The gym at camp is dark. Literally. Neon-coated cones lines the floor, neon lights wrap the basketball hoops, and cards with neon writing line all four walls. Balls are wrapped with neon tape, and balloons with neon lights in them are tied to goal posts or taped to walls, like colored planets in the dark of space. It’s a brite-lite masterpiece, put together by Coaches Cindy and Jay.
Campers come in, adjusting their eyes to the neon glowing room. Coach Jay continues to fill balloons, turning on the tiny lights within, before swatting them toward the kids. As the games continue, Jay notices a small boy staring at a balloon. “Hey buddy, would you like a balloon?” he asks. “Yes!” is his excited response.
Jay prepares another balloon and hands it to the boy. As the boy takes it, Jay can see the camper’s face through the sheer yellow balloon. His large brown eyes are magnified by the balloon, and Jay sees him inspecting the tiny light inside. The camper shifts his gaze and his hand, now revealing his smile, enlarged by the balloon’s cover, a huge, cheek-to-cheek smile that reveals real delight.
The boy runs off, and Jay sees him go to a wall where notes are taped. The boy is obviously searching for his counselor’s name. He meticulously reads several cards. He eventually stops and leans intently toward the wall. Jay knows the camper has found the note cards written by his counselor. He watches the boy read. The camper turns, still smiling, and rejoins the games.
Jay walks over to the cards where the boy was last reading and reads:
Darius, I am glad I met you this week. I want you to know that you are unique and wonderfully made.
Another says: Hayden, you are strong. Use your strength to do good things.
And another: Eric, nothing can ever separate you from God’s love.
Finally: Marshall, you’re awesome! I am looking forward to a great week with you. Remember that God loves you.
Simple words spoken from the heart, shared from counselor to camper. Bringing light to the hearts and minds of campers.
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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 6-18, in camp settings and weekend retreats. 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!