“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.
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