With the oil spill in the gulf, unemployment at new highs and just the overall ugliness of war, poverty and senseless violence, it is easy to overlook the heroic individuals who use their time and talents to bring healing and hope. I met such heroes this week at summer camp. I’m encouraged by the kindness of these leaders, who take a most precious commodity – time – and turn it into health and wholeness for a special group of kids.
Royal Family Kids Camp is a national organization that creates positive memories in the lives of abused, abandoned and neglected children through a week long resident camp experience. On Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit the local camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where 90 bright-eyed, joy-filled children enjoyed swimming, boating, games, crafts and teaching. Most importantly during their time at the camp, these children coming from foster or group homes are loved on and encouraged.
What a gift to give a child! One child had the camp “grandmother” hold his hand for 45 minutes before he went to sleep. Another camper learned to ride a bike for the first time. Each child participates in the “Everyone’s Birthday Party,” because at home most of these children don’t have a special birthday celebration. As beautiful these stories are, what is an even more sweet-smelling fragrance is the counselors and volunteers who make these possible.
Unsung heroes, individuals that are role models, cross our paths on an almost daily basis. They are the people who make the world a cheerier place because they positively influence those around them. The volunteers I saw were doing just that and more! Each counselor could tell a story of how they cared for a camper, how an individual was nurtured or, even better, the growth of character and integrity in returning camp participants.
I thank the heroes in my life – those who stood by my side even when I hardly deserved it. Too many to mention here, they brought a gift of beauty into my life. They reenergized me when I needed it. They uplifted me and showed me that in the end, beauty and peace will prevail. To those who came along side me, thank you so much, like the counselors at Royal Family Kid’s Camp, for showing me heaven on earth.
I hope some day I can be a hero like you.
Question: Whose your hero and why?