I Was One of Those Kids
While I was visiting the Royal Family KIDS (RFK) camp in Columbia City, Indiana, I saw four uniformed police officers coloring, playing board games, and spending time with the campers. This was a switch from what these children typically experience with officers of the law—in other words, these particular officers weren’t ‘removing’ them from their homes.
For children whose only experience with law enforcement is the removal from their homes, time spent playing with them at camp was loaded with all sorts of good things. Having fun at camp with the officers might not erase the bad memories, but it will add a layer of good memories. Officer Grace Bolinger has always wanted to help kids—and people in general, and that is what lead her down the path to become a police officer, as well as volunteer for a RFK camp.
Grace was one of 200 children who passed through a foster home herself as a child and was one of four who were adopted. It was through the inspiration of her adoptive parents that contributed to Grace’s desire to help kids. She currently serves as Confinement Officer for Whitley County Sheriffs Department, and is Private First Class in the Indiana Army National Guard. All of these accomplishments at the young age of twenty!
When Grace heard a request from Sheriff Marcus Gatton asking for volunteers to attend a camp and serve foster children, she jumped at the opportunity! This very camp would be Grace’s introduction to Royal Family KIDS.
Grace was impressed that everyone at camp was a volunteer and the entire operation was funded through the generosity of people who cared about the plight of these foster children—enough so, to take action. Grace thought that the kids were pretty impressive as well! Some of the children spoke without hesitation, one boy looked on with suspicion, but most just wanted to hang out with Grace and the other officers. How did Grace feel about her experience at camp? In her words, “I can’t wait to go back next year.” That says it all!
By John Schwider with Officer Grace Bolinger
Columbia City RFK camp Director, Gabrielle Reinhard