Summer Recap: Camp Allendale

It has been a busy summer for us at K.I.D.S. Inc! We’ve wrapped up two camps, have been continuing our weekly programs, and are currently finishing up Elementary Club Week. One of the highlights of the summer is our week at Camp Allendale, so we wanted to take a minute to thank you and fill you in.

Before we left for camp, we wrote about how if we could have nothing else from this week, we would want our students to see Jesus. That’s the reason we show up: so that for a few days, away from their normal brokenness and chaos, our students could see the love of Jesus, and that that love would stick with them. Every year, we go in not quite knowing what to expect, but trusting that God will work. Every year is a little different, but every year God shows up.

We took 21 students, 6 counselors, and 1 purple elephant (No, really. It's in the photo.) to Camp Allendale this year. It was a blast!

Learning to Trust

Being at Camp Allendale allows us to do a lot of activities designed to stretch our students. They get the chance to try hard things, to succeed, and sometimes to fail. One of the most powerful activities is a trust fall exercise. Most of our students have never known a person who hasn’t let them down, and an exercise like this is always incredibly challenging. Going in, it’s easy to want to see victory, for our students to get over fears and learn to rely on each other. But this year, we had a powerful experience with one student who could not get herself to complete the exercise. She felt like she failed, but the experience gave her the chance to open up to us about why she doesn’t trust people, and for us to communicate that God’s grace is deep enough for that, and His faithfulness doesn’t leave.

 

Sharing Hearts

Another part that stood out this week was watching our students open up to each other, in ways we’ve rarely seen before. One night, we let our students perform or share something for each other in an open mic activity. What started with musical performances and stories turned into one student after another opening up to share deep parts of their lives. These are stories of brokenness and pain, of the kind we would never wish for anyone to experience. But in that moment, we got to watch our students talk, listen, cry with each other, and know—if only for a few minutes—that these people are there for them. When all our gospel analogies and snappy presentations fail, we find that sometimes the love of Jesus shows up the most through the people next to us, and we got to watch our students experience that love.

 

Finding Hope

Another highlight from this year was getting to work together with Camp Allendale’s visiting missionary. Our friend Lisa shared with our students about her work, about the pain of life and the hope of the gospel. Through her honesty and passion, she was able to connect with our students. After she shared the last night at camp, we gave our students the chance to pray and accept Jesus. Afterward, one student told us that it was watching Lisa that drew her to pray that night. “If she can care about us that much,” she said, “then I guess there’s something there. I want that.”

On Thursday, the students decorated their own camp shirts. Dakota got just about everyone to sign his.

Lisa, the camp missionary, shared about the traveling music school she and her husband use to minister to Native Americans.

Thanks

There are always more stories we could tell, but the main thing we want to say is thank you. Thanks for your prayers, your participation, and your support. Looking back at this week, we see that the prayer we communicated at the beginning—that our students would see Jesus—was answered this week in ways we didn’t even expect. Thanks for being part of it.

As our students are back at home now, and many of them back in stressful and even dangerous situations, we ask for your prayers more than ever.

  • Pray that we could be a consistent presence for our students back at home.
  • Pray that they would know God is with them, and have strength in that knowledge.
  • Pray that the gospel would grow roots in their hearts and transform their lives.

Thanks, as always, for being part of what we do at K.I.D.S. Inc. May God be glorified in us!

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