I'm back. I got home last night at about 5:30pm(PDT). I was and still am physically and emotionally EXHAUSTED. I haven't slept well in several days including last night and Thursday night I began developing cold symptoms. Fortunately they are subsiding today. I am so glad I went though. Camp was VERY challenging but absolutely awesome. It easily falls into the top five most difficult things I have ever done. From Thursday evening on it was very difficult for me to keep it altogether emotionally. I took time out Thursday night after lights out to go pray in the woods...I was able to let out much of my bottled up emotions as I cried out to God for these kids, so many of which come from such horrible environments.
Assigned to me were two 8 year old boys. The first one, L., seemed to be a "normal", well adjusted, highly energetic boy. It was a joy being L.'s camp counselor. A couple evenings L. asked me if he had been good that day. I told him each time that he had been great. L. was very generous too. He'd give things to the other boys if they wanted them. He even gave his jacket to one of the other boys to use one chilly morning. I was touched by all this. I did not know L.'s background. For some reason his camp application which details each camper's background was not available. L. did say his biological dad was in prison for murder.
The other boy, E., was very challenging. He has been through five foster homes and had developed a tough outer shell that was impenetrable. From his camp application there was a hint that E. had been sexually abused at some point. Although E. did have a lot of fun at camp, the least amount of conflict caused him to withdraw and fall into a passive aggressive rebellion. E. also had difficulty interrelating to the other boys and would often lash out with angry outbursts at them and would tell lies about things other boys at camp had supposedly done. At one point E. said that one of the other boys in the cabin told him he wanted to have sex with his (E.'s) sister who was also at camp. Remember these are 8 year old boys! E.'s lies caused a lot of conflict in our cabin with many other boys. All in all though, E. was engulfed in a loving and affirming environment by all the staff and counselors at camp.
My heart breaks for these kids. I am honored that I had the opportunity to help these kids out in a positive way, if only for five days. I look forward to going again next year.
Edited by Barkabus (08/17/08 12:33 AM)