10 Feb A Note from Donna
This year I had the privilege of spending three weeks at camp. Despite the scorpions, bugs, heat, and cold showers, I truly loved the experience. My role was to support our team as well as be the disciplinarian. I, along with Irma Santos, our DESEO administrator, worked behind the scenes to be sure the staff needs were met as well as the kitchen staff. Occasionally we succumbed to the temptation to jump in, especially when it involved slime and water. It was very necessary at times to discipline some of the participants, but I found it ended up being a time of bonding and listening. So many of the children in our program come from very challenging situations. For example: during the second week there was a group of 10 boys, ages 12 to 14. 8 of the 10 have mothers in the age range of 25-28 years old. When you do the math, you realize they are the approximate age their mothers were when they were born. Many of the children come from broken homes, or homes where they’ve never known who their father is, or children who have been left behind by their parents because of immigration. When I listened to their stories, I felt so much compassion for them. One of the most effective disciplines for the 12-14 year olds was for them to have to sit with me instead of their group for a specific activity. Everyone knew they were in trouble if they were sitting beside me. One boy, named Michael, who mainly lives on the street, had been to see me several times over the week. The last night during the last activity, he once again “earned” the privilege of sitting with me. He leaned over, put his arm around me and said, “I thought since it was the last night, I’d like to sit with you.” I am still not sure if that was a clever coverup or he meant it. Regardless, I know that he knew I cared for him, and I also knew that he had a week unlike his usual that included a lot of love, food, and safety. That’s what we strive for at our Bible camp: love, safety, security, nourishment through food, and a glimpse at how much Jesus loves them.
It is our dream to one day have a place of our own where we can have more weeks of camp, weekend retreats, among many other things. When I finally got home to Phil, I told him that I believe camp is one of the most effective things we do in the lives of children and teens. I felt that before, but now I feel it with an even greater passion.