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.