In every week of camp, we are witness to the joy that campers feel being at camp. When campers are here, we try to teach them the importance of lifting each other up, as children of God. It’s important to us that campers know that they are accepted here, and to also know that they belong here. One week of our summer we welcome adults with developmental disabilities for our program called “Abundant Life”. In partnership with the organization Angel’s Place, we were able to host 41 campers this year. There are no campers who are more excited to be here than Abundant Life campers.
In a world where they are pushed to the sidelines and often forgotten, camp celebrates their presence. I don’t think I have ever seen more joy than when our Abundant Life campers arrive for their week of camp. It’s something we know they look forward to every year, and so do we. When they get here, it’s like welcoming family members home. We have staff members who have worked for three or four summers who look forward to this week every year. The campers remember those staff and look forward to seeing them again, just like the staff remember their former campers.
The week is filled with so much joy. One camper who comes every year goes by JJ, and he loves to sing more than any person I have ever met. Everywhere he goes he sings, and he loves to sing camp songs. JJ is also on a softball team at home. After our week of Abundant Life, one of our day camp teams was close enough that they actually attended his softball game. The counselors and staff have so much love for these campers and have built relationships with them. The love they feel continues long after the week of camp is over.
These campers give us so much more than we give them, and we are thankful for that. We give them a week at camp. But they show us what it means to have unconditional love for all God’s children.
[written by Katie Higgs, LWM summer marketing intern]