Agape Camp at Hidden Falls Ranch

Thursday through Friday night of Spring Break (it was supposed to go through Saturday, but we ended early due to the incoming thundersnow), I, along with the incredible assistance of Claudie Mezel, Suzanne Schroder, and Josh Heavin) took 17 of our kids and joined up with another 20 or so and headed to Hidden Falls Ranch to take part in their Agape Camp, a camp experience for underpriviledged kids.  We had an incredible time.  Claudie and Suzanne took about a million pictures between them.  Here are a few showing the highlights.

The kids enjoyed Arts and Crafts such as paper mache and painting.  Actually, I think they enjoyed the painting more than paper mache, as paper mache gets the hands kind of nasty.

The climbing wall is always a huge hit.  They climbed up a 30 foot wall and then Zip-lined off of it.  Below is Jimmy scaling the wall on Friday morning.  I was so proud of Jimmy, as he was scared to death on Thursday and didn’t make it up the wall.  But he tried again on Friday, and with a little help from Josh, made his way up.  Before going, he told me, “I’m scared, but I know I can overcome my fear!”  And he did.  The next shot is of Benjamin on the Zipline.  Right before he went off, he yelled. “I’m about to pee my pants!”  I don’t think he did though, thank goodness.

They also went on a horseback ride on Thursday afternoon.  This was great fun.  Tazz, who went last year, was a little disappointed that his favorite horse Sidewinder was  “retired” and sold to another ranch.  But I talked him into riding a new horse anyway, and he had a blast.  Below is Terrell, who had never ridden a horse before.  Terrell is normally fearless – he loves to skateboard, do backflips off of tables or anything else, and generally get into to trouble.  But he was as nervous as can be.  I loved seeing that out of him.  But he was a trooper and learned how to steer and control his horse.  Here’s Terrell:

We went on a fun hike to check out the “hidden falls.”  Here’s a picture of that, and an fun picture one we took a little later on the hike on an old abandoned box car.  You’ll recognize it from the new banner picture we have on the top of the blog.

Thursday night we had a campfire with some singing.  I got to speak to the kids that night as well as Friday morning and evening before we left.  I just shared about the love of God and how he’s our heavenly Father and a greater Dad than we can imagine.  The 40 or so kids there have dads that have abandoned them, abused them, disappointed them, are in prison, and any number of tragic things.  Grasping God’s love for them is so important for them as they grow up in very difficult circumstances.  I hope many of the kids walked away experiencing and understanding God’s love in a new way.

 Normally, we would have had two campfires.  But Friday afternoon, it was extremely cold as the cold front moved in, and we were forced to cut thing short and head back to town Friday evening (I was a little happier about that than the kids, as I was kind of tired).  So we just met inside on Friday before we left.  Here’s a shot of the kids listening to me speak on Friday evening (allegedly):

It was a really great week, and there are a lot more pictures, and hopefully I can share some more later.  I just love going to this camp and hope its something we can do every year.  The kids love to have a few days to escape the struggles of their daily lives and explore the outdoors and try new things and meet new people.  And so do I. 

Here’s one final picture of all the kids at camp along with the Hidden Falls Staff after a big hike on Friday morning:

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