SOTO – Story OF The One

Stories From Camp

In 2019 the Colorado Air National Guard partnered with Royal Family KIDS Camp Arvada. In meetings with the National Guard prior to camp to see if our camp was a good fit, they asked if the kids who attended our camp were at risk of drug and alcohol abuse, or if they  had seen it. The answer unfortunately was yes, our kids know about drug and alcohol abuse — even at their young ages of 7-11 years old. That was proven true when the guards were talking with the kids Monday night of camp about choices. They asked, how do your choices keep you from doing something? One astute nine—year old camper raised her hand and said, “My mom’s choice to do drugs meant I couldn’t live with her.” That is so true for many of our campers.

Fisherman Dan had a new experience at camp one year when he attended a tea party for the first time.  He had tears in his eyes as he related how the girls were treated with such respect and that words of blessing that were read over them were so special for each girl.

A tradition that started years ago at Royal Family KIDS Camp Arvada is to have the boys escort the girls to dinner for the birthday party. They go and pick them up at their cabins. Their guides help prepare their cabin groups for this tradition. One year, Guides Erica and Maria prepared their girls for the evening by telling them about how Erica’s dad took her on a date at age 13 to show her how a gentleman should treat her.  One of her young campers took it to heart saying, “We don’t deserve to be hurt.”  When one of the boy campers escorting this group asked, “Wanna come to dinner?” one of the girls replied, “I think you need to ask me more nicely.”  Guides James and Casey used their KBAR (Kick Back And Relax) time that day to prepare their young campers for what was ahead that evening.  They taught them that acting like gentlemen makes girls feel important.  They talked about respect. They practiced for an hour and their preparation paid off.  All went well as the boys took the girls flowers, conversed well with them about their days, escorted them into the dining hall, and pulled out chairs for them.  One boy camper in particular loved it!

We love the family aspect of RFK and the impact it has on the campers. The children learn about a healthy earthly family, but most importantly they learn and experience that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them so very much! We remember one year both our son and daughter were serving at camp. Justin was taking the portraits of each camper, and Mikaela was a camp guide. Her group was going in for their portraits and the two of them gave each other hugs (side hugs of course!). When Mikaela told her group that Justin was her brother, one young camper looked up at her, while holding her hand, and asked, “Does he hurt you?” A surprising question, but at camp not so much. She responded, “No, of course not.” During the week the young camper watch how they interacted and by the birthday party, the camper asked Justin to have the birthday dinner with their group. She sat down next to him on the picnic bench and said, “I think you’re a good big brother.” A life changed and more open to hearing about God, her Father. 

Comments from the kids about camp:

  • ‘Grammy-Giggles’ passed around a ball with questions on it.  One question was, “What is your favorite RFK thing?”  One camper answered “Respect.”
  • Gina noted, this year when she asked campers, “What was your favorite thing this week?” kid after kid answered, “Everything!”

Comments from caregivers:

  • The adoptive mom of three of the campers expressed that RFK has taught their kids that there are other safe adults in the world.  
  • One mom was very surprised at how well her son blossomed over the week.
  • A camper’s grandpa “Papa” was very emotional as he saw a difference in his grandson immediately upon his return. He said he’d love to have him mentored.
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