Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A group of urban kids search the ground of the forest for twigs, dry branches, and logs. They bring them to the fire pit. The stage is set for a campfire at Kids Across America Camp or Silver Birch Ranch. All they need now is a spark to bring the fire to life. The fire brings joy and beauty to the campers as they play games, tell stories, and roast marshmallows. Now some of those kids have everything going for them, and some have lots of issues to overcome, but they are all like that pile of wood waiting for a spark.
I got a call from Rhobelle this spring. He’s a sophomore at Hamline University, and he wanted to know if he could interview me for his Non-Profit Management Class. So he came over and we had a wonderful discussion about the nuts and bolts of directing an organization like DinoMights. Later in the Spring, Rhobelle called again to ask if he could use some of the knowledge he’d acquired in his class to write a grant for DinoMights.
I said yes, and got on the phone with a contact at one of the foundations that has supported DinoMights. I told this contact that an alumni of the program wanted to submit a grant on DinoMights behalf. He hought that was awesome. He couldn’t stop talking about how DinoMights gives kids such amazing chances to learn and do things that help them grow up into self-assured competent adults. It’s kind of like kids get exposed to things that can be a spark to light up their future.
After we were done with Rhobelle’s interview we chatted a bit about his life and about DinoMights in general. He said that he would love to go to camp again if he could. He has said before that Summer Camp was his greatest memory of being in DinoMights.
We thought we were just bringing Rhobelle to camp for a time to do crafts, sports, be outdoors and learn about God. We thought that all those Summer Academic Power Camps he went to were just a good chance to learn about science, history, and spend some time reading. We didn’t even realize that all those things were sparks that would begin a fire in a young man to share his joy and beauty with the world.
The DinoMights summer of 2009 is upon us. The biggest group of kids in our history just completed Greg Carroll Learn 2 Skate. Some of those young first graders will join us this summer for “Hockey in the Hood Camp” and our “Academic Power Camp.” It’s our hope that one day they will be fine young adults like Rhobelle, discovering interests and gifts that they can share with their communities and families. So we will think of our work this summer not just as a good way to pass the time between school years, but rather as fire building so that our DinoMights can one day go and be light to the world! (Mattthew 5:14-16).