Look at Me, I’m Riding a Bike!
Gabi was an eleven year-old girl that was attending a Royal Family KIDS camp for the first time. By appearance and countenance, she looked much older than her age. Her background information noted that she had been horribly abused and her mother had tried to drown her in a bathtub.
Most of the children getting off of the bus upon arrival at camp seemed happy to be there. Those who were return campers were very excited. With Gabi, it was different. She was hesitant to get off the bus. She had a blank look on her face—devoid of emotion and was completely non-communicative … borderline catatonic. Gabi did not participate in any of the activities the first day of camp and her counselor was at a loss. Most counselors have two campers assigned to them for the week. The leadership team decided that Gabi should be the only camper assigned to a counselor in efforts to see if devoted attention would be best, so that she too can experience fun and have some happy memories.
On the second morning and after trying desperately to find an activity that Gabi would participate in, her counselor took her to the bicycles. Gabi agreed to try one. For the next eight hours, the counselor and another camp staff member ran alongside Gabi while she was on the bike—to the point of exhaustion, holding her up when she started to wobble. Against Gabi’s screams of fear, little by little they let go allowing her to ride on her own for a few feet. As those few feet began extending to yards, a crowd began to gather watching for that moment when she would ride on her own. Suddenly, her counselor let go of her completely and off she went! Gabi had learned to ride a bike.
That same day, Gabi further expressed herself by bursting into song during worship time at the chapel. Everywhere Gabi went around camp, she had 130 adult volunteers and fellow campers giving her high fives, and she soaked those up like an emotional sponge! The rest of the week, Gabi rode and rode with a wide smile shouting “look at me, I’m riding a bike!” Mission accomplished, as Gabi had her positive memory that we know she still thinks about today.