abandoning us, my heart sank.  Even in my young nine-year-old mind, I was beginning to grasp the big picture. We would be stuck in foster care indefinitely. I was a tough kid by this point.  I sucked it up and maintained as best I could in every home I was placed; 13 foster homes in all.  My last foster dad adopted me when I was 13. He gave me and my second oldest brother, Randy, a good home.  I still maintain a good relationship with my adopted dad.  He encouraged me to think ahead about my future and what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to join the army. He agreed it was a good idea to serve my country and set up a foundation of success for my life.

I first came to RFKC in 1993 through St. Andrews church in Newport Beach. I was nine years old at this time. I had lived in a group home in Anaheim Hills from 1992-1996.  My first impression of RFKC was it being full of very nice people who honestly cared a lot about us.  I had no role models at this time in my life as all the staff members in the group home where women. I grew attached to uncle Ken and aunt Kerry. They were in their mid 20s when I met them.  I thought Ken was an awesome guy, and I liked hanging out with him at camp. He was the “uncle” for my first and second years at camp. He finally became my counselor in my third and last year at camp.

Every year I wished I could go back to camp and live there forever. I used to go to bed thinking about it as my happy place. I even thought that the camp counselors lived there all year long!  Ken began to visit me every week and took me to church on Sundays at St. Andrews. We maintained our relationship even through the many moves in my life.  I still go over to his house and visit him and his wife Kerry and their three kids. He has been a big brother to me for most of my life, and we will probably be friends for a very long time. I still look to him for guidance.

RFKC was a place full of good people who wanted to make a difference in young kids lives. Before camp, I had never gone to church before, and did not know anything about God. I was given my first Bible and taught Bible stories. I know this camp made a huge impact on my life.

Every day my camp counselor and my roommate got up early and go hiking with the other boy’s cabins. It was such a relief to get away from my group home with all the yelling and screaming going on there every day. Our first camp was situated passed Six Flags Magic Mountain in a huge campground. It had hiking trails in the Hills, big flat grassy fields, a basketball court, and my favorite, the big pool. It was hard to say goodbye at the end of the week and know that we were going back to our foster homes.

This summer will be my fifth year as a camp counselor. I have never met so many good people in my life. Everyone volunteered vacation time to come to camp. I thought that since RFKC had made such a huge impact in my life, I should help keep that tradition going strong. I had never known Jesus until camp, and now I am helping kids learn about Him for the first time as well. It is a good feeling knowing that unconditional love has been introduced to them.

I love hanging out with the kids and other counselors and staff members. Everyone is so friendly, and is there to have a really good time. I still wish I could live there all year long!

Someone once asked me if I could go back in time and be back again with my real parents, would I do it? I thought about it seriously, and replied that I would not give up my current life to start all over at eight years old. I have met so many good people, had so many good experiences with my friends, coworkers, and family that I cannot dream of giving away all my good memories. God gave me my life for a reason.

The only week I get off every year I spend entirely in having the privilege of being a camp counselor. I get to help spread the love of Jesus to kids who really need Him in their lives. I try to tell them to hold their heads high, because someday they too will have the opportunity to become a person who makes a difference in the lives of others.  There is no better feeling in the world than to see a young abused kid happy again. To give him or her hope for a better future is indescribable!

For many years now, Royal Family Kids has been spreading across the country and the world, reaching out to foster kids, and giving them the experience of getting to know who Jesus is. It is a great organization full of very caring people. I hope to continue being a camp counselor for as long as I can. I love going to camp and being a kid again. I hope that you enjoyed my story and can spread the good news about our camp.”

Alex (former camper)

Donate to Royal Family KIDS today!

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God Loves Me

“Welcome to RFK! As I’m sure you know, the hardest part about camp – at least for me – is trying to sum up or pick the highlights of the week. There are SO MANY stories that I could share, but I think one of the most powerful is this one.
We had a returning camper we’ll call “Brian” who was coming for his last year. He and his siblings came for the first time two years ago. Last year, his younger brother was too sickly to come, so it was just him and his sister. His sister graduated last year. This year his brother was again too sickly so that just left him.  Last year – unbeknownst to Brian –  his counselor moved to California after camp, but promised that he would return for camp in order to be there for Brian’s last year. Brian was all set to come to camp. In Brian’s home, his parents are physically and verbally abusive to each other.
On Monday morning, when the kids were arriving for camp, Brian’s mother emailed Jean and told her that Brian got an infection on his lip and would be unable to attend camp. No one really believed that that was the issue and my wife was emailing Brian’s mom, back and forth, encouraging her to allow him to come to camp.  Jean told Brian’s mom that Aaron, his counselor, flew in from California just for him. That meant so much to Brian. Unfortunately, it was too late for him to get ready.  We agreed that on Tuesday,  Aaron, one of the camp social workers, and another staff member would drive down in order to pick Brian up and bring him to camp.
Brian’s first two years of camp were very quiet. He didn’t say much at all. He enjoyed the activities, and he liked Aaron, but that was about it. This year, things were different!!  For one thing, he came to camp wearing his camper shirt from last year, along with a necklace he made in the art center. Also, from the minute that he got into the car, he was talking non-stop to Aaron. He said, “If you flew all the way from California for camp, I know God must love me.” Now the rest of his conversation wasn’t as comforting. He poured out his heart about what has been going on in his home. He was speaking quietly because he didn’t want anyone but Aaron to hear, but the Social Worker and the other staff member (our prayer warrior) heard everything as well – without showing that they heard. It gave insight into how the prayer warrior could pray and what the social worker(s) should look out for.
This was the year that Brian graduated. But we believe that over the last three years God has been planting seeds in the lives of Brian and his entire family. His mother, though going through unimaginable turmoil, is quietly blessed by the week’s worth of positive memories in the lives of her children.
Brian’s is just one of many stories…”
A story from James, Director of pre-teens in NY.
Donate now! To send even more derserving foster kids to camp.
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Buy 1 Give 100!!

Do you ever wish you could buy a really awesome t-shirt online and know that with your purchase, you’re also raising money to send a foster child to camp?? If so, we have some great news to share with you!! Now you can!! For the next 4 months, Hope Outfitters is partnering with Royal Family KIDS to raise $15,000 to give as many kids as possible the opportunity to have a life-changing experience at camp!

Thousands of kids in the foster system today have never been told that they are loved; they’ve never had a birthday party or a steady place to call home. We want to show them just how precious they are to God because when you find out that you are a SON or DAUGHTER of the KING, your life changes!!” 

Hope Outfitters is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2013 to make a difference. Since its inception, they have raised money for many different causes including digging wells in India, supporting an orphanage in Africa, and even supporting a local homeless shelter. Their slogan is their promise to their supporters: that for every 1 purchase, 100% of the proceeds is donated to the causes they support.

This is a movement away from greed, because we have seen the needs of those around us and can no longer sit back and do nothing.  With your purchase you’re helping to take care of the “least of these” and together we are becoming the salt and light of the earth.”

Buy 1 Give 100 today!! Let’s show our support for this amazing organization by purchasing some awesome gear and help send more deserving foster kids to camp!!

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Positive Changes

“I just wanted to thank all of the Royal Family KIDS Camp staff and volunteers for all that you do for kids. I’ve had a few kids that go to the camp and all of them LOVE the experience!

I’m writing today because I had a home visit with one of the children on my caseload on Tuesday. This particular boy has had behavioral issues since coming into care over a year ago. He refused to bond with his foster mother and was consistently in trouble at school and daycare. I would go over for a visit and he would hang his head and not want to interact. He had a very bad attitude in his foster home and had become defiant. And then….God.

I literally saw a different child. He was upbeat, smiling and laughing. He had an air of confidence that he did not have before. He was so excited to show me his scrapbook from camp and name all the new friends he met. He and his sister even showed me every song/cheer they learned at camp. His foster mother reported he has done a complete 180. She said she knows it was the camp experience and the many prayers that were said for him. She said she is so glad she didn’t give up on him and I am too. My heart was so full after that visit with him.

Thanks again. Royal Family KIDS Camp is a true blessing.”

– Case Worker