Tag Archives: Royal Family Kids Camp

RFKC Friday Update: The Goodbyes

It was time to say goodbye. We were outside in the blazing hot sun in the early afternoon. Any of the four other previous days, around the same time in the afternoon, the kids could easily be heard splashing and laughing in the pool, seen putting together Lego masterpieces, cheered on as they bounced basketballs, or watched doing a variety of other fun activities. But not so on this day. Today it is Friday and instead of all the fun activities in afternoon, we are waiting to load the kids on the bus.

While the luggage is put on the buses and everything else gets prepared before the kids’ leave, to pass the time, the kids and volunteers sign each other’s t-shirts. Also, the counselors get an opportunity to give their campers the specially made memory book filled with pictures and notes from the week.

Last year, I remember in particular, one graduating girl who was walking around with a poster board piece that she was asking everyone to sign. She asked me to sign and I gladly did. She was in tears and could hardly speak a word. It was so hard to look at her like that. This was her last year at camp. In fact, these were her last couple of moments at this very special place.

It is challenging to say goodbye after pouring out on these kids every last ounce of love we have (and all week long, God seemingly continues to fill us up with more of His love to pour out). Even in their cussing, kicking, running off, and hating, when God gives us His heart for them, somehow we love them in the messes. Not only does His love in us for the kids make it difficult to watch them leave, but also the fact that it is truly “goodbye.” We cannot promise to see them at camp next year, we cannot excitedly exclaim, “See you in heaven!”, and we cannot be certain we will ever see them again.

In these moments, the one thing we can take comfort in, is the knowledge that the Lord holds these precious children in His hands. He is their Savior, He is their Good Shepherd, and He is their hope. He will protect them and continue to direct their steps. So though we cannot make promises to the children about the future, the greatest thing is that we know the One who holds both the kids and their futures – and He is surely trustworthy.

Though this particular girl may never come back to camp again – though we do not know if any of these kids will ever come back to camp whether or not they are graduating this year – we submit them to the Lord. All we can do is ask Him to continue to lead them nearer to Himself!

Specific Prayer Requests:

  • As we say goodbye, please pray that God will comfort our hearts. Pray that though we may grieve and be broken, we do not grieve as those without hope because we know God holds the kids and their futures in His very hands.
  • For those of us riding on the bus ride back home with the kids, please pray that God will give us the words to say and will lead us in our interactions with the kids. Pray for God to give us strength and grace as we spend the last few moments with the kids.
  • As the kids re-adjust to “home life”, whatever that may be, pray they will be received back by their caregivers well.
  • Pray God will continue to speak to the campers even after they leave camp. Pray that He will soften their hearts and that they will turn to Him and seek a personal relationship with Him. Pray for their brokenness and past hurts to be healed in Jesus’ love.

RFKC Wednesday Update: Give Our All

It’s pretty humbling that some of the kids at camp have never celebrated their birthday before. So the fun event on Wednesday night at camp is a huge Birthday Party for everyone!

After the fun games are finished, the cupcakes are eaten, and it’s time to head back to the cabins, it could be the hardest night to put the campers to bed. They have just had a whole bunch of sugar, received a bunch of great gifts, and just do not want to sleep. And yet, what is also hovering over some of their minds is the fact that the next day, Thursday, is their last FULL day at camp.

Both the volunteers and kids experience a lot of emotions at camp. I think it is pretty accurate to say that Wednesday night/Thursday morning provides a turning point for everyone.

The kids start to realize they only have one full day left at camp. Many of these kids, because of what they have been through, are very resilient. Therefore, some of them may begin holding back and shut us out to protect themselves because they know we will say goodbye on Friday.

At this point, as counselors and staff, we are all faced with an important decision: we can either hold back ourselves because it is hurts to bid them farewell or we can choose to continue pouring out all for them despite the fact that it may be very painful to load them on the bus on Friday.

The first year I attended camp, I distinctly remember being challenged during our staff “chapel time” on Thursday to not check out emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. We were encouraged to continue to be present to the kids at camp. If we refrain from giving our all, we will regret it later. Instead, we must continue to pour out every ounce of strength and energy, trusting that God will supply us with even more of His – and He so faithfully does.

The good news is that we, as camp volunteers, are not the kids’ savior. That may seem quite obvious, but I remember crying out to the Lord, “Why can’t we take them all home with us?!” But that’s not why we go to camp. Christ is their Savior. He is the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep each by name. He has called these kids to camp and us His people to serve at camp. So, we can put on a smile (even through the tears and the brokenness of our hearts) as they leave so that they can know their Savior, Jesus, is the One who holds them in the very palm of His hands and He has a perfect plan for their future.

Specific Prayer Requests:

  • For the Birthday Party, please pray that through all the fun events and celebrating, the kids will know God has specially made them and He loves them so much.
  • Pray for those who help put the kids to bed on Wednesday night! Pray for God’s peace to be upon everyone.
  • Pray that even if the children start to hold back, they will continue to receive the truth, be receptive of God’s love, and experience what He has brought them to camp for. Pray the kids will focus on enjoying the present moment and not spend the time focusing on leaving camp.
  • Pray that each volunteer will continue to showcase the love of Jesus in our every action. Although it will hurt us to say goodbye, pray we will give our all and not hold back in an effort to avoid the pain. Pray for strength to not check out but rather to pour out all on them.
  • For the girl’s Tea Party tomorrow afternoon, please pray God reveals to them His tender love and care. Pray He will show them what a godly man is like through the men God has called to camp this week.

The Moment of Shock

There he stood by the tree. A little boy in his swim trunks, ready and waiting for the short time he could spend in the pool that day. After all, he only had one opportunity each day to swim and this was definitely something that could not be missed. We were at Royal Family Kid’s Camp – a week-long summer camp for abused kids.

Then he looked up and seemingly out of the blue, he yelled a cuss word at me.

“Huh?” I hesitantly replied, uncertain of what else I should say.

Instead of just moving on and forgetting about it like I had hoped he would do, he repeated himself.

A shrug of my shoulders and a smile was the only way I thought how to respond when he shouted out the foul language for the second time. And perhaps that was the best way to react because that little boy stared at me in unbelief. He stood still, eyes glued to me – shocked and confused that the word he yelled at me would cause such a calm response. Unsure of what to do, he stayed motionless for what seemed like several minutes. I imagine many thoughts of bewilderment were running through his mind in those moments. Many thoughts were also racing through mine as I was not confident in how to handle this situation. But then after those few quiet moments passed, without saying another word, he turned and walked away.

I wonder how many times he has said that very same word to an abusive mother who only beat him harder in return or to his deadbeat father who left to never see him again. Though I do not know the details of what this little boy’s past was truly like, I would venture to assume it includes painful experiences I do not even want to imagine and was void of the true love of Christ every human being so desperately needs.

Maybe – just maybe – the way God prompted me to react to his swearing was a testimony to him of Jesus’ unconditional, unfailing love. It is possible that God used this in his life to show him that God forgives him, loves him, and can make his life new again in Christ. Even though I was not able to see the outcome of this interaction with the boy, I can trust that God can turn him to Jesus.

So that’s why we go – to be vessels through which God can pour forth His love on these precious children. It will be hard – I have no doubt – to love them through the frustrating moments during the week only to watch them walk on the bus and wave goodbye. Yet, it will be so very good because we have the beautiful opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet to these hurting, broken foster kids He loves so dearly. As we take this week to spend time with these kids, I am confident that God will give us a taste of His heart and use this week to not only change the kids’ hearts, but also ours.

Royal Family Kids Camp

Royal Family Kids

Royal Family KIDS Camp is designed to give foster care children a week of positive memories in a Christian environment.

Annually, 3.6 million cases of child abuse, neglect or abandonment are reported in America. One of these victims dies every six hours due to that abuse. But you can make a difference by donating a week of your life to serve the Kids of the Los Angeles County foster care system.

In addition to receiving the attention and encouragement of an adult camp counselor and his/her “buddy camper,” each camper is also exposed to a variety of fun activities, designed for their success and to build self-esteem.

Activity centers, games, sports, hiking, swimming, and fishing are all part of the program. For most of these children, it’s the best week of the year – a special time when they can focus on having fun and enjoy being a kid.

Read more about Royal Family KIDS here.

If you are interested in being a part of RFKC please fill out an application using the links below and check out our mandatory training dates.

We look forward to serving with you!

2015 Camp Dates are July 5-10th

Apply Now! 

Returning Staff & Counselor Application

New Staff & Counselor Application

Teen Application

IMPORTANT DATES

Contact rfkc@kingsharbor.org for questions/more information.

The Least of These

Feeding the poor
In Matthew 25:31-46, Christ says: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
In our humanity, we can easily come up with excuses.  We say, “But Lord, um, when did we not minister to You?”  As Keith Green states in his song The Sheep and The Goats, “…The only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to this Scripture, is what they did and didn’t do.”

Hospitality does not necessarily mean using china dishes, cleaning the house perfectly, or making an extravagant meal.  It also does not simply occur when friends come over to our house for an evening meal.  Rather, in Christ’s strength, we can be hospitable anywhere and anytime.  The question is not whether or not we swept the kitchen or made a bouquet for the table.  Instead, it is: What is attitude of our hearts?  Are we willing to reach out to those in need?  Are we willing to love “the least of these” unconditionally, without reserve, pouring all out simply for their sakes?  Or are we striving to come up with reasons why we cannot minister, reasons why we should just pass by on the other side, and reasons why we are not the ones God should use for the job?

In inviting others into our lives or entering into theirs, we are to have one goal: to point to Jesus.  Whether or not we have it “all put together”, God simply desires to use us as His vessels to point others to Himself.

Let us throw off all the distractions and excuses, enter into other’s pain or messy lives, and trust God for the outcome because He can truly make beautiful things out of us!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you are looking for ways to love “the least of these”, consider being a part of Royal Family Kids Camp this summer. This is wonderful opportunity to be Jesus on display!

What You’re Into: Royal Family Kids Camp with Keaton Steed

Kings Harbor is in countdown mode.  Royal Family Kids Camp is just a mere three months away and WE NEED YOU.  If you have never been to camp and are looking for a Mission Opportunity this is it.  I (Joy Steed) talked to Keaton Steed about her experience at Royal Family and this is what she had to share:

IMG_1498

How did you find out about Royal Family and what made you want to go? My mom, you. I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t like camp as a kid and so I really didn’t want to go at all, but you told me I didn’t have a choice, this was something I needed to do!

How did your perception of what this camp, Royal Family, change once you were there? I realized how helpless these kids are, how many of them don’t receive a lot of love and special things in their lives.  This can make them hard to love, because they don’t always show their affection at first.  They have a guard up at first, because they don’t trust people easily.  So, seeing how throughout the week they changed and became more trusting, and opened up and because of that you learn more about their story, about what they have been through or are going through.  This changed how I felt about the camp.  They are kids but they have been through a lot more than what a kid should go through.

If someone had never been to camp what would you tell them?  That you just need to go and have fun with these kids let them have fun, treat them like any other kid and love them unconditionally.

How would you say God worked through Royal Family In my first year I wasn’t really aware of the impact of camp until I got home, I spent a lot of time with one camper in particular and so when I came home from that week I wondered a lot about her, her situation and if I would ever see her again.  I had to rely on God and give my anxiety and sadness over to God and trust that wherever she was and whatever her circumstances that God was taking control of them and watching out for her and at the same time helping me through missing her.  The second year, which was last year I saw God work through the counselors and staff and I then saw the impact that this had on the kids, how God was working in their lives that week.  We were humbled.  At Royal Family we have to put others first and that’s not easy.  You also realize that things we take for granted others don’t have and perceptions we have of others and their situations aren’t necessarily accurate.   God took all of that and changed the hearts of the counselors and staff and in changing our hearts the kids hearts get affected, being cared for and excepted and loved unconditionally and in a safe way, a way they may have never experienced and because of this their hearts are changed.

Keaton, personally what have you seen God do in your life because of your experience of serving at Royal Family Kids Camp?  It’s given me a heart to help kids that are struggling especially those kids in the Foster system.  It has opened my eyes to that.  God changed my heart and faith through this experience just simply by opening my eyes to situations outside of my comfort zone.  I definitely see that by stepping out of my comfort zone, by going I definitely became aware of there being a need right here in my community.  Royal Family personally reminded me what I already know about God, that God can change people and in a matter of days lives can be affected in a positive way just by being available and willing to give your time and energy to someone other than yourself.

If you are interested in volunteering for Royal Family Kids Camp this year talk to Christine Barker or Jason Flentye about how to get involved.  The applications to serve are on the Kings Harbor website.

Here’s your turn to be heard! Comment below to enter a chance to win a copy of God’s Smuggler in honor of our month dedicated to “God’s Word”. The winner will be announced on March 31st at 8:00pm.

God's Smuggler

Royal Family Kids Camp

Today is the last day to turn in applications for Royal Family Kids Camp. If you’re on the fence, allow us to gently nudge you off. If you know you can’t go (and there is no way we can or should all go) then please join us in becoming a force of prayer for the Kingdom of God.

The mission of Royal Family Kids Camp is to create positive memories for abused and neglected children ages 7-11, in a one-week camp experience.

Their vision is to serve 100,000 foster children annually by the year 2030.

Their strategy is to mobilize local churches to sponsor a one-week camp in their local community.

Our camp is July 8-13 and we will be taking approximatly 80 adult volunteers and 50 children.

This year we are having difficulty getting enough kids for camp. We know there are over 7,000 foster children in the Torrance area. The trouble comes in getting the parents and social workers interested in filling out another form. Foster parents are always asked to fill out forms and attend meetings. However, this camp gives them a one week break and it is free for the foster family.

We have contact with social workers and organizations who currently have the applications. We have also sent applications to the returning campers from last year.

Pray that the applications will be sent back to the church office and we will get enough campers.

We know there are plenty of kids we just have to reach them.

If you see Charlie and Esther, our camp directors, or anyone else going to camp, give them a hug and remind them you’ve got their backs. It encourages them.