Many people know about the wide range of campers we offer to campers here at Lakeshore, but one camp always goes under the radar. Our Camp Hope Series is a group of camps offered weekly to either boys or girls who come from environments that prevent them from being able to experience the best of life. These situations can range from everything from anger management issues, physical abuse, and even sexual abuse. Teen Hope is a camp for teen who come from an environment of substance abuse. Camp Peace is for teen who have difficulty managing their anger. Camp Grace is for teenage girls who have been sexual abuse. The Oxley program is mainly focused on Jr High aged guys and girls, with a special camp for our Sr. High Girls as well. We also are able to offer a co-ed Elm. aged camp for our 8-12 year old campers. As you can tell from the nature of these camps, there are some very special campers who come through. This one week may not seem like much to some, for our campers this week can be the 1. The 1 week they are away from frustration. The 1 week they are not arguing with parents. The 1 week they have someone tell them they CAN go to college if they want. The 1 week that we know 100% sure that they are without a doubt being shown love in every way possible. Our Oxley Camp is not here to bash parents or to judge families. It is here to fulfill our mission statement. “Offering Ways for ALL to Encounter Life, Love, & the God of Grace.” This is our simple mission.
Kellie Jones is an amazing director. Kellie has a heart and passion to instill confidence and empower all of her campers. This very moment she is off with our Sr. High Girls Hope camp helping campers conquer fears of the lake, allowing some to experience tubing for the 1st time, and pouring our love to all her campers and counselors. Kellie is a great leader with words that are covered in love and encouragement. I am overwhelmed with joy to introduce you to such a loving friend.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Words from our Director:
I’m Kellie Jones and I’m the Oxley Director this summer which means I’m in charge of our Camp Hope Series. The Camp Hope series is a speciality camp that Lakeshore offers for at-risk youth. It is divided into three different categories: Camp Hope, Camp Peace, and Camp Grace. Camp Hope is for youth that have been affected by drug or alcohol abuse, Camp Peace is for youth that respond to everyday situations and problems with aggressive behavior, and Camp Grace is for girls that have been victims of sexual abuse.
I just read a book called “Help, Thanks, Wow.” and at one point the author, Anne Lamott, writes, “God tells Job, who wants an explanation for all his troubles, ‘You wouldn’t understand.’”
I’ve read Job and I really didn’t remember God saying that. So I started tearing through the book of Job, and in Chapter 38 I found it. Job had been asking God why he had to face so much hardship and the Lord responds by asking Job a series of questions that no human could answer, indirectly pointing out that we cannot comprehend the reason for suffering. Our human minds cannot fully grasp it.
All summer I’ve been around kids that have had to go through a lot of trials. The hardship and pain they have faced is unbelievable. And each week, I feel a little heavier carrying their stories with me. I’ve been a lot like Job, constantly asking the Lord why these things have to happen. But He directs me towards the hard truth: that I just can’t understand it all. For some reason this revelation has given me comfort. I have to constantly practice putting the faith I talk about into action.
And while I don’t like the things my campers have been through, I love watching them overcome those situations. I love seeing them realize that their past does not define who they are. Despite the despair they have been through, they find the hope and courage to keep going and strive for a better life. They learn to trust people, and be vulnerable, and share the darkness of their lives. Sharing always adds a little light. It invites others in and helps you know that you are not alone. I’ve witnessed some ugly circumstances create some beautiful children of God. It is a constant reminder that the Lord can use anything and anyone. He turned dust into man, and he turns pain into hope.