RFKC 2011: Monday (part 1)

Two blog posts from Monday at Royal Family Kids Camp by two first time counselors, Craig Dodge and Keely Quinn.

by Craig Dodge, Boys Counselor

As a tenured vet of summer camp life (I shudder to think of how many goofy camp songs I’ve sung/done actions for and even more tenuous to my health, the large number of  camp meals I’ve wolfed down), I find myself in the unusual position of being a total camp rookie. Royal Family kids camp is simultaneously much like any other camp I’ve ever been at counselor at, and also completely different. God loves every kid that has ever been in my care at a camp, but the severe need to have his love show through me to a group of kids has never been more obvious to me than it is here at Royal Family Kids Camp.

Today was Day 1, and we are already up to our necks in glorious camp goofiness. There has been a bit of heartbreak found in unexpected ways as I have heard a ton of kids make offhanded comments about what constitutes normal in their lives. The fact that their lives can be difficult isn’t the hard thing for me, it’s the blase nature that these hardships are normal and no big deal. Camp is so great for them, because they never expect better for themselves, so the chance we have to show them God’s extreme love blows them away. Simply providing them with their own flashlights, soccer balls, and toothbrushes is a major deal. I can’t remember the last time I was excited for a flashlight. The enthusiasm for being appreciated is something that one can’t quite prepare for, and to me, the most endearing thing about these kids. They are great kids who have arrived at a tough stage of life with some horrific life experiences that have little to nothing to do with them, and they just soak up love like a sponge…even if they don’t have the words or the ability to show their appreciation, they exude the happy emotions of camp as they waddle through a week during a difficult life stage in difficult situations.

Life is hard, but so are they. That can scare you, or you can see through their hard shell to see that they are awesome, scared, silly, scarred, pure, and somewhat wonky children. But most of all awesome.

Since this is my post, I’ll give you some things to pray for about the kids closest to me this week (These prayers go well beyond this week, as I’m not delusional enough to think that one week of camp is going to accomplish ALL of this:)

1. I have a great kid in my room who likes to be aloof. My prayer for him is that he sits up during Bible time and that God uses me to let him know he can be involved with life, interact with the dreams of his heart, and there are people in the world that can be trusted.

2. I have an exuberant kid in my room who can explode both positively and negatively with his emotions. He’s a crack up, but my prayer for him is to harness the energy for the good, to learn how awesome he can be and to be safe. The anger can flash, so I pray that he learns to regulate without shutting down his excitement. It’s a fine line I hope he finds.

3. I have a shy standoffish kid who in one day has opened up some, and seems to really like to lurk in the shadows of life. I probably identify with him over any of the other campers in my room, as I see some of my own struggles in him. I pray this kid finds his voice, because from the limited amount of interaction to this point, I think he has something to say with his life…Just hope he gets the voice and the confidence.

4. I have another kid who when we were giving him a Bible asked what a Bible was. He is a sweetheart of a kid, and what could easily be defined as a “Velcro Kid” in that he loves to be validated physically. Giving him high fives, side-hugs, and words of affirmation seem to be golden to him, so I pray that he is introduced positively to God’s love, and that he has someone enter his life to continue letting him know of God’s love beyond this quick week of camp.

These kids are amazing, and although there are a ton of emotional and spiritual pitfalls ahead, I couldn’t be more excited to be spending this week with them. God is with us, and since he loves these kids, I can’t wait to follow his example.


by Keely Quinn, Girls Counselor

Hello friends and family,

Thanks for checking in and for all of your prayers. The kids arrived today with a great cheer of excitement from all the staff and counselors. It was so great to see their smiling faces, nervous and excited.

At this point I was incredibly overwhelmed. It has been such a long road for me to get here. From feeling like I was supposed to come, to convincing myself I shouldn’t and then realizing that I had no excuse not to and then being here, it has been a huge wave of emotions. I can’t believe that I’m actually here, and that these kids are all so wonderful! They all have so many funny things to say, I know that I’m going to be laughing for most of the rest of the week (and of course I’ll have some tears occasionally, since I’m a big sap!)

One of my girls today told me that the wall next to her bed (that we had decorated was her best friend) and that she also had a best friend named tree and a whole long list of other best friends and then she just broke my heart when she announced that two of her best friends were her two counselors.

After dinner today we took the kids on a “scavenger hunt” to get them everything they need for camp (goggles, toiletries, flashlights, soccer balls and more). One of our girls was so grateful that we were giving her this stuff, and that she was able to keep it all! I love her grateful heart. I can’t wait to build a friendship with her this week, see her learn so much and have such a great time. She was a pro at funyacking (like kayaking but safer) and she had never done anything of the sort before, you could see on her face that she was so proud of herself, I just couldn’t stop smiling.

I could go on and on telling you stories of all the adorable things that our girls have been doing and all of the heartwarming and heart breaking stories, but you may get bored. I can’t wait to see what else is going to happen this week. I know God is here, He is here and working in all of us, I feel His arms around me now as I write this. He has blessed this camp in a big way and I can’t help but smile at the knowledge of how much he loves these amazing kids that are often ignored by society.

It is such a blessing for me to be here, and I deeply thank all of your for all of your support in us coming up here. These kids are having a great time and so are we.


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

Permalink: http://tnl.org/rfkc-monday

Categories: Royal Family Kids, Stories



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