Story of The One Special Camper
Last year, I was privileged to have an opportunity to get to know a special camper at the Royal Family KIDS camp in Hersey, MI. This little boy was a very smart eleven year-old who was very closed when it came to the subject of his childhood. This special camper who I will call “G” was very tough to keep track of during the week of camp, as he would just take off in any direction—at any time he felt like doing so. I needed eight pairs of eyes just to keep track of him! He was not abrasive, but he was not one who liked to follow all the positive plans we had for him. Despite G’s own agenda, I continued to work with him and little by little everyday, he trusted me and we begin to form a bond.
And when the end of the camp week came, it was my hope that our time together was positive and effective in helping the healing process of G. Little did I know, that G was actually moved to trust me, and that it would make such a difference in his life. Not knowing this, the following year when I visited the camp to support our church volunteers, I ran into G. He enthusiastically remembered me as his counselor and our time together from the previous year! He asked if I was going to be his counselor again this year but unfortunately, I had to tell him that I was not volunteering at the camp this year. At the news of this, G was disappointed and it was evident by his reaction that he was sad that I wasn’t going to be his counselor this year. I also felt bad, but remained positive and encouraging to him.
As the week of camp continued, G told his cabin leader to ask me if I would like to sit behind him that Monday night at chapel. I did. This brought back such good memories for me from the time we spent together the previous year. After chapel, G asked if I would come visit him in his cabin before “lights out.” I was honored. I also went to see him at his cabin before I left to go home that week.
It was great to see G again, and I have much joy in knowing that we bonded and built a positive relationship together. I have no doubt that our relationship is one that we will both remember—one that will change us in positive ways over a lifetime.
Todd Ortiz, RFK camp counselor