Look to your future…that’s your future!” Natalia, the camp counselor, yelled, pointing to the stand at the end of the tight rope 30 feet in the air. Donna, the teenage camper, with tears streaming down her face, cried “I can’t…I can’t do it” as she struggled to place one foot in front of the other on this ropes course she had never experienced before. “Yes you can…you’re facing a challenge right now, but you can do it” Natalia shouted. “When you go back home,” Natalia continued, “you’re going to face other challenges in school, with friends and at home, but you’ve got to keep your eye on the goal…on the future.”
During my short visit here at Kids Across America camp for inner city kids outside of Branson, MO., that’s just one life-changing moment I’ve witnessed. Camp counselors like Natalia are teaching teens like Donna how to overcome their fears, how to trust others, how to trust God and how to establish a vision for their future…things that they’ve never even dreamed of doing before. You see, many of these kids have never even been more than just a few blocks from their housing projects…never been cared for …never been loved.
I know that many of the 41 teens we brought on our 20 hour bus ride from Tampa’s urban areas, will come back with different minds, different hearts and hope for the future. A big thanks to Gregg Bettis and his entire team at Kids Across America camp for the welcome mat they’ve placed out for kids like Donna. Oh, and by the way, Donna made it…with a beaming smile on her face!
Check out KidsAcrossAmerica.org. Maybe you’ll even be prompted to sponsor a group of teens from your area to experience this wonderful place.