The one they went to last time was unbelievable. Basically they came home with broken spirits. They went from loving camping to hating it and not wanting to ever go again. Bullies were running rampant and nothing was done about it. I'll never forget their faces when they came back home. Literally, you could feel the sadness in my boys for an entire month after that trip. It was like a heavy depression was in the house. My boys shared with me they felt unprotected, hurt, taken advantage of. Worst of all, they felt the leaders protected the bullies. Right then and there I said never again. As long as it is in my ability as a parent, I will never allow bullies to get away with hurting others around me. I told my boys I would never make them go back any situation like that again. And they haven't.
|Teen praying before they head to camp|
This time, I had found a new Christian camping trip. I had gotten to know the leaders and these teens for about 9 months. I was pretty confident in watching them that all the kids had respect for one another and there really was NO bullying allowed. I was so grateful the leaders made sure it was a peaceful environment for everyone. When a summer camp for 5 days was announced I knew it was my opportunity to give my boys a newer, better memory. Even still, I was a bit afraid something bad would happen with other kids hurting my boys again. I'm not the over protective type and it took me a really long time to finally see what my kids were going through. I felt ashamed I had allowed them to get hurt for so long.
|You can barely see Chaz and Ryan but they're there. LOL|
Today my boys came back encouraged, excited, made new friends, and came back even more closer to the teens they went with! Praise God! They had a church service every day and talked about how close they feel to God and what they learned. Ryan came back on crutches but smiling and happy. Chaz is burnt like crazy even after the leaders kept lathering him with high SPF lotion. He is smiling from ear to ear. Just all good memories and they couldn't wait to tell me about it. I think this trip was like putting and keeping the past IN the past and moving forward.
|Chaz after his fun in mud pit. :)|
We can never let bullies win. No matter how popular they are or how popular their parents are. Bullying is bullying and it does break precious spirits. Every kid and adult is equal in God's eyes and we need to prove it by how we treat others. Especially as representatives for who we serve. I know I can't prevent all bullying, that's impossible. However, I can do whatever is in my ability to stop it when I see it. Whether it's my kids or someone else's. No, it's not JUST WHAT KIDS DO. All kids learn it from others. Either they are learning it from home or from their peers. Just because adults bully doesn't make it okay.
|Teen leader show how to jump in the mud pit!|
I really feel like this trip for my boys was like saying we're leaving the past in the past and moving forward to what God is holding for us in the future! :D To the ones who brought my boys, thank you so much for being amazing teen leaders. I can see the difference and impact you are making on the kids around you.