I'm pleased to be partnering with Family Christian Stores for this post. They graciously took a local Royal Family Kids Camp director and one of camp's special families on a shopping spree! While the post is sponsored, the opinions expressed here are my own.
Can a week make a difference? That’s the question camps all over the country ask themselves each year. The months of planning in advance. The coordination of so many people. The financial investment.
Every bit of effort speaks to their answer to this question.
When Family Christian gave me the opportunity to bless a group in need with a shopping spree over the holidays, I knew right away who I wanted to encourage.
Royal Family KIDS camp, serving abused and neglected children in Southwest Michigan.
The last couple years, our church has worked to bring Royal Family KIDS Camp to our area. It’s truly a community effort. Working with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and other agencies, we give foster children a chance to attend a Christian camp at no cost. During the months of preparation, committees meet to plan activities and raise funds. Folks make homemade items to give to the kids. Businesses offer support through grants and donated merchandise. Prayer warriors lift up every volunteer and camper before they even arrive at camp.
I knew this was the group I wanted to bless. In sharing the idea with our Family Christian coordinator, she got excited. Their mission is based on the following verse:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: ‘To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
The camp director was thrilled when I told her about the project. And she had the perfect family in mind to help us with the shopping.
We thought of some things that could be purchased for camp. Showing a real heart for these kids, though, she suggested we also bless the family. Let them do some shopping for themselves too.
It had been a rough few months for this particular family. The dad had surgery and was unable to work. A tragedy in their extended family meant they brought in two nephews to their already full household. A little boy they’d been fostering returned to his home.
Doing God’s work can be messy.
We met up to do some shopping. I didn’t know the kids and it was interesting to see what sections of the store they visited.
The foster mom got the kids started. Then, she quietly asked a clerk if she could recommend any books on how to handle grief. Something that would give her the words needed to help her loved ones understand tragedy. A little comfort as they made their way through this difficult time. She ended up with several books to consider.
The daughter went right to the CDs. Then made her way to the t-shirts.
The older boy browsed through some books. I think he covered the whole store! The nine-year old followed his brother around most of the time. He looked at a lot of the books too. What a hard decision to pick just one or two items!
The camp director talked about the items they already used at camp. Puzzles. Veggie Tale DVDs. CDs. She didn’t realize Family Christian carried so many board games. These work great for small group time and specifically before meals as campers waited for everyone to arrive in the dining hall.
Like this one. Ungame.
They already know the theme for camp this summer. Learning about the royalty of God’s children through the story of Esther. Of course, there’s a Veggie Tale about that!
After the ladies finished shopping, we visited for a while. We received an update about one of the foster kids who’d attended camp last summer. The one who recently went back home with his mom. He was so excited to reunite with his family.
The foster mom shared with us also how he’d had such a good time at camp the previous summer. He talked about it all the time. He’d been given a sign with his name on it, which also included a memory verse that tied to his name. A sign he kept and took back home with him. Counselors had written him a note every day of camp. Treasures he read again and again. And the homemade items he’d been given. For him to keep.
The camp staff had shared with him all week long that he was special. Treasured. Loved by a God who would never leave him. That God went back home with the little boy. Along with all the memories you can cram into one week of camp.
What a rewarding day! Knowing we’d gotten some things the campers could use this summer. Blessing this family. And realizing that the influence of camp goes well beyond one week.
I know it to be true. One week CAN make a difference.
If you’d like to learn more about getting involved with a Royal Family Kids Camp, click here.