This summer Heartland Camps were able to serve over 2,500 campers at over 30 sites. Now that means a lot of things; we used an incredible amount of shaving cream, we found out the perfect way to make a s'more, we also found many other "creative" ways to make a s'more, we were blessed by seeing God move in our lives along with the lives of campers, and we were able to welcome a wide variety of children and youth into our camp family. Among these 2,500 campers none of them were the same, they came from different backgrounds, had different needs, showed us different gifts, and taught us different things about our Lord.
Among those 2,500 campers were many families who would not have been able to afford camp on their own. Through the help of many generous individual Heartland donors, local churches, and other partners, Heartland Camps were able to offer scholarships to over 425 campers. We are so grateful for these partnerships because they have given us an opportunity to serve as Jesus did. One of these partners was Hillcrest Hope, who helped send campers who were homeless or in transitional housing. Each of these campers were welcomed as just another kid, given a chance to live without the burdens or labels of home. They were given a chance to ride horses, swim in our pools, and build relationships. Below is an excerpt from a Hillcrest Hope blog talking about the impact of Heartland camp for a family within their program.
"We began to talk more about the impact camp had made on them and they got a bit quieter. Isaiah had shared previously with his mom that he realized he could do more at home, be more of a leader. His counselor and others at camp recognized this leadership quality in his interaction with the other kids. “Isaiah acts out his gratitude and leads by example,” shared camp staff.
Destiney shared that she learned to be a better person and listen more. “When you go to camp, it changes you. Be yourself, you don’t have to hide it,” she stated. “And when I know I shouldn’t do something, I think about it now before I do anything.”
For Jeffrey, missing home and family just a little bit caused him to think about how much he appreciates them.
None of the three had ever been to camp before, but all three are hoping to return next summer. It was an opportunity for them to each feel just like every other kid. They could let go of the responsibilities at home, not be identified in relation to their siblings…they got to just be themselves"
We want to thank the donors and partners who have made this possible. If you want to serve with Heartland and become a camp scholarship donor it can be done online by clicking here, scrolling to the bottom, and choosing "camp scholarship" as the fund you would like to donate to.