I just came back from an exhausting week at Royal Family Kids Camp-Newport Mesa. Although I'm extremely tired (partially also to leaving for camp right after coming back to the US), I'd say that it was well worth the blood, sweat, and tears (especially the sweat).
I was a camp counselor to two young seven-year-old girls, Melody and Ashley. They were both small and cute little girls, but one was what I call a "wanderer:" she ran away from me just cause she could, not cause she hated me, and the other one was very attached to me. Both were difficult to deal with at times, definitely testing my patience, but I think we had more fun times together, rather than bad.
The week was filled with lots of dressing up, singing, dancing, running, running away, and calming down temper tantrums. I also met a couple new friends along the way, which I really appreciated because honestly, I didn't think I'd get to know anyone that well, simply because everyone had seemed acquainted with each other and seemed to know each other from previous years already.
That aside, the two (sometimes three) girls I watched over were definitely... a rollercoaster to say the least. But today as I watched all of my girls and the other adorable little kids leave, I couldn't help but feel sad for not knowing what kinds of situations they'd all be going home to. Some would go home to their loving families, but others would go home to their group homes, where they don't know what their future looks like. Even the kids with their families aren't completely sure of all of them staying together.
I feel like more than anything, this week was emotionally and mentally draining the most out of me. I had to hold my tongue before saying so many things this week out of fear that I will say or do something wrong and make the kids not enjoy themselves at camp. I had to remain as excited for the different activities as much as possible, even if I wasn't looking forward to it at all. I could tell the kids if I was upset with something they did, but I couldn't exactly discipline them the way a parent would. There was just so many other thoughts that ran through my head that I didn't feel like I could talk about with anyone, which was really hard for me to deal with in my head, making our breaks at night essential for me to have some time to myself to just think and reflect on everything that God was throwing my way.
Most of all, it was just so hard for me to grasp that these young kids had gone through some of the things they'd gone through. Because of their experiences in foster homes and with social services and things like that, none of the staff is allowed to take pictures of the kids, get their contact information, or anything like that. The only picture we get is with our two campers, and we cannot post it unless their faces are covered or blurred.
So yeah, this week felt like one huge test, but thankfully I survived. And even though my kids are at home with their families, I hope that they just remember this week and that God is with them no matter what goes on in their families. I definitely want to come back and hope they return next year as well.