Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blogging A to Z Challenge "His Kids Camp"

"His Kids Camp" 
"To share the love of Christ with all of His children"
by Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher

(This article appeared in the March issue of the Nebraska Family Times. For more information about the Nebraska Family Times, a pro-family, pro-life monthly newspaper with a mission "to inspire, encourage, and motivate you in your Christian walk, go to Nebraska Family Times.)

Leila and Dave Rehbein, His Kids Camp Co-Directors, were in the midst of adopting two of their special-needs foster children (they have five biological children and 4 adopted children) when Leila realized that God did not want her to only care for a few foster kids in her own home, He wanted her to take on a whole camp full of His kids!

Leila and Dave had been volunteering at Camp Luther for several years (and Dave is on the Board of Directors) when the pastor who was running the Handicamp program took a call out of state. When Leila and Dave were asked to take over the program, Leila said she was “Giddy with excitement at the prospect of leading this ministry!“ That summer she and her husband took over Camp Luther’s Handicamp and later changed the name to His Kids Camp, which grew into His Kids Camp Ministry.

As described on the His Kids Camp website ( His Kids Camp is a Christian residential camp (at Camp Luther near Schuyler) for developmentally challenged individuals age 13 through older adults.

The His Kids Camp Ministry has evolved into a variety of camps and retreats for campers and campers and their families. As parents of several special needs children, Leila and Dave know how important it is for parents to have a temporary break from the often exhausting challenges they face. His Kids Camp provides respite for those parents.

“Buddy” Volunteers

Every His Kids camper is paired with a “buddy” volunteer. That “buddy” stays with the camper during the time he or she is at camp. The “buddy” volunteers don’t need to have any experience with special needs people, just a desire to share the love of Jesus. Each volunteer is trained before the campers arrive; volunteers have access to all the information about their camper, including a form filled out by previous year’s buddy. This way the volunteer knows of the camper’s special needs, behaviors, preferences, etc.

Volunteers assist during the week as the campers enjoy indoor and outdoor Christ-centered activities, including a talent show. Leila says, “All of the activities are specifically geared to help each camper be successful. We boost self-esteem and build confidence!”

Volunteers entering 9th grade and up—including college students and adults—are welcomed. Leila reports that this year a grant will cover all of the expenses of volunteers, who, as a result, will be able to attend camp for free! Training, room and board, and programming is provided.

Leila says “Being a “buddy” to a special needs camper is a rewarding experience. It isn’t always easy, but every day they learn more and more of what it means to be a servant of Christ, to show God’s love to and for their camper. Volunteer buddies go home with a confidence that they have made a difference in the life of their camper!”
His Kids Campers

The special-needs campers are changed as well. Some of them have a hard time fitting in with other campers at first, and some have behavior problems that have prevented them from attending other camps. Leila and her staff make an effort to accommodate and work with these campers, sometimes assigning the camper an extra buddy for the week. The application form asks parents/guardians to list the camper’s abilities, challenges, needs, behaviors and how they are handled, activities the camper enjoys, and so on, enabling the staff and volunteers to have a detailed picture of how they can assure the camper enjoys camp.

His Kids Camp Needs

Volunteers! For more details and application forms go to At least 15 volunteers are needed for each camp in June.

Nurses! Leila is a nurse but as the camp has grown, she needs other nurses to give medications during camp. The nurse (Leila would prefer to have two nurses for weekly camps) needs to be at camp from 4PM Wednesday-11AM on Saturday. For weekend camps one nurse is needed from Saturday at 8AM-Sunday at 4PM.

Financial Support for Campers! Many campers and their families are not able to afford camp. His Kids Camp is a unique opportunity for special needs campers to share the love of Jesus and feel accepted and welcome. Leila says “My goal is to have a LOW or NO COST camp for our special needs campers.” Please contact her for more information.

Supplies! Supplies needed include; legal size paper (to print Bible stories and activity booklets), construction paper, Christian word search or crossword puzzle books (easy to medium levels), graham crackers, marshmallows, and ready made chocolate frosting, white t-shirts size large and extra large (about 100 t-shirts are needed for a craft project), bingo prizes, 6 adult large-size life vests, old-fashioned round wooden clothes pins, and special products for weed clean up; please contact Camp Luther for the specific products needed.

Please prayerfully consider the above needs and be part of sharing the love of Christ with His Kids!

For more information please contact Leila Rehbein, His Kids Camp Director at Camp Luther of Ne, Inc. at (402) 981-5732 or e-mail or go to His Kids Camp

His Kids Camp Dates 2012:
His Kids Retreat Weekend (ages 13 and over) April 20-22
His Kids Camp Family Retreat Weekend (ages 5 and older) April 27-29
His Kids Camp (age 35 and over) June 6-9
His Kids Camps (age 13 and over) June 13-16; June 20-23; June 27-30
His Kids Camp Retreat Weekend (ages 13 and over) October 6-7; October 13-14

($20 discount on all camp registrations received and paid in full before April 15, 2012!)

I'm also blogging at 
See my post today, "The King who Tried to Hide from God." 

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