Where Would We Go
Written by Doug Wagner | Executive Director
What makes a kid hostile, even self-destructive, lashing out, striking out at others indisruptive anti-social behavior? And what do you do with such a kid in a Christian children’s program? When things get out of control, sometimes the only thing you can do is suspend him from the program. That’s what happened to one fourth grade boy (we’ll call him Tommy) at the Fellowship House Camp Peace summer program. He was told he was on the cusp, on the edge. One more hostile outburst and he would be sent home for the rest of the summer.
Camp Peace kids are assigned a Bible Buddy – another child to be their partner. Bible Buddies watch out for each other and help each other out. As you can imagine, Tommy’s Bible Buddy hadn’t been getting much positive encouragement from his partner. The first sign of changed behavior came when one of the counselors asked the two of them “What was the best and the worst thing about being here at Camp Peace?” Earlier, several children had surprisingly offered that the Bible lessons had been their favorite time. For a worst thing, Tommy’s Bible Buddy said, “I feel like I don’t have any friends.” Tommy quickly responded, “What do you mean? You have the two of us!” That was the beginning of a turnaround for Tommy.
What motivates such a sudden change in behavior? There is definitely a fear of being suspended. No one wants to miss out on summer camp! Summer camp is where all their friends are. Every day they enjoy a hearty breakfast and lunch. The counselors love them and care for them and protect them. Despite the chaos of 65 energetic children gathered in one place, camp is orderly and clean and peaceful.
There is a point in the Gospels where Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, to whom would we go. You have the words of eternal life.” Perhaps that is the real question these kids are asking when their behavior is threatening their place at Camp Peace. “To whom would we go?” God’s love is what ultimately defuses hostility and anti-social behavior. In the mist of all the turmoil and terror which drives a kid to lash out at a seemingly uncaring world, there is this oasis of caring adults, these counselors who have come to live in their midst and teach them about a way to survive and to thrive, about a Person named Jesus who will hold their hand forever if they will only trust and obey.
On the last day of camp, several children cried as goodbyes were said. Their little hearts had been touched deeply by the relationships they formed this summer. This is what you have been supporting this summer through your gifts in support of Fellowship House. Once again this season we have seen lives changed through the love of Christ at Camp Peace. Thank you for all you do in support of the God’s work among the children of South Camden.