I left on Friday to go to Angel Tree camp just a few hours after my return from Glory Camp on Friday afternoon (yeah, I’m more than a little tired now)
Angel Tree Camp takes place every year at Ceta Canyon. It’s for kids ages 4-11 who have a family member in prison. It’s a wonderful, exciting, exhausting, sometimes infuriating 3 day, 3 night excercise in love and patience. The camp was full of over 150 energetic kids who live in pretty awful circumstances without much structure. As a result, we schedule every moment of the camp. So it was busy and everyone who participated is very tired – yet very rich and changed by the experience.
I was in a room full of 9 boys around the ages of 9 and 10 along with my good friend Wade (who didn’t quite know what he was getting into) and a college guy named Justin, who’s been involved with the camp for years. Every group is color coordinated, and you can probably tell by the picture below that we were the Lime boys. We spent our time hiking and swimming and playing football and riding horses (and the boys rode me, Wade and Justin everywhere, too) and talking about all kinds of stuff – some of it serious (like struggles with fear and anger), some of it not-so-serious (like Wade convincing the kids we were going to descend into a rattlesnake pit during our hike)
Our boys were Marcus, LaDarius, Conrad, James, Nate, Manule, Callum, Tino, and Kaelin. All were dealing with having a dad in prison. Callum really touched me – he missed his mom a bunch and camp, and all he had to remember her was her picture on her expired driver’s license. He carried it around and looked at it when feeling lonely. Tough stuff. Please pray for all these guys. Pray that Wade and I can stay in contact with them and provide more for them than just a few days of carrying them around on our shoulders.
Tino rides his first horse.
The boys get football instructions from a real live college football player from WT.
Wade (standing) pointing out the water fall at Ceta Canyon – or possibly the location of the rattlesnake pit.
Kaelin (in front of me) snapped a self-portrait of us.
Marcus tries the same thing, though with less success than Kaelin.