On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Monday Afternoon – Lunch

The first thing on the agenda after meeting our campers was lunch. Meals can be a bonding experience. We sat with Judi, my counselor buddy, and her girls at our assigned places, and as we joined hands to say grace, I felt connections being made.

Food also raises issues. Sandwiches were on the menu, and Jane cleaned her plate, but Sue didn’t want to eat. The server talked her into taking the bread and the sides, but she pushed them around the plate and nibbled at a potato or two. I wondered if she really wasn’t hungry or if she had underlying issues.


But I wasn’t there to psychoanalyze. I was there to help provide a safe place where the kids could have fun. We found the girls’ luggage and moved them into the dorm. We were supposed to have quiet time next, but swimming was coming up, and we had to check to see if everyone had swimsuits, flip flops, and beach towels. The air was electric, and although I loved watching the chaos, I didn’t share the enthusiasm. Displaying my old body was not going to be the highlight of my week, but once again I reminded myself it was about the kids, and I pulled a cover up over my suit.

We headed back up the hill toward the pool, counselors walking and occasionally cautioning an enthusiastic camper to slow down, girls prancing, giggling, and practically tumbling over each other like a bunch of puppies. Then I got my first glimpse of some of Sue’s other issues.

“ I want to go to The Pond. You have to pass a swim test to go there, but I passed it last year. I want to go down the slide first. I was the first one to go down it last year, and I want to be first again.”

This was Jane’s first year at camp, and she wasn’t sure about The Pond, especially after someone told her there were leeches in it. But I reassured her that chemical treatments had removed any critters, real or imagined, she agreed to give it a try – if she passed the test.

Counselors didn’t have to take the test, so I stood on the side of the pool and cheered. Both my girls swam half the length of the pool, treaded water for ten seconds, and received a red wrist band. Judi’s girls passed, too, so we were off to The Pond with Sue in the lead. We donned the requisite life jackets and waited for Sue to try on a dozen before I finally said That one will work just fine. Then I asked if the girls wanted us older girls to cheer them on or participate. They all agreed on participation. I looked at all those steps and at that long plastic chute and thought, Lord, are you sure about this? Once again, the thought came, It’s about the kids. We weren’t first, but we all went off the slide.


Swim time sped by without further incident except for my stepping on a sticker. It wasn’t the last time I’d injure myself during the week, but there was no time to worry about it. We had girls to herd back to the room to get changed for activity centers. It was hard to convince pre-teen girls there was no time for showers, but when we told them the next activity involved real sewing machines, they decided showers could wait.

For the next hour or so we helped them make pillowcases and bookmarks. It was rewarding and heart-breaking. When Judi handed “Alice” a pair of scissors, she hesitated.

“I’m not allowed to handle sharp things,” she said.

“Don’t worry,” said Judi. “I’m with you, so it’s okay.”

I didn’t know the back story on that exchange and didn’t want to. What mattered was that Alice and the other girls finished their projects, glowing with a sense of accomplishment as a wandering photographer snapped pictures. We just had time to take the projects back to our room and make a quick comfort stop before dashing back up the hill to Chapel.


They had only been at camp for 5 hours, but the girls were drooping. In spite of their tiredness, they were soon on their feet, singing and dancing along with the enthusiastic worship leader. We sat back down on the floor, leaning on each other for support, and listened to a short Bible story. Then we watched the first episode of a drama that would continue all week. It was based on the Construction Zone theme and the camp verse:

 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I prayed that, by the end of the week, these children would understand that, regardless of their circumstances, there was hope for their future.



For more information, go to the Royal Family Kids website.

I’m going to Camp: Can a Week Make a Difference? 

Royal Family Kids Camp: Getting Ready for the Kids

Royal Family Kids Camp: What’s In a Kid’s Name? 

Comments on: "Royal Family Kids Camp: Swimming, Activity Centers, and Issues" (4)

  1. Again, I”m anxious to hear what happened next! Thanks for sharing your amazing experience.

  2. Me too. I love this Linda. You sound like me when you talk and I feel like I am right there.

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