Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Castaways

You never know who you’re going to meet. I found this to be true last month when we attended the Christian Camp & Conference Association’s national conference. Our entire staff was looking forward to some great training, networking, and inspiration. And we received just what we were expecting. What I didn’t expect, however, was to meet Rob Mitchell.

Rob briefly shared his story one night about how he had been discarded by his family at the age of three and raised in an orphanage. He grew up angry and bitter until an experience at a Christian summer camp changed his life. Once he let Jesus into his heart, his life began to change direction. Today Rob is a multi-millionaire, and his entire story is detailed in his book Castaway Kid, available through Focus on the Family.

Afterwards, I had a chance to meet Rob and talk with him briefly. I found Rob’s story to be particularly inspiring because so many of the kids who come to our Camp have a story similar to his own. Many have been abandoned by their parents and have no hope. Many have been raised in group homes and are angry, bitter, and resentful. Many are on the path to destruction. But, just as Rob’s life was changed at a Christian camp, our campers too can have an experience with God that will impact their lives forever.

Rob told us at the conference that his opportunity at camp came because someone sponsored his attendance. As you may know, the vast majority of our campers attend under similar circumstances. Eighty percent of them come on scholarships provided by our supporters. Most of these sponsorships come anonymously in the sense that the campers never know who paid their scholarship and the sponsors never know the camper who benefitted from their generosity. But the impact on their lives is not diminished in the least.

We never know who we’re going to meet during Summer Camp. A lot of campers come our way, and we never know who among them might be the next Rob Mitchell—a castaway kid who found love and acceptance in the arms of God. It is the generosity of God's people that enables us to reach out to them every year.

If you'd like to make a donation of any amount toward a camper scholarship, you can use the donate button below.