How Camp Inspired a Movie
A half dozen years ago, while on a church staff, I was "required" to join a summer missions trip. I noticed in the bulletin an opportunity to help abused and neglected kids ages 9-12 through a program called Royal Family Kids Camp. I thought to myself, "The last time I spent time with a 9-year-old is when I was nine." I NEVER went to the part of the building labeled "children's ministry" even when there weren't kids there.
Then, in my heart, I felt the call to go help these kids. The call went against my wiring. I did not work with kids. But I also knew better than to ignore what could be a divine prompting. I still resisted interaction with children, many orphaned, who desperately need contact with loving, caring adults. Because I was on church staff, I was considered a "leader" and was given a role as support staff. I was relieved I wouldn't be responsible for any campers.
However, when we arrived at camp, more boys showed up that we anticipated. We needed more men counselors or some boys would have to go home. Reluctantly, I was made a counselor.
I had two campers, Brandon and Angel. That week became the hardest and yet the best week of my life. I learned what it meant to love kids that no one else wanted.
The camp experience, learning to care for the fatherless, has become the heart of the story we want to tell with our film. Why was it so hard for me to connect with kids? Where did the wall come from? Why is it so hard for men to step into the place of father? "Father" is a very difficult idea for many men. For me, divorce separated my father from me for much of my childhood. My father never knew his father and sometimes felt ill equipped to be one, but he always told me he loved me.
Of course these kids, having never heard these words, become hard, angry and difficult. At camp we get an opportunity to give unconditional love to those who are seemingly unlovable. And, in return, we learn we have the capacity to love at a depth we never experienced before.
It is our hope this film will inspire people to open their hearts to forgotten children who need adults in their lives.
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