Scott Murrish, an active Royal Family KIDS Ambassador, walked into a classroom full of high school freshman to give a two-day presentation on “Sexuality, Health and Relationship Education.” Tough topic. Tougher audience. He immediately recognized a former camper, Brianna*, who was 15. She saw Scott and gave him a reassuring “thumbs up.” With that, Scott dove into a well-put-together and compelling discussion on how these young students can reserve their hearts, minds and bodies for the best future relationship possible: marriage. A segment of this hard-hitting but compassionate curriculum deals very honestly with sexual abuse. In the middle of this difficult part of the lecture, Brianna shocked the room as she stood up. With tears in her eyes, she boldly thanked Scott for so clearly sharing how kids are often abused with no one to stand up for them. Scott’s heart melted at her courage! He says, “Eight years earlier, Brianna came to Royal Family KIDS Camp as a little girl who was repeatedly abused and neglected. Shy and withdrawn, she wouldn’t even play with other children. But now, she is filled with confidence and boldness. This change is nothing short of amazing! After class she told me how she can’t wait to graduate so she can become a Volunteer at Camp. Thanks for helping transform Brianna’s life!”
Twenty-one years of authentic, life-changing ministry. This is the blessing of John and Jude Hubbell’s service as Royal Family KIDS Camp Directors at Camp #8 in Poulsbo, Washington. With God’s help and through the support of friends like you, their Camp has grown from 24 kids to a maxed-out 45. And many of their dedicated Volunteers have been with them from the very beginning!
Although they have many touching memories from Camp, one in particular stands out: a little boy who had faced severe physical abuse, including a tragic attempt on his life. The little guy was strong and fast, and took to running whenever he felt “threatened” … which often times simply meant someone had “invaded” his personal space. John and Jude experienced this little one’s sorrow and fear first-hand. One day, when a Volunteer got too close to the boy, he took off lightning fast. They found him in a top bunk with a plastic bag over his head yelling, “Don’t kill me. Don’t kill me.” For four years, this little one continued to come to Camp, difficult and angry. He bounced around from one foster home to another. But John and Jude consistently showed him love — and told him repeatedly about the never-failing love of God. Today, this troubled little boy has grown into a courageous young man. He shares Bible stories with other children and dreams of one day becoming a pastor. Total life-transformation!
John says, “Jude and I were given a taste of heaven at Camp — working together with a caring staff and faithful army of Volunteers as a brotherhood in Christ, for the common good of the children.” Jude adds, “Royal Family KIDS is doing what God would have us do in taking care of those who have been abused and neglected. Over the years, our team has changed the lives of well over 500 kids for the good. I am anxious to see these precious kids one day in heaven.”
Thank you, John and Jude Hubbell, for faithfully changing lives alongside Royal Family KIDS for over twenty years! We wish you the best as you pass the scepter to the next Directors of Camp #8.
By Wayne Tesch, President, For the Children Foundation
It is truly a joy for me to announce that Chris Carmichael has been appointed the new President of Royal Family KIDS. Chris and I go back to when he and his older brothers (Jon and Eric) were students at Vanguard University. They would frequently join Diane, our daughter Renee, and I for a “feast” at the Tesch home. After college, we would meet again in Portland when I was speaking or visiting Camp Directors. My intentions were to see if he would be willing to serve on the Board of Directors someday.
He was operating his own business and I knew he was man of great character. His positive attitude was contagious, and his ideas were unique and cutting-edge. You might recall that it was Chris who helped provide shoes for all of our campers. He spoke at our national banquet and it was a happy day for Royal Family KIDS when he announced that there were “shoes for all the campers.” In 2011, Chris and his wife Jami (along with their three boys), moved from Oregon to establish their business in Southern California. Chris and I met at my favorite Mexican restaurant to further discuss the possibility of him joining the board. As I listened to him, I sensed it was a divine moment.
We discussed him being my replacement and we were excited about building on our friendship and vision together — he would manage the charity and I would move up to become President of “For the Children Foundation” to raise Legacy Gifts in the form of wills, estate planning, and other non-cash gifts. This would ensure the future sustainability of Royal Family KIDS. Chris joined us as V.P. of Development in a part-time role in January of 2012, and in October joined us full-time. He continued to serve in this role until January 1, 2014, when the Board of Directors appointed him President. Chris brings a passion to help the children we serve together. When you meet him, you will catch his contagious spirit for life. His innovative ideas are bringing Royal Family KIDS into the 21st Century. Chris has a compelling God-given vision for the future of Royal Family KIDS, and is an effective leader with an enormous heart. I’m thrilled that Chris is now leading the way. Connect with Chris personally or through our website, and feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with him.
Announcing the Royal Family KIDS Leadership Podcast, a bi-weekly talk show bringing inspiration and information to those who are a part of the Royal Family KIDS community. On each show, you will hear great stories and useful ideas on a variety of topics from Camp and Club Directors, business and non-profit leaders, as well as members of RFK’s National Office team. You can download and subscribe to the podcast by going to: www.royalfamilykids.org and clicking on Leadership Podcast on our home page. Or simply click one of the links below:
By Glenn Garvin, VP Camps, Clubs & Mentors
We simply wanted to be world changers. Early in Royal Family KIDS history, our Founder, Wayne Tesch, came up with a huge goal … Wayne always has big dreams! I still remember the mantra, “200 Camps by the year 2000.” While we didn’t quite make the mark in 2000, we did hit a milestone in 2002 with 103 Camps. Today — having survived a tough recession … and just 12 short years later — the dream is coming true. This summer, we’ll host 200 Camps — 190 in the United States and 10 internationally. And even more amazing is that we’ve grown our first Club and Mentors Program in 2008 to 39 Clubs across the nation in 2014!
Royal Family KIDS doesn’t just change the lives of the wonderful children we serve, but it creates a deep passion in adults’ lives, too. Our eyes are confronted with faces of angels and innocence … and our hearts are broken by the senseless reality of their displacement, loneliness and brutality. America’s children were not born into nor trained to be combatants in this world. And yet every summer these small, frail wonders step off the bus with very adult-like Post-Traumatic-Stress-Syndrome. Let me ask you: what is wrong with our country when we’ve got over 400,000 kids running around with PTSD? As adults, we either remember the goodness of childhood or the fairy-tale version of what childhood should be: simple, safe, carefree and fun. And since we know what it should be we have the power to make it happen through our Camps, Clubs and Mentors.
Royal Family KIDS is not just a “program.” It’s a Community of Change. It’s a powerful, mission-focused collaboration that believes in the power of ONE … one child transformed is worth it all. Thank you for making it possible. For helping to birth 200 passionate Camps and 39 Clubs representing well over 10,000 caring, committed adults. Together, we are confronting abuse and changing the world … one child at a time.
Royal Family KIDS (RFK) Inc., a charity that partners with neighborhood churches to run 200 camps and 38 mentoring clubs for American foster children is launching a new division for non-USA efforts.
Joanne Feldmeth has been named as the first RFK Director for International Programs. Founder Wayne Tesch said up to 20 RFK camps run outside of the USA annually with leaders from places as far flung as South Africa and Chile using the model to help abused children. With awareness of global child trafficking at a ‘tipping point,’ the Board decided to formally create a department under Ms. Feldmeth.
This will be the second Royal Family KIDS project Joanne has launched. In
2008, she developed the RFK Clubs and Mentors program, matching campers to
mentors September through May. The project now has 1,200 certified volunteers.
Joanne brings over 25 years of work with abuse survivors to the new position.
Prior to coming to RFK, she served for 14 years as the executive director of
Child S.H.A.R.E., a foster and adoptive family support program. She speaks
regularly on recovery issues and is the co-author of two books on child abuse.
Joanne holds an M.A. in Global Leadership from Fuller Seminary’s School of
Intercultural Studies with an emphasis on at risk children. Last spring, she and
her family spent April in Southern Africa visiting ministries to HIV/AIDS
“Child abuse and trafficking are global issues,” Joanne said. “But the fastest
growing gap is not in rescue—it is in aftercare. Child victims need positive
memories to counteract the pain. RFK Camps and Clubs are designed to help
abused children feel ‘normal’ and beloved by God. It is a week of just being a
kid followed by safe one-on-one mentoring. That approach can be adapted to
kids in any culture–and we can train churches from dozens of denominations.
Royal Family has huge potential to create a global network of healing for
thousands of children hurt by abuse.”
Happy New Year! I am so grateful for another year and more opportunities to make moments matter in the lives of foster kids.
Spending the Holidays with our family and friends and three (very lively) little boys, I would often stop and think about where our ‘Royal Family KIDS’ were spending the Holidays. I don’t know if any of them celebrated at all, if they were told they were loved, or had a family member to spend time with. But, I do know I was excited to return to work last week and see how I can make a difference in their little lives this year. I have heard so many stories about the children we serve – stories about campers in Nebraska, memories of Club time in South Carolina, I’ve seen pictures of fishing and swimming from Texas – these are the pieces that drive my work at Royal Family KIDS everyday.
This year, we are gathering more encouraging stories and heartbreaking tales in order to come together as a family, share our experiences with each other and inspire our communities to get involved and help us change the face of foster care in America.
2014 is the year of the SOTO at Royal Family KIDS and we need you to help us tell our story. Will you share your STORY OF THE ONE (SOTO) with us?
There are several ways to share your story with Royal Family KIDS:
- Call our SOTO hotline and leave your story on our ‘SOTO voicemail.’ Call 949-354-3799
- Share your story with us through a Facebook message: www.facebook.com/RoyalFamilyKIDSCamp
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you!
Blessings to you and yours in 2014,
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.
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.”
Co-Founder & CEO
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.”