It all started 3 years ago as a far-off dream to take EPA students to Missouri. There’s this amazing urban sports camp there called Kids Across America (KAA) that I knew would change their lives. It’s a place where kids come from across the States for a week to learn about Jesus in a way that is relevant and fun. It’s also special to me because it changed me. This camp turned my faith upside down (in a good way). I was on staff for the summers of 2009 through 2015, working as a counselor my first few summers to the Women’s Director last year. Each season has had an incredible impact on my life full of joy, love and growth and that is what I wanted my students to experience.
I eventually found myself working full-time at BCM starting the Fall of 2015. Throughout that school year, I made it a goal to not forget about the “dream.” Then early on in the year I got word that I’d be presenting my summer journey proposal to our executive staff. Once that was approved and I got permission from parents, it was go time! The local financial support was unbelievable and in about a week all the money needed for the trip had been raised. It was an amazing display of God’s incredible grace.
Our students were getting more and more excited as our date to leave was quickly approaching. Permission forms were signed, plane tickets were bought, a rental car was reserved and camp fees were paid. Honestly, it seemed surreal that this was all really coming together. The date kept approaching and I would have days where I was legitimately nervous. As their chaperone, I had four students’ parents trusting me to get their children to Missouri and back safely!
The travel day started with picking up our students at 2:30 a.m. from their homes before heading to the airport in time for our 5:00 a.m. flight. Before we knew it, we were entering the camp gates and our students were having the time of their lives! Our students performed dances, they fellowshipped with students from other parts of the country, they made commitments regarding their faith, and overall were truly blessed by that week. Sometimes I would look at them having fun and joy would overwhelm me. They were experiencing the things that made me fall in love with those camp grounds throughout my college career. It was a transformative, life-changing week for them and it was exactly what I had prayed for.
I remember when we got back in town and I dropped all the kids off at their houses. I just smiled and took a deep breath. “Thank you, Jesus!” were the only words going through my mind. I felt peace, relief and most of all, joy.