Tuesday, October 2, 2012

His Kids Camp Part Two

by Shelly Burke, Nebraska Family Times Editor

(If you would like a FREE sample copy of the Nebraska Family Times, send your request, along with your mailing address, to shelly@shellyburke.net). 

(Editor’s Note: I was a volunteer camp nurse at Camp Luther’s His Kids Camp in June.)

The morning medication pass is the biggest one all day, but the campers and their buddies were patient while I double-checked names and medications. As I was getting things put away Josh Rausch, the Program Director, invited me to chapel.

 It was heart-warming to walk down the hill and hear the campers and their buddies chatting about the hot weather and what was scheduled for the day. Buddies cautioned their campers to watch their step on the rough ground, and helped them find a seat in the beautiful old building.

From the outside I couldn't imagine how the 50+ campers, buddies, and volunteers would fit into the chapel—but we did! And when we started singing—just WOW! I’m quite sure God heard our voices raised to Him! The campers who had been there before enthusiastically did all of the actions and those of us who hadn’t heard the songs quickly caught on. Campers and buddies listened intently as Josh taught how our hearts became dirty with sin, but God washed those sins away when Jesus died for us on the cross and then rose again. The simple lesson—the basis of Christianity--was presented in a way everyone understood and took joy in hearing.

A buddy signs while Josh plays his guitar to a camper
singing "Our God is an Awesome God"
The talent show on the final evening of camp was clearly a high point for campers and their buddies—as well as everyone who attended. Buddies worked with their camper to find a talent they wanted to share, and from the medication room I could see and hear some of the campers practicing their talent. Despite getting hints about the talent show, nothing could have prepared me for the actual event.  

As everyone found seats in Gerwick Hall, Josh, and Christina Hansen, another director, finalized the order of appearance of campers and prepared music and other props. As campers began showing their talents, I was amazed and touched at the response of everyone in the audience.

Campers and buddies singing during the talent show
Campers shared a wide variety of talents; one camper sang Our God is an Awesome God, and another invited all of us to stand, put our hands over our hearts, and join him as he sang and played drums to the National Anthem. A deaf camper and his buddy signed the Lord’s Prayer. Another camper demonstrated his ability to put together a puzzle. A camper I’d barely heard say a word smiled shyly as she was cheered and encouraged to sing a song.
The "evil stepsister" (right) and her camper were getting
along just fine when camp ended

Josh was quick to join a camper who had a bit of stage fright; he held her hand as they skipped across the stage. Another camper invited most of the audience to be characters in a play she had written. Laughter swept through the hall as she designated her buddy, a very sweet young lady, to be her “evil stepsister.” (I was glad the play ended on a happy note, with the “sisters” hugging each other.)

Every talent was applauded with cheers and shouts and whistles from the audience, and every camper was valued and lifted up for his or her talent and courage at performing in front of others. God’s love for every single one of us, regardless of our abilities, was poured out through everyone in the building that evening; I have tears in my eyes now, almost three months later, remembering.

A deaf camper (right) signs a story while his buddy
signs and speaks for the camper
I plan to make His Kids Camp a part of my summer every year! You can take part too. Volunteers are needed as buddies and helpers. (Buddies are given thorough training so they are comfortable with the needs of their campers.)  Nurses are needed to distribute medications and give treatments.

Supplies and financial donations are always appreciated. If you’d like you can donate specifically to sponsor a camper and his or her buddy; a full sponsorships is $400 and partial sponsorships are needed as well. And of course, special needs campers are needed! Please spread the word about His Kids Camp and Respite Weekends (see upcoming dates on the back page of this issue of The Nebraska Family Times). For more information go to www.campluther.org or www.hiskidscamp.org or contact Leila Rehbein, His Kids Camp Director, at (402) 981-5732. Camp Luther and His Kids Camp are also on Facebook.

Camp Luther also offers a variety of camps and retreats for kids and adults of all ages. 

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