Brave and Beautiful
On Monday during the week of camp, we have a tea party that is deemed the highlight for many of the girls. The girls have their hair styled, their nails done, and they pick out a new dress for the party. I watched as several campers came out with their hair all done up and new dresses they had chosen, smiling from ear to ear as campers and counselors alike told them how beautiful they looked. While all of this fun and rejoicing was happening, down the hall we had another girl camper who was in a crisis. She had come to camp that week with her hair all knotted up and tangled. She had sores because the knots where so tight. She was very self-conscious about her hair and didn’t want anyone to touch it. I could hear her crying while her camp counselor and others were trying to help and comfort her. Her soft sobs were not one of a child who was throwing a tantrum or was upset because they didn’t get something they wanted. They were tears filled with sorrow, fear, and hopelessness.
This was a child fearful and humiliated who believed her own situation was totally helpless. But her camp counselor and assistant continued to gently love and encourage her by bringing dresses to see if she wanted to try any of them on for the tea party. She did agree to try some on and from then on, little by little the sorrow began to dissipate. She picked a sweet dress that had sparkly sequins all over it. As she had her hair styled and nails done, her confidence began to grow. I think it’s possible that she began to believe that just like the dress she had on, she sparkled too!
During the crises and cutting the knots out of her hair, she we gently kept telling her that she was brave and beautiful. At the tea party all the girls were asked to raise their hands if they felt beautiful and she raised her hand. The gentle touch of the Lord had already begun healing her wounded heart and spirit. All of the girls had a chance to decorate a photo frame with two words to describe themselves. She selected the words ‘beautiful and brave.’ Those of us who know her story agree that she is in fact both.
I am always amazed at how these precious little children were victims of neglect or abandonment, as I see them persevere with great hope. These children also band together at times and help each other get through trials. Seeing how these children receive love from us—and witnessing just how strong they are and what they have been accomplishing, shows us that they are survivors. We could all take a lesson from them.
Kenra Keddington, RFK camp Director in Sandy, Utah