At camp, counselors and staff’s hearts break a little every time. At the retreats, you think you are a little safer. Middle school kids with all their hormones and “cool” behavior are a little harder to like, so no worries – less heartbreak.
But no, you see kids who were at camp when they were younger. You remember who they were and what they looked like at the time. You remember the hurts they were going through. Some had just been pulled into foster care. Others had been separated from their parents for a long time. Some signs of neglect and abuse were still evident. At the end of those summer camps, you prayed for each of them. You placed them in God’s hand and prayed that he would heal their hurts whether physical or emotional.
You prayed that they would look healthier or more whole the following year. You prayed that they could take less medication to cope. You prayed that God would take care of them. You prayed that God would place someone in their life that would be there to love them and care for them the way they deserved.
Now, at the retreat, you see those prayers answered and your heart breaks all over again. The boy who could barely walk due to abuse, who was afraid of everything only three years earlier, now grabs people’s name tags to give to them as he moves happily around greeting everyone with an ear to ear grin. The inconsolable girl whose cries broke our heart each night at camp now dances and smiles and helps her team in the ropes course. This time the heart breaks for what God has done. You see and feel the overwhelming power and love and you thank God that he heals hurts and that he answers prayers.
Onward & Upward is our weekend-long retreats for 13-15 year olds. The retreats use a curriculum focusing on character traits of godly men and women. We began this semi-annual program in 2004 with 39 teenagers and 46 volunteers.
SUMMIT is our weekend-long retreats for 16-18 year olds. The curriculum focuses on skills that will help them function better as adults. Examples include managing bank accounts, completing job applications, & mock interviews. We began this semi-annual program in 2007 with 12 teens and 16 volunteers.
RISE is a weekend-long retreat offered in April for teen boys and November for teen girls, ages 12-18. OFC will continue to use a 2:1 teen to counselor ratio at RISE, and the curriculum and activities are designed to help teens build self-esteem and navigate gender-specific issues.
Our Father's Children exists to provide HOPE to children of abuse and neglect in Texas, ages 16-18, in camp settings, weekend retreats, and in mentoring clubs. We recruit volunteers from a variety of cities, churches and organizations who have a heart for offering these kids hope in Jesus Christ. Whether as a volunteer or donor (or both), we would love to have you join us in providing hope to these kids!