This summer we took a group of kids from Clifton Park Campus Life to Camp Spofford in New Hampshire. Ray was one of the kids that went with us to camp. I was very excited to have him join us because we hadn’t had many opportunities to have real meaningful conversations. In previous discussions Ray had painted a pretty grim picture of his childhood, so I was looking forward to being able to talk to him about some of the issues that he had been dealing with. On the third day of camp I was out paddle boarding on the lake with a group of kids and I heard someone calling my name from a megaphone. I quickly paddled back to shore and was told that Ray had been in an accident while tubing. I rushed over to the nurse’s cabin with one of my volunteers to see how he was doing and I barely recognized him. The nurse said that he was complaining about his ribs, but he was barely able to speak because of all the pain. This is a kid who is normally the loudest in the room and he couldn’t speak louder than a whisper. We ended up taking Ray to the hospital to get an x-ray. Thankfully he only had a bruised rib and would be fine in a week or two. Even though it was a very serious moment in our week at camp it was also one of our best.
A few huge things happened for Ray before and during that trip. The first was that he was able to see that people really did care for him and we weren’t just saying it for the sake of saying it. We were also able to take him out for dinner after the hospital visit and you could tell how much it meant to him that we were personally investing in him. We both stood up to refill our drinks at the same time and while we were walking he thanked me and said that we were family. I was so blown away because he had never been so vulnerable in front of us, but I knew that he was finally able to see how much we cared about him and ultimately how much God loved him. Ray has continued coming to club and we look forward to pouring into him more and more.
*Names have been changed