Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One of the things I HATE about kids' camps...

This camp that I am serving as Camp Pastor is for an Association other than my own.
In my many years as serving as a Camp Pastor for various organizations, there is a certain amount of dread that I face when dealing with camps outside of my home church of Hopedale. Even with Hopedale's camp, I knew that about half of the kids would be friends of our kids and little people that I knew nothing about.

What I hate is that I know there are many kids that here from terrible home situations.

Statistically (a CDC Adverse Child Experiences Study), of the 150 campers that are here this weekend

42 have been physically abused
31 have been sexually abused
16 have been emotionally abused

You can add another 10 that have been physically neglected and 22 more that are emotionally neglected.

It is rare that we get any evidence of the abuse or neglect other than to see the behavioral symptoms and sense the great need for real love that many of them have.
The line at the nurse's station for daily meds is unbelievably long.
There are some kids that miss home terribly and are making themselves so miserable that they have to go home. There are others that are having the time of their lives and would be happy if they never had to go home. Some act out in rebellion and inappropriate behavior and get sent home. And some are clingy and need the physical contact that I avoid because it makes me so anxious.
...And sad.

I don't really know why I am writing this tonight.
I don't know that it accomplishes anything.
If I had evidence of abuse or neglect, I would certainly report it and try to get those kids some help and some love. However, many of them are either too embarrassed to speak up, or too afraid to speak up and on Friday afternoon, they will find themselves back in the same terrible place that they left behind for a few days.

As I said, I don't really know why I am writing this.
I just know that as this day comes to an end, my heart is heavy.

John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

That is so sad for those poor, mistreated children.

Mike said...

At scout camps there was a two on two minimum. At least two leaders and at least two scouts together at any time.

John Hill said...

There are a great number of precautions that are in place to make this a safe place for parents to send their kids.
I have known of kids that say they were sent to church camp as a punishment and didn't want their parents to know they had a great time because then they wouldn't get to come back next year.
Some parents have sent kids when they have differing beliefs and get mad that we are indoctrinating their kids with our beliefs! It's our church camp! What did they expect?
Most of them are in need of some genuine love.
This morning a young boy said he had something to give me...and then he stepped forward and really hugged me!
Some years, camp really wears me out.
This is going to be one of those years.