Take these shackles off my feet so I can dance!

Matt and camp director (and our dear friend) Luke Kliewer. RFKC 2019

For the third year, Matt and I volunteered as part of the staff for the Hastings area Royal Family Kids Camp.

We head off to camp on Sunday afternoon, go (98%) off the grid, and serve around 50 kids who are in- or have been through the foster care system. It’s an inspiring week of team work and support, working from 7:30am until 11:00pm, finding time to bathe some time outside those hours, and pouring out love on campers and counselors.

Every year, the attacks come trying to convince us to NOT go to camp or that we shouldn’t have gone.

We were in the midst of a huge house project that we had to have ready for renters June 1st–except we were going to be at camp May 25-May 31, so we had to get the house ready by May 24th.

We had a plumber come out to snake the sewer because the house had sat empty for over a year, which led to having to dig a massive hole in the back yard.
We had a washer and dryer ready to go into the house, and five minutes after hook-up, the dryer died and needed to be replaced.
There were many smaller issues that arose, whispering, “if you weren’t going to camp, this wouldn’t be a problem.”

At some point between Tuesday and Friday afternoon the week of camp, the water heater in our house blew up/quit working/lost all its water.
Icy showers for a couple of days and several hundred dollars later to replace the water heater endeavored to make us regret going to camp.

But at RFKC, we are Aunt and Uncle to fifty-some kids. We give high fives and (side) hugs and cheer them on. We sing and dance and make fools of ourselves. I direct the drama that is presented each morning–silly, silly skits with meaningful messages. The kids laugh and cheer and ask me questions about it throughout the week, and the drama team falls over ourselves laughing as we prepare for it.

On Thursday, which is a hard day for everyone because it’s the last full day and the “real world” starts to loom large, I get teary hugs and “I’ll miss you, Aunt Summer“s.

And the love and support among the staff and counselors is precious as we grow friendships and strengthen our well-oiled-machine of a team.

Returning to the real world and work is hard, but these issues that have arisen cannot–will not–make me regret giving my week to these kids and this team.

I am free.
I am dancing.
I will not be re-shackled.

**NOTE: Royal Family Kids Camp is 100% free for these kids, but it costs approximately $500/kid to make it possible. There is a 5K coming up in a few weeks, there will be a SWEET dessert auction event this fall, and donations are accepted year-round to make camp a reality. If you are moved to support this mission, you can write checks to Royal Family Kids Camp. Please mail them to me at PO BOX 193 Blue Hill, NE 68930, and I will be happy to get the funds to the camp directors.**


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