Monday, July 11, 2011

Royal Family Kids Camp- Sunday

I've been wanting to give a run-down of the camp we worked at, so that I can give out more information of all that we do.  It really is a wonderful ministry!  Royal Family Kids is a program that ministers to abused & neglected children.  They do summer camps and then mentoring programs.  You can find them all over the country (click here to see if there's one close to you).  Our church offers both the camp and the club (mentoring program).  There is nothing quite like giving a week of your lives to make sure that children with horrible pasts have the best week of their young lives!

We always leave for camp on a Sunday.  This year that Sunday just happened to be Father's Day (and my dad's birthday!).  We started off the day with donuts with the boys before church.  We went to the church for our commissioning service (where the whole church prayed over all the volunteers) then came home to finish packing, show the sitter all the fun details of keeping the boys overnight, and say bye to our kiddos.
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While the rest of the staff met at the church, Dathan and I had to head straight up to camp.  We had a job of mapping out a treasure hunt for each cabin to go on.  Every cabin had it's own directions, and there were 13 cabins so we had a lot of work to do!  We finished just about the time everyone else showed up to camp.  The counselors all go straight to their cabins to start decorating.  Every year there is a different theme, and they decorate their rooms to go along with the theme.  It's so much fun!  It's also a time to bond with the other counselors in your room.

I am not a counselor because I am on the planning committee for camp, as well as the fact that I am pregnant.  While the counselors were getting their rooms together we were busy setting up our different jobs, running around to make sure everyone had what they needed, etc.  We break for dinner and then head up to chapel for our annual staff picture.

Ok how amazing is it that we had 98 volunteers!!??!?!?!  98!  Almost 100 people gave up a week of their lives to give to these kids from our area.  And what a fun group of volunteers we had ;)
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(Those of us in the plain blue polo shirts are the core staff who plan camp. And the camp speaker.  My parents are in the front & almost center- they are the directors of the camp! Did I mention that?)
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After pictures we have a special service with just the workers.  Before we started service though we had something special to do.  This year was very significant for Lancaster's Royal Family Kids camp... it was our 20th camp!  How exciting is that??  There are 6 people who have gone to camp EVERY YEAR since it began, and we honored them.  What a neat legacy to carry!
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Then we had a time of worship, prayer, and a short sermon.  It's so nice to sit & just soak in the presence of God before a very very busy week!
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After chapel everyone went back to their cabins to finish setting up and try to get to bed at a decent time.  Monday morning is an early rise to make the last minute preparations and then the kids come!

Every day is SO busy that I will try to do a separate post for each one.  There are many different rules that we have to follow for this camp because of the nature of it (children being wards of the state).  All the staff actually goes through about 12 hours of training that is mandated by law before we can even go to camp... whether it's your first year or 20th you have to go to the training!  Nobody is allowed to take photos of the children except for the photographers (that was one of my jobs).  And the photographers have specific rules (only ONE child's face can be in the photo, unless they have a biological sibling there).  Those pictures we take are printed off and put into specific albums for every child.  For a lot of these kids, these albums will be their only pictures of their childhood they own.  So the pictures I do have that I am sharing with you are "safe" pictures... you either can't see kids in them, can see the backs of their heads, or if their face has sneaked its way in then I blurred it out.  Just in case you were wondering :) 

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