A Story by Nicole Marshall
Teen Reach Adventure Camp or simply T.R.A.C. camp changed me from the moment I watched a scared and uncertain group of girls step off the charter bus. I remember being that one adult standing on the back with dark sunglasses crying because why aren’t these girls safe at home? My first experience at T.R.A.C. was in the role of observer. Which was good, because I was full of fear. I didn’t know what to talk to them about even though I work with this exact age of girls WEEKLY! My mouth was silent as I watched and soaked it all in. These girls were being loved and pursued and given a chance to just be. No case managers, no therapists, no court, they were just having fun!
Fast forward 2 years later to 2016. My husband and I had been through a whirlwind with foster care, adopting 4 little ones of the system. T.R.A.C. was back on our radar and God so moved me to go and serve. No standing in the back crying this time! I was there to teach these girls the Bible… up front, with a mic… We spent a few sessions discussing Daniel. No compromises and what that meant for them. Their lives aren’t right, they aren’t fair and it’s not their fault. Yet God can redeem. Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… God is still worthy even if He doesn’t rescue us from our fiery furnace.
I shared a cabin with these girls, stayed up late tying fleece blankets, and doodling while they shared their stories with me. I ate with them, laughed with them, wrote a talent show skit with them and prayed for them… and yes, cried over them. I watched (and cried, again) as one by one they performed in a camp talent show. Wondering if their Mom’s and Dad’s knew they had such talent, and prayed for their parents who’s struggles led these girls here. They cheered and applauded one another like they had been friends for EVER! Not like the cold strangers that got off the bus just days earlier. The way these girls leave camp is an 180-degree change from how they arrive at camp. Soft hearted and surrounded by friends! I wouldn’t miss this opportunity to serve!
I would tell someone who was considering serving at T.R.A.C. or Royal Family Kids Camp (R.F.K.C.) to attend the info meeting at Redemption Tempe on May 8th from 6-7:30 PM and ask all your questions. Recognize your fears and weaknesses, but stand firm in the truth. You can love these kids for a weekend! Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you can’t.
Girls Camp: June 15th – 18th
Boys’ Camp July 27th – 30th
To apply to volunteer at T.R.A.C. go to http://www.Chandlertrac.com
June 26th – June 30th
To apply to volunteer at R.F.K.C. go to http://www.chandler.royalfamilykids.org