Monthly Archives: October 2015

bday

God’s Beauty in the Details

“That first experience as a camp director was a big step on my journey from a self-centered life to a Jesus-centered life. I remember meeting Eric at that first camp. Eric was a nine-year-old foster child. I was sitting next to him during the birthday celebration for all of the kids. Gifts were handed out to each child. Eric had placed his gift box next to him and was slowly and carefully peeling back the seal on the envelope that was attached to the top of the gift. He pulled out the card and stared at the front of it for a long time. He then slowly opened the card and stared at the inside of the card. When he closed it and began staring at the front cover again, I grew anxious. 

“Eric,” I said, “Don’t you want to open your present?” 

He never once took his eyes off that card. He just said, “This is a birthday card. I have never had a birthday card before.”” 

– Richard Tizzano

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Anything is possible!

“Our first year, I asked one of our campers, Danny, if he liked having camp on a college campus. He exclaimed, “Yes, I love it! It’s really pretty and it makes me want to go here.” 

I told him that he definitely could attend this college one day, but Danny said he couldn’t because his foster parents told him he was about to flunk out of fifth grade and would be flipping burgers for the rest of his life. For the rest of the week, we really worked to build up Danny’s self-esteem. A few weeks later, a couple from our camp became his foster parents. He immediately went from getting D’s and F’s to receiving A’s and B’s. It was clear that in order to succeed, Danny simply needed people in his life who truly loved and supported him. Today Danny is married and is a US Marine in the Special Forces. He visited us at one of our RFK trainings a few years ago to see everyone and thank them. God is doing wonderful things in his life”

-Rhonda Montgomery

cake

“I’ve never had a birthday party.”

“While my wife and I were walking from the swimming pool to the cafeteria, I was complaining and moaning about it being at such an exhausting camp. I was really upset because my birthday was coming up that Thursday, while we were at camp (I would turn 26).

Robin was trying to console me and confront my attitude when Jason spoke up behind me: “Hey, it’s my birthday this week, too!”

Without realizing it, a group of children had been following us. I was so embarrassed. Did you know that children listen to adult conversations? I found out that they do. I spun around and got down on his level to ask about his favorite birthday gift or party (a common question I ask kids). His answer stripped away what little I had left of my worldview.

“I’ve never had a birthday party.”

I didn’t have any words. I was stunned. I grew up in a very chaotic childhood, and yet even we had birthday celebrations. What kind of world do I live in where children are not celebrated, are not told how precious they are, are not recognized at all? Oh, so this is the world of abandonment, abuse, and neglect.

Injustice consumed my thoughts, and I had a choice to make. I could play the “oh, that’s sad” game and go on my way, or I could choose to make a difference to this one. I went down to the nearest store and bought a watch for Jason. I asked my wife how I should go about giving it to him. She replied back with a much more complicated question.

“What about the other children? How many of them haven’t had a birthday celebration?”

I was trying to do my one “God deed” and take care of Jason, and along comes a mom who thinks about all the children. I thought Jason’s story was an anomaly, an outlier. We asked and found out that none of the children had birthday celebrations, and two of the little girls didn’t even know the date they were born.

What’s wrong with us? We can procreate, but we can’t celebrate? We can make children, but can’t nurture them? Not on my watch; not while they are in our care. We had birthday celebrations for every camper. We sang the song, we ate the cake, and we had presents for each one of them. They tore into the gifts while the adults stood by and cried a mixture of joy and shame.

Oh, the children have taught us plenty. I can say that they have wrecked my world, and now I see them all in shades of royal purple. I’m a “lifer” because I am no longer ignoring our responsibility and calling to the least of these, our modern-day orphans. All we wanted to do was run a camp for hurting children. Then all we wanted to be was world changers. Now, we understand the importance of just changing the world of one.”

– Glenn Garvin (VP of Camps, Clubs, and Mentors)