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Posts tagged ‘Royal Family Kids Camp’

Marked for Life | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 18, 2019:

our father's childrenI’m home with all bones intact but with a heart that has more marks than I can count. Let me back up a step or two in case you didn’t read my last column. I went to Royal Family Kids Camp last week, a very special place where kids in foster care can spend five days and four nights just being kids and having fun in a safe environment. In 2013 I served as a counselor and came home with a broken ankle and a broken heart. This time I was the camp scribe. I wasn’t as actively involved in the organized games and other strenuous activities – and David was home praying that he would get his wife back in one piece – so I came home physically undamaged. But as I watched and listened with the eyes and ears of a writer, I saw and heard the struggles, heartaches, and triumphs of more children and counselors than before when I was focused on the two campers that were my responsibility. There are more stories than I can write, but here are a few.

“Jane” was so afraid of the water that she brought her own life jacket and continuously Pink wristbandquestioned her counselor about the lifeguard’s ability to save her if she got into trouble. All campers are required to pass a swim test in order to venture into the deeper end of the pool or to go over to the pond. She wanted to take the test, but she was afraid, so she practiced long and hard. By Wednesday, she was ready to try. Everyone in the pool area had seen her struggle, and they all stopped to watch. When she passed, the cheers and applause were deafening. The wrist band she earned became her pink badge of courage, and she showed it to anyone who would look the rest of the week. (more…)

Camp Epilogue – About That Injured Ankle | by Linda Brendle

I’ve been home from camp five weeks, and things are pretty much back to normal – most things anyway. I no longer burst into tears for no reason, and I rarely break out into my own version of the camp theme song, complete with motions. I still think about my girls often and pray for them daily, but I no longer find myself obsessing over how I might adopt one or both of them. But then there’s my ankle. (more…)

Listen to What the Kids Say about Royal Family Kids Camp (Video)

My last eleven posts have been about my experience as a counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp last month. RFKC is a camp for foster kids, most of whom have been abused. After hearing what I had to say about it, I thought you’d like to see what the kids have to say about it. (more…)

Providing a Safe Place for the Kids | by Linda Brendle


David and I were asked to share a little about our camp experiences at church this morning. This is what I said.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.                                                                                                             Proverbs 18:10

Most of the kids we met at camp don’t have a safe place. They may never have had one.

During training, we were told not to try and “fix” the campers or try to counsel them. These kids have counselors and case workers and teachers and foster parents to help them with their issues. Our job was to provide a refuge, a safe place. (more…)

Royal Family Kids Camp: Princesses in Flip Flops | by Linda Brendle

Cover of "Princess (DK Make-Believe)"

(NOTE: This is a continuation of a series about my week as a counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp, a camp for foster children, most of whom have been the victim of some kind of abuse. To read what has gone before, see the links at the bottom of this post.)

Weepy Thursday

I woke up feeling weepy Thursday morning. Not only did my ankle hurt, but my heart also hurt, knowing that I’d be saying good-by to Jane and Sue in a little over 24 hours. If the girls shared my anxiety, they didn’t show it. The teen helpers had set up a nail salon in the common area in preparation for The Royal Tea later in the day, and before breakfast all the girls were sporting nails with rainbow colors, glitter polish, decals, and more. But Tea Party or not, we were still at camp, and we had dance class, activity centers, and Kids’ Club. Before you know it, it was time for lunch. And then it was TIME… (more…)

Royal Family Kids Camp: Happy Birthday to Everybody! | by Linda Brendle

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(NOTE: This is a continuation of a series about my week as a counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp, a camp for foster children, most of whom have been the victim of some kind of abuse. To read what has gone before, see the links at the bottom of this post.)




Chapel and dinner were accompanied by some acting out and personal issues. Sue pouted when I wouldn’t allow her to work on her keychain lanyard while everyone else was singing. And at dinner Jane struggled to stop when she was satisfied rather than continuing to eat until she felt sick. By this time of day, everyone was beginning to tire, and I had come to expect a few problems. But spirits and energy levels were lifted by the balloons and birthday napkins in the dining hall, the cupcakes on the dinner plates, and the party preparations that were going on in the field between the pool and the Chapel. (more…)

Royal Family Kids Camp: Imagination Station

RFKC(NOTE: This is a continuation of a series about my week as a counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp, a camp for foster children, most of whom have been the victim of some kind of abuse. To read what’s gone before, see the links at the bottom of this post.)

After our shopping spree, Wednesday proceeded through the normal camp schedule: activity centers, Kids’ Club, lunch,and an actual quiet time when exhausted campers and counselors napped for a few minutes. Then it was time for swimming.

With my foot wrapped and swollen, I opted out of getting into my swimsuit. Jane had decided she preferred swimming in filtered,

English: Super Soaker CPS 4100 from Hasbro; 20...

English: Super Soaker CPS 4100 from Hasbro; 2005 re-release (not original). Photograph of soaker that I own. Taken 02/14/2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

chlorinated water, so I supervised her at the pool while Judi took our other three to the more adventurous waters of The Pond. I found a chair with some other counselors in a shady corner where I thought I’d be safe from splashing and runoff from the swimmers. In my planning, however, I failed to take into consideration the many toys that were floating in the pool. It wasn’t long before I found myself staring down the barrel of a Super Soaker held by one of the girls from Dorm Room #1. She was on a mission, but at least she was polite about it.


Royal Family Kids Camp: Say “Yes” to the Dress | by Linda Brendle

RFKCA Visitor

Wednesday morning my throbbing ankle woke me early, but with a lot of prayer and a little determination, it’s amazing what you can do on one foot. I was sitting in a relatively quiet corner, dressed and contemplating the long walk to the dining hall, when one of the girls came running breathlessly down the hall.

“Miss Linda, there’s a MAN asking for you!” (more…)

Royal Family Kids Camp: Slip ‘n Slide and Slip and Fall | by Linda Brendle

RFKCAfter my triumph on the zip-line, we made a mad dash to the snack cart and then on to the dorm to change and get ready for activity centers. Once everybody was cleaned up, or at least camp clean, the girls grabbed their white t-shirts and headed toward the tie die tent. Judi and I watched from a safe distance as they enthusiastically squirted dye onto the carefully banded fabric. A few errant drops invariably splashed onto the teen helpers, but they didn’t seem to mind. (more…)

Royal Family Kids Camp: The Zip-line | by Linda Brendle


Tuesday was our first full day, and that was an apt description. Most of the counselors got up between 5:30 and 6:30 in order to get ready before the chaos began. We woke our campers around 7:00 and were in the dining hall shortly after 8:00. This was when I realized I needed to get everything that was offered in the serving line. If I didn’t want it, someone else did.

“Miss Linda, are you going to eat your sausages?”

“Miss Linda, can I have your cereal?” (more…)

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