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RFKC 2011: Monday (part 2)

The day has been long and draining. My heart is full of peace.  It is days like today where you feel that you have done exactly what you were designed for.

by Curtis Ridenour, RFKC Staff

I woke at 6:00 AM on Monday to tend to the pile of dishes in my sink to ensure my new roommate Luke does not immediately dismiss Matthew and myself as slobs.  It is my goal to hide this fact from him for at least a week or two.  Soon after I finished using up all my elbow grease to finish up Matt’s banana pudding pan, I am off to Acoma to start this new adventure called RFKC.

My anxiety is heightened. My stomach is knotted.  My brain is full of questions.  How hard is this going to be?  Am I ready for this?  How much like “normal” kids are they?  What kind of terrible things am I going to hear about? I repeat my newly adopted mantra, “just show up and be yourself,” a few times as I pull into the parking lot.  I see my first camper, and everything that was going on inside me on the ride over is gone.

After a few minutes chatting with a highly intelligent kid about chicken anatomy and how the nuggets are next to the fingers and above the tenders, I am rocking and rolling on all eight cylinders and ready to do whatever it takes to ensure these kids have an awesome time and that they know they are loved.  It’s not long before the bus of 24 kids is rolling into camp.  The first thing they see as we drive in is a giant mob of waving, dancing and jumping counselors with brightly decorated signs coming into view.  “I love this part,” a veteran camper says as he nudges his new potential friend.

Royal is the perfect word to describe this family.  These often overlooked children are treated like the kings and queens that they are.  They are the heirs/heiresses to the kingdom of heaven.  Shy of a red carpet, it is like a Hollywood extravaganza of movie stars as they hop off the bus and are introduced by name over the megaphone.  Their adoring fans are actually their counselors for the week and are holding giant signs with the campers names printed in huge fancy letters.  They are ushered in to the dormitory style cabins with custom decorations to let them know that their group is distinct and set apart from the others.  A group identity begins to form as names are exchanged with high fives and knuckle taps.

The day flies by and they are exhausted after a day full of awesome activities, treats and presents.  Matthew and Craig are ready to leave to go make scrapbooks and write letters for them as they are finally bedded down.  “Remember guys,” Matt says, “everyone here is a safe person.”  This as strange as it may sound to you or me is exactly what some of them need to hear.  This is a safe place.  We are safe people. The sad part is that they need to be reminded of this to help get them ready to sleep.

Bedtime is always interesting at camp and even more so for RFKC.  This night in particular is very important because it is the first one.  Getting them quite is just the beginning.  I am one of the three on watch for the boys tonight and my job is to reassure them that what Matt said is true.  That nervousness from this morning comes back.

Then something awesome happens.  I sit in awe as “Grandma” visits each room and prays with them.  She shuts up the rowdy ones as effortlessly as she comforts the frightened ones.  I watch as she patiently listens to and explains to a whimpering camper that she and God are there to care for him and help him sleep.  Within five minutes, the once distressed camper is off in dreamland and Grandma is in the next room praying again.

As I sit here spewing my thoughts on the page, I am satisfied.  It is the kind of satisfaction that can only come from knowing you are doing God’s will.  It’s a beautiful feeling.  I am now the sentry on watch to help that once whimpering camper get through this difficult night.  I pray for his rest.  I pray for his peace.  I pray that the next time he calls out in distress that I can be the vessel of God’s love settling him back to sleep.

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

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

Categories: Royal Family Kids, Stories

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