Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
"We are camp courage, the mighty mighty courage" kids were chanting the lines our energetic choir teacher was leading them in. We spent the entire bus ride back from our field trip to the FIU Frost Museum, singing camp songs at the top of our lungs.
At Camp Courage, we as a staff embrace the idea of being strong and courageous and ultimately trusting the Lord. A sentiment we live out by our actions and a reoccurring theme in our teachings to the children. In this line of work there is much to be fearful of. Fear that the ministry won't grow, fear that we will lose kids to the streets, and a fear of inadequacy that leads us asking ourselves- are we doing enough to make a difference?
Fear can be stifling, and result in an apathetic attitude toward helping those in need. But like I said, "We are Camp Courage, the Mighty Mighty Courage". We believe that the ministry will grow, we believe that we will provide opportunities to kids who have the odds stacked against them to succeed, and we believe wholeheartedly that we can make a difference.
I have seen many courageous acts during my time working at Camp Courage. The strength starts from the top and trickles down to the kids.
Kristy and Ana- the founders of UrbanPromise Miami- set the tone by starting this ministry. Facing the uphill battles of; raising money, finding a location, building awareness and bringing in the right people to work with the kids. By relying on God's provision, Kristy and Ana have looked fear square in the eye and they decided to make a difference.
Brittany- our art teacher from Tennessee- had much to be fearful of in coming to Miami. Out of the 5 teachers in the camp, she was the only one with just a week of experience with UrbanPromise or working with inner city kids. Two of our teachers grew up through UrbanPromise Camden and the other two just finished a year teaching in after school programs at UrbanPromise Camden. She took a leap of faith in coming here and she certainly did not let fear allow her to miss this opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of children. Brittany has accepted God's challenge to be in Miami. It has not been easy for her, teaching a class with very little experience, but she gets stronger and stronger each day.
A major part of the UrbanPromise model is the street leader program. The street leaders are high school aged students, who act as camp counselors, and are strategically from the same neighborhoods as the kids. They are positive role models that the children can relate to. We have amazing street leaders at Camp Courage. And in the past three weeks I have watched them step up in a multitude of ways. I have observed street leaders from the start of camp go from sitting on the side of activities to now-three weeks into camp- where they are participating in the activities and having a blast. I have witnessed a street leader who at first spoke very few words to the kids, and who is now pulling kids aside to have personal conversations, teaching them about right and wrong. Adolescence is a time in life where fear is a huge influence. Camp Courage gives these fearful teenagers an opportunity to be courageous and they all have stepped up to the plate.
The kids at Camp Courage are learning a valuable lesson this summer on overcoming fear. And they are taught this in my bible class through lessons like Daniel in the Lion's Den and memorizing scriptures on being strong and courageous. But the most influential way that our kids at Camp Courage, the mighty mighty courage, are learning to not give power to fear is by observing the actions of the founders, the teachers and the street leaders who make their camp possible.
Kyle Bahm- Intern and Bible Teacher. Special shout out to William Gass- the energetic choir teacher.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Day 1 of UrbanPromise Miami: Camp Courage was a S-U-C-C-E-S-S!! All the hard work has paid off. We had a total of 83 children: 65 campers between the ages of 5 to 13, and 18 teenagers between the ages of 14 to 19 join us as part of our StreetLeader program (Read more about the StreetLeader Program on our website). During camp, we provided free breakfast, lunch, and snack for all the children, and had each child participate in a variety of classes. The classes included: Art, HodgePodge, Outdoor Recreation, Bible, Yoga, Videography, JOY (Community Service Projects), and Choir! The children were thoroughly entertained throughout the day and were able to awaken their artistic, athletic, creative, spiritual, musical, and altruistic side via their participation in these classes. (Stay tuned for pictures and more details about the specific classes on future posts). Below are two pictures of our camp site:
A very special THANK YOU to our sponsors...because of you, today was made possible! Thank you for helping us build a path of promise for the children of Miami!
- Thank you to Mena International Group (www.menasecurity.com) for our delicious breakfast. What a way to get our kids off to a good start this morning!
- Thank you to Mama Jennie’s Restaurant (www.mamajennies.com) for their generous contribution. The children could not get enough of the delicious salad, baked ziti with meatballs, and garlic bread! As we heard some of the campers say at the end of the day..."My favorite part was the food!" We look forward to tasting many more of your delicious meals every Tuesday for the duration of the camp. (See pictures below of the amazing lunch the children enjoyed.)
- Thank you to Fran Fienberg, Esq. for not only co-sponsoring our lunch from Mama Jennie's Restaurant today (and every Tuesday), but for providing our afternoon snack for the children! Her generosity was not only extended to our campers and StreetLeaders, but to our Interns as well via other donations! Thank you Fran from the bottom of our hearts!
- Lastly, thank you to our Staff, StreetLeaders, and Volunteers (especially those from Cavalry Chapel Miami, who have given generously of their time, and Mrs. Ana Jennings and her daughters, who are teaching a daily children's Yoga class)! Your dedication, commitment, and attention to detail have helped create the environment necessary for our children to succeed.
"TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN...MUCH IS EXPECTED. - Luke 12:48." Thank you for giving more than was expected to help us start the summer off right!
(If you are interested in sponsoring or helping us in any way - Please contact us at Info@UrbanPromiseMiami.org or 'Donate Online' and help us build a path of promise one child at a time!)
Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Today, as I walked up the stairs to the 2nd floor of our camp site, I could hear those words getting louder and louder every step I took. Upon reaching the final step, I realized that the music was coming from our Staff and StreetLeaders who were gathered in a circle singing from the bottom of their hearts - "I cannot do all the good that the world needs...but the world needs all the good that I can do!" Our Staff and StreetlLeaders filled the room with their motto for the summer of 2011 and proclaimed the change they would be bringing to the Little Havana community in Miami.
This year we have been blessed with an extremely dedicated group of Staff, StreetLeaders, and Volunteers! With only 4 days of orientation, the energy is so strong and infectious, that we are guaranteed an amazing summer.
UrbanPromise Miami will be launching its 2nd Summer Program - Camp Courage - starting Tuesday, July 5th. We currently have 80 children enrolled, 16 teenagers who have been selected as part of our StreetLeader Program, numerous volunteers from within the community, and 6 Staff Members ready to build a path of promise for the children of Miami. UrbanPromise Miami will be providing a 5-week summer camp (free of cost) to the under-resourced children of the Little Havana community. Our goal this summer is to help the children of the community grow academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually, and continue with same success we had last year!
Although an amazing and successful summer lies ahead, much work and help is still needed! As one of our Camp Co-Directors, Eduardo "Pookie" Lopez, pointed out during orientation today - "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few! (Matthew 9:37)" There is MUCH help and support the camp still needs. We are COMPLETELY privately funded, and every penny collected goes directly to benefit the children. If you are interested in helping us this summer - be it with your time, financial contribution, or in-kind donation - please contact us at Info@UrbanPromiseMiami.org.
We are eternally grateful for all the support we have received in order to make this summer a reality. Without you...none of this would be possible! Please stay tuned for more detailed information and spotlights on our Staff, StreetLeaders, Camp Kids, Volunteers, and Sponsors for our 2011 summer camp.
Moving in Hope,
Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director