Earlier this summer I went to camp! Actually, I was a counselor at a camp at Irvine Lake, here in Orange County that was sponsored by the Teen Leadership Foundation… www.teenleadershipfoundation.com. The Teen Leadership Camps are focused on teen age foster kids who live locally.
The majority of the counselors at the camp were from Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa (April and I actually attend the Rock Harbor in Mission Viejo). All of the Rock Harbor churches have a pretty young congregation… I think the average age is about 30 or so. Needless to say, I was about double the age of most of the counselors at the camp!
I had the time of my life! I felt like I was in college again. I was partnered with a 13 year old young man named Abe, who lives in a group home in Santa Ana, and we really hit it off. Of course, it was more like a black kid going to camp with some random white grandpa type…but hey, I did the high-ropes course and the zip line like a champ.
Abe and I slept in a bunkhouse with about 20 other guys…just like in jr. high! I was willing to take the top bunk, but Abe wanted it. Considering how warm it was, I’m glad he ended up there, and he slept like you would expect for a teen. Given the amount of candy he brought with him, I was amazed! Seriously, there’s a 7-11 store somewhere in Santa Ana that had to place a double order of Skittles after Abe hit them up.
At the end of the weekend, we were all pretty exhausted. Everybody gave out a lot of hugs, and yes, there were a few tears shed…oh, wait, maybe that was just me.
Over the years, I’ve been to a lot of countries on short-term mission trips…Russia, Cuba, Peru and most recently, Uganda. You would think that my heart would break for all the people in those foreign countries, but you know, by the end of this camp weekend, I was wrecked. And it happened just 15 miles from my home!
My heart breaks for these foster kids who never ever deserved to end up in the place they’ve landed. Right now, I’m excited about getting approved through Olive Crest to mentor Abe. If you want to join on an adventure that could break your heart too, then check out www.teenleadershipfoundation.com . Call me if you want more info.