Mike* was angry. His view of manhood was modelled by his incarcerated father, yet he harboured a deep shame for his family situation.
Mike’s bitterness infected his relationships. His decidedly macho persona manifested as a cold disrespect for female camp leaders, and especially his mum, Janine*.
Mike showed some of the most staggering change. “We saw a visible change in his behaviour towards Janine and his younger siblings. From being purposefully disengaged he slowly started joining in with games and activities, developed relationships with other teenagers and became part of the group,” said camp leader Stephanie.
“Over the few days he turned into a boy who really just enjoyed having fun playing with others, growing affectionate towards his mum, and actually relating to all other females in acceptable ways,” she said. “That was such a turnaround!”
“Camp was the best thing I have done in my life!” says Tracey, mother of six. The pressure of raising her children alone can be crippling for Tracey. She so strongly desires to be the perfect loving mother and role model, while also being the sole breadwinner and head of the household. More often than not, she is disappointed.
In a few days of camp, Tracey was able to “get away from it all”, regroup, and spend some quality time with her children. Camp leader Stephanie said, “They built completely new connections within their family and discovered beautiful character traits about themselves.”
Tracey’s sons, Dom and Ben, initially stood aloof from the other kids. They wore a tough face and clearly held their guard up. “Over the course of the camp,” said Stephanie, “we sae this guard coming down as children emerged who had fun jumping into the pool at a waterfall. Kayaking, rafting down the river in inflated tyre tubes, playing games, learning about printing and mosaics, and learning about a God who loves them.”
The freedom to ask open questions were significant to the success of these teaching sessions. “People could be themselves. Kids were engaged with hands on stuff, teenagers were engaged through challenges and practical applications,” said Stephanie. Parents were engaged in evening teaching sessions after the kids were asleep, learning about God’s forgiveness for them and others.
Thanks to your donations, children and parents were able to experience God’s love in a setting removed from the extreme pressure of the outside world. Your gifts this year mean children can take part in this life-changing program. Thank you!