“I will change your name. Your new name shall be … ”  We’ve sung this song “I Will Change Your Name” countless times at Royal Family Kids Camp.  The lyrics applied to one story from our June camp at Camp Akiva in East Texas.

When one 11 year old camper arrived at camp, the first thing she said in her room was “I’m a weirdo”. The counselor immediately disagreed with her. The girl then explained that this was what the kids at school said about her. The counselor pointed out that that didn’t make it true. The girl responded, “Well, I’m fat” and once again it was based on what the kids at school said.

The girl’s first day of camp included swimming at the waterfront and bouncing off the blob, both first time experiences for her and her counselor. It also included making a wooden cross at woodworking with the assistance of a teen helper. That evening, the camper realized that the counselor was not a paid employee, but a volunteer. She asked the counselor why she was here if she wasn’t getting paid. The counselor explained that she loved Jesus, she loved kids, and she wanted to have a fun experience at camp. This seemed to make an impact on the camper as she realized that this was someone who wasn’t being paid to take care of her. The idea that the counselor just wanted to have fun at camp was very appealing. That night the girl camper asked her counselor about her short hair. The counselor explained that children had made fun of her daughter’s short hair when she was growing up and in a show of support, she had cut hers off. She told them that she wanted her daughter to know that beauty was not defined by hair or looks. She explained to the young girl that God made each one of them unique and beautiful.

This woman step by step made an impact in this camper’s life. She took each moment of doubt and self-criticism and turned it into a teachable moment. By the end of camp, the camper didn’t hide her face when pictures were being taken and she even sang a solo on stage during the variety show. The counselor blessed this young camper’s life and possibly her future.

A name was changed …

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