Did you know that 75% of people in prison have been in Foster Care and over 80% of those on death row were in the Foster Care System? Additionally, 50% of the girls in Foster Care are pregnant by their 19th birthday. There is a continuous cycle of change and upheaval in the lives and relationships surrounding foster children, which has a lasting negative impact on them. However, through Royal Family KIDS camps and mentoring, we have the opportunity to break that cycle. In fact, their mission of the camp staff and volunteers is to treat the kids like royalty while planting the seeds of change one moment at a time to make a difference in their lives.
Over two separate weeks this summer, 63 foster children ages 6 to 12 from Larimer and Weld Counties received the royal treatment at a Royal Family KIDS camp hosted by Timberline Church Fort Collins and Timberline Church Windsor. Over two years of preparation went into these first two camps as 120 adult volunteers were trained and prepared to donate 10,000 hours of time into the camps and the lives of these precious children.
When they arrived at camp, each child was given two designated volunteers to be a resource for them throughout the week. Then during the week, there were birthday parties, carnivals, concerts, a talent show, activities galore, and even a grandma and grandpa on hand to show what a healthy family structure looks like. Each child was also given a Bible and the opportunity to explore his/her faith with a camp counselor to provide a resource to call upon when they come upon future forks in the road.
After a week of non-stop activity full of ups and downs, the volunteers met to share and process the inevitable kaleidoscope of emotion. Many shared stories of children who made their first friend while at camp while others wished the Guides could be their dad. Many mentioned the countless selfless acts and non-stop love that was poured out all week. The Fort Collins camp had the additional aspect of many Timberline Student Ministries “Junior Guides” who became role models, brothers, and sisters to the Campers. Most importantly, one volunteer said, “I was amazed at the difference in the kids between Monday and Friday. We planted seeds and started seeing them grow a plant.”
What’s ahead for next year? More camps to touch the lives of more children. And plans are underway to incorporate a mentorship component so the children can continue to receive support once they age out of camp eligibility. Of course, in order to continue to provide the royal treatment, there is a need for volunteers to supply the time as well as community financial donations to cover the costs.
Together we can help these kids transition from becoming a statistic to being a healthy member of our loving community. Find out more or donate at http://www.fortcollins.royalfamilykids.org or http://www.windsor.royalfamilykids.org.