rfkc 2014 – post camp reflections from grandma

I was prepared for our week of volunteering at Royal Family Kids Camp.

I had participated in the trainings. I had read through the notebook. I had been a mother to three children. I’ve been a grandma for over nine years to four granddaughters. I’ve worked with children as a Sunday school teacher, a childcare provider, a preschool teacher, and I volunteer for Advocates for Children as a CASA. I thought I was ready to be called “Grandma” to the 24 kids that would attend camp this year!

As the kids began to arrive that first morning I found them to be quiet and timid, some afraid to be left with people they didn’t know. Some were very warm and friendly right away. Most seemed excited for their week of camp to begin. On the bus ride up to Camp I sat next to a young girl that was quiet and would only talk to me when asked a direct question. She seemed to prefer working on her puzzle page she’d been given to do on the bus.

As the bus approached the Camp and it was announced that we had arrived the kids cheered and screamed with excitement…it was at that moment that I realized how much this week meant to these kids that don’t get to participate in these kinds of experiences often. I was struck with how important it was to them…how important it would be for them to have a great experience…and I suddenly realized  how inadequate and unprepared I felt. But, it was truly exhilarating to witness their excited anticipation!!

As Camp began the kids were truly delightful! They were more open and trusting than I expected them to be. They were friendly and cooperative. They were eager for each new experience. They began connecting with one another. They were willing to share with one another. They were creative and energetic. They seemed truly appreciative of everything they were getting to experience. Many of the kids responded favorably to a gentle hug or a touch on the shoulder or a pat on the head.

There was one little girl though that sat next to me and hugged me as I sat on the floor during chapel time. Her curly black hair stuck up on her head and it touched my face as she snuggled up to me. My heart was touched by her affection and I hoped she felt the love and acceptance that filled my heart at that moment. During the first two days of camp I felt like we were all working together to provide all the fun for these kids that so many had planned and spent months preparing  to provide. I was proud to be a part of such a beautiful expression of love.

Then…at the devotion time on the third afternoon of Camp we were informed that one of the little girls had been informed by her caseworker that she would not be returning to her foster home after Camp…that she would be taken to a shelter. This was the same little girl that had been so loving and snuggled up to me. My heart was broken for her…and I felt barely able to think of facing this precious child if she would offer me a hug…or if she looked upset by this news.  I wasn’t sure I could handle it! I felt woefully unprepared!  I was so humbled when I did see her the next day…her heart had to have been hurting, but she appeared to be determined to have fun and enjoy the rest of her week at Camp! Seeing the strength in that precious, gentle child gave me the courage to push through the emotions I was feeling and do what I was there to do…love these kids!!

As I am reflecting on the week my heart is grieving for her…but it is filled with such love and admiration for her and all of these kids, with a heightened awareness of the pain that is such a part of many of their young lives, with a sense of awe at the strength they exhibit! The sense of helplessness I feel to do anything at all to help this child draws me to lift her and all of the other children up to our Lord…asking for His protection, His love, His joy to be in the hearts of these precious young ones!!  Lord…thank-you for breaking my heart for these kids!!

Written by Cindy Jensen

You can read more about Royal Family kids Camp at the RFKC PAGE

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Categories: Royal Family Kids