I have a lot of trouble with transitions. Whether it’s packing for a trip or preparing myself to go back to school, I often get overwhelmed with the uncertainty about what comes next. This week we are hosting 60 kids in the foster care system. These kids come to us with the weight of living with constant uncertainties, some of which are life changing. We know that what we do at Living Water Ministries can’t fully take away that uncertainty, but we can allow these kids to check it at the door for a week to enjoy gaga ball, canoeing, and all the other fun things camp has to offer.
Living Water Ministries strives to make foster care week feel like any other week of camp, however we are incredibly intentional about preparing ourselves to best serve kids in the foster care system. Our partners at Samaritas come during staff training and teach the staff how to deliberately make kids in foster care feel safe and at home while at camp. We are also taught during training that we serve ‘in loco parentis’, or in place of the parent. Of course, this goes for every week at camp but during foster care week ‘in loco parentis’ is upheld with the utmost intent.
With all things considered, foster care week feels incredibly normal. These campers are just itching to have fun without worrying about responsibilities that may weigh on them daily. For some, camp is a place where they can try something new, like archery. For others, camp is a place where they can talk about their feelings in a safe space. The ministry of camp is so beautiful because in a grassroots way, camp sees what is needed and tends to it, all through the lens of our mission and vision. This is how camp changes the world, by showing Jesus’ love to kids one camper at a time.
For many kids in the foster care system there are a lot of moving pieces and details to keep track of, leaving little time to nurture their faith lives. Another purpose camp serves this week is taking care of the essentials like food, bedding, and TLC so the campers can put all of their focus on enriching their relationship with Jesus. Psalm 147:4 tells us, “God counts the stars and calls them by name”. Just like with the stars, God claims us and names us. Because of that, it’s impossible that we are forgotten or overlooked by God, even when it may feel like it sometimes. God walks with us through every step of our journey despite its uncertainties, and knowing this gives me peace for my own journey.