The Minden Royal Family Kids Camp is fast approaching, but funds and volunteers are still needed to insure campers and counselors have everything they need to make the camp a success. RFKC is a national faith-based, non-denominational camp specifically for children who have been neglected, abused and are currently in foster care. Camp is free to campers and all volunteers.
Sandra Samuel, Minden-RFKC director, says they still need about $12,000 for materials and supplies, and at least five more male counselors, aged 18 years or older. Also needed is a certified lifeguard, male or female.
“We want this camp to happen because every child matters,” Samuel said. “Children in foster care have already lost so much and the camp team wants them to realize there are adults who are safe and trustworthy. Our goal is to see 30 children ages 6-11 experience life-changing moments in a camp setting.”
Camp is overnight – the children will arrive at around 11 a.m. on that Monday, June 27 and won’t go home until that Friday afternoon on July 1, 2016.
“For one week, they will get a chance to forget about life in foster care,” Samuel said. “There may be people sitting in church asking themselves, ‘What can I do to help?’ They may have considered going into the mission field but can’t go overseas. This is the mission field and it’s in their own back yard.”
Children are recommended by each case worker, with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, which covers Webster, Bossier, Caddo, Bienville, Claiborne and Jackson parishes.
Among the items to be purchased include memory bags for the campers and training materials for the counselors. The memory bags for the kids include a RFKC water bottle, a RFKC Bible, activities book, camp T-shirt, photo album, purple fleece blankets with monogrammed names, an RFKC duffle bag and RFKC “play away” with all the camp songs and Bible stories.
Each camper will receive a camp T-shirt when they arrive at camp and the one in their memory bag. The shirts are important, Samuel says, to provide for the children’s basic needs.
“When children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care, many times, a case worker will have to buy them clothes, because they will only have the clothes on their backs,” she said.
Those belongings are usually in a black trash bag and do not normally contain memories from home, she said.
“While a photo album to some may seem trivial, to a camper it is evidence of being loved,” she said. “That simple album will contain photos that have captured special moments during the week they left foster care behind and will become a precious treasure to them.”
Also included is the “play away,” which contains songs and Bible stories the children will learn during camp.
“For me this is one of the most important gifts we can give them,” Samuel said. “When those children leave camp, we may never see them again. It helps to know that each child can listen to that play away and be reminded of what we tried to teach them all week – they are precious to God and they are loved.”
Other items they still need are twin-sized plastic mattress covers and 15 bicycles (can be used).
Training materials are needed because all volunteers are required to participate in 12 hours of training.
“This is to insure they understand the importance of the safety of these children, who have been through so much, and understand how to best care for them during camp,” Samuel said.
To apply, potential volunteers can go to the RFKC website at www.minden.royalfamilykids.org and download an application. Samuel says the completed application may be faxed to 318-371-9822 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, the application may be mailed to Minden-RFKC, 407 Fort Street, Minden, LA 71055.
Interview dates are April 28 and 29, and training dates will be May 20 and 21. Camp will be June 27 through July 1, 2016.