Many years ago, when I was involved with youth ministry, I was fortunate to be a part of the cast of a fun play called "Camp W". Written by prolific author and playwright Paul McCusker (who is actually my cousin), the play is about a run down camp for kids that is about to be shut down by the health inspector. The main characters are the camp counselors who basically run the camp, and the trials, tribulations, and relationship problems they have to deal with. There is a core message about the camp being a place for the kids, and how important it is to them and to the camp staff. It is written as a comedy, and it contains lots of laughs, and I was very fortunate to be a part of three different casts over a 5-year span, along with an assistant director credit on each. I bring it up because of how much it reminds me of the wonderful camp my daughter has attended for the past several years each summer, Grace Adventures Day Camp.
Grace is actually nothing like the camp in Camp W. It isn't the type of camp that has cabins for the campers and counselors, and it isn't a run down dive that the health inspector is threatening to close because of poor plumbing. Grace Adventures Day Camp is a bright, shining light for kids to experience fun and Christ's love in a comfortable atmosphere geared to them, and is led by some of the best and brightest young men & women I've come across. There's something special happening at Grace Community Church, and that something special is really exemplified by the staff of Grace Adventures Day Camp.
I've been a part of the Grace Community for almost ten years, and I've seen how the youth and children's leaders have created an environment that has led to the kids and youth of the church to be so different and positive compared to what you might see portrayed in the media. And when I see them doing these unexpected things, it makes me feel good about the future of not only our country, but our world. As a father myself, I am so happy that my daughter has a place to go that she looks forward to, and that she is being taught things in a way that I want to see her being taught. I know she is in good hands when we're not together.
Grace Adventures Day Camp is providing that same level of teaching. When I first heard about the camp several years ago, I was excited for my daughter's sake that we had found a place where she might feel comfortable enough to come out of her introverted shell. Little did I know... She did come out of her shell, and she found the type of female role models that she never had before. After my wife passed away, when my daughter was 5 months old, the only women in her life were her grandmothers and a couple of aunts. The camp provided something entirely different. Here were many young women that were not only showing her the proper way to behave and carry herself, but were also teaching her about Christ and exhibiting Christ's love in an environment that she could have fun in. For a single Dad, the camp is a Godsend. My daughter has made relationships with some of these young women that I am sure will carry forward through her teenage years and beyond.
One of the things that really impressed my girl is that her counselors were writing and sending her postcards through the mail after each week of camp. They also were always so positive and excited to see her each day. My daughter just ate this stuff up.
This year is going to be her fourth year at Grace Camp. She's really looking forward to it. She's taking a week of dance specialty, outdoor exploration, and a few other fun things. But the biggest deal is the relationships she's building. It's awesome to see.
So thank you to Ms. Michelle, Ms. Amy, Miss Grace, Miss Cree, Miss Sarah, Miss Erin, Miss Deanna, Miss Kristen, Miss Caitlin, and so many others who have made a major impact on my little girl over the last several years. You're all awesome in our book!
For anyone in the Howard County area of Maryland, or areas in northern Montgomery or Prince George's Counties, or Western Anne Arundel County, please consider Grace Adventures Day Camp for your children this summer. For more information, please see the following website: http://graceadventurescamp.org/