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Camp Hope: Fierce Beauty

My church (Canyon View Vineyard) gives money each year to help fund Camp Hope, an amazing camp that takes kids that are broken and lost and brings them back to the light using God’s love for them. They learn how to better solve conflicts, respect others, self-confidence, and other lessons that transform them from angry, bitter, lonely children into loving, generous, joyful spirits that have a new outlook on life and a new hope they never imagined possible.

Each of these girls has a story that will break your heart. They come from single parent homes, foster homes, being raised by grandparents or other family, siblings in jail, juvenile detention, gangs, parents in jail or simply absent, some have suffered abuse, and they have all been rejected by someone important in their lives. Many of the counselors that come to the camps have been through the same things the kids have been through. The campers and their counselors form tight bonds that last long after the camp is over.

I am blessed to have been involved with the very first camp of the summer. It’s the first one they’ve ever done and was so special for me and the other counselors involved. The camp, which went from Thursday to Saturday, was only for girls that had been to Camp Hope in previous years. The title of the camp was Fierce Beauty.

The point of this camp was to instill in these girls the idea that God loves them exactly as they are. He doesn’t care about body shape, size, hair color, eye color, whether they have money, fancy cars, etc. You can be the prettiest, thinnest, richest girl on the planet and have the ugliest heart. On the first night, the girls were surprised with a little skit called Kampinella.The wicked stepmother and stepsisters receive an invitation to the ball. Kampinella thinks she isn’t good enough to be invited.

The skit continued in pieces until Friday morning when the evil stepsisters and stepmother were getting ready for the ball, forcing Kampinella to wash their feet. After this, the counselors brought out tubs of water and got ready for the foot washing. For those of you who are not Christians, you may not be familiar with this. The foot washing is an intimate ritual solely for the purpose of serving. Jesus did this to his disciples the night before he was crucified, explaining to them that even though he was the Son of God, that he wasn’t beneath serving others.

Normally, when people perform the foot washing, it’s awkward for both the one receiving and the one doing. It’s difficult to submit to having someone else wash your feet and it’s hard to actually touch someone’s feet. But the campers submitted to the ritual and really listened to what the counselors were saying to them about the significance of the foot washing.

The really amazing part???

After the counselors were done, the girls turned around and asked to wash their counselor’s feet. No one asked them to do that, they just listened to the story and reacted. And if there was three campers and only one counselor, they didn’t fight about who would wash feet. One washed the feet and the others washed the hands. It was so awesome to see that!!!

The campers also made “slippers” and hair bows. They had such a blast and each one was so creative! While the campers were enjoying their foot washing, the staff went into the bunkhouse and laid out over 100 dresses (donated and purchased) for the girls to choose from. Each girl was able to find a beautiful dress that fit them perfectly. And the really cool part??? Without even KNOWING what was coming, the slippers and hair bows the girls made matched the dresses they picked out! 😀 The girls were so full of joy and praised every single girl they came across. There was no cattiness, pettiness, ugly words. Just pure joy and good thoughts.

The girls went down to dinner and they just glowed as they were escorted by several gentlemen volunteers who cooked every meal, cleaned up afterwards, and set up the lodge for the skits. During dinner, Kampinella’s stepsisters and stepmother were trying so HARD to impress the prince with their gaudy dresses and rude behavior.

The Prince invited Kampinella, who now looks like a beautiful princess because she realizes she was perfect and worthy of the invitation all along, dances with the Prince (Jesus).

After everyone was through eating, the King (Father) stood and addresses the girls, inviting ALL of them to come into His Kingdom and that they weren’t being invited because of their dresses, their hair, or shoes but because they were already perfect in His eyes.

Prince (Son), King (Father), Fairy Godmother (Holy Spirit)

It was such a joy to see all the little Princesses dancing and having fun! They twirled and spun, danced with each other or alone and sang along to the worship music.

Even though the weekend was mentally and physically exhausting, the hope that the lives of these girls might be changed for the better makes it all worth it. If we can keep these girls away from alcohol, drugs, sex, gangs, violence…it will be worth every sleepless night and every tear shed for their beautiful and perfect hearts.

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6 Comments on “Camp Hope: Fierce Beauty”

  1. jlgentry June 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Sounds like the transformation went both ways

    • shayfabbro June 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      It absolutely did, my friend! 🙂

  2. violafury June 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Dr. Shay,

    What a lovely experience! Some of these girls look really young, too. It breaks my heart to think that such young ones can go through such ugliness, but they will treasure this time for the rest of their lives. God bless you, Dr. Shay!

  3. Janice Heck June 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Camp Hope sounds like such a special time for these girls. Thanks to you and the other counselors for taking the time to plan such splendiferous activities that I am sure will be remembered for a long time. The skit on Kampinella sounds like such fun and with such powerful meaning. When a child needs hope, adults can help.

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