Bookmark and Share

Tis the Season For Kindness and Generosity

November 28, 2007

Christmastime at Cameron Boys Camp is special. The ordinary “happy spirit” is even greater this time of year. There is a bountiful spirit of goodwill.

“I was at Camp last year at Christmas,” sixteen-year-old Alex remembers. “A friend of mine named Dean graduated the program and was leaving. It meant a lot to me when he told me that I was going to be all right. For him to tell me that I was on the right path motivated me to keep going. The chiefs all told me, but for Dean to tell me was a great gift.”

Alex has been at Camp more than 15 months. He is able now to begin making plans to return home.

“I’m not sure where I would be if it wasn’t for Camp,” he says. “I could have ended up on the streets. I wouldn’t have God or my family. My life today would have not been possible.”

While other teens are hoping for the latest video game, an ipod, or a fashion item seen on MTV or in the pages of a magazine, Alex’s ultimate Christmas wish this year centers around his renewed relationship with his mom and dad.

“I just want everything to be better, and it’s getting better all the time,” he says. “I can joke with them and we talk more.”

The anger and confusion Alex was dealing with has lessened. He was adopted by his parents when he was an infant. As a boy, he struggled with this knowledge and lashed out at his parents. “There was a lot of hatred toward my parents. I didn’t care about anything.”

Hoping to curb their son’s disruptive behavior, Alex’s parents sent him to a military academy. There he began secretly using drugs.

“I was doing and selling drugs,” Alex says. “I was in a fight club and I was just about doing harm to other people.”

Returning his sophomore year after summer break, he and a couple of other boys at the academy ran away. A high speed automobile chase with a state trooper and a crash almost landed him in jail. The incident shook him up. “I didn’t want to be the person that I was rushing to become. I needed help.”

Camp was intimidating at first. Alex didn’t like the idea of living outside all the time. He hated camping. It was a struggle. Six months into the program things became better.

“I didn’t want to deal with the things in my life,” he confides. “Then I got saved, and I began to understand that I was at Camp for a reason.”

Alex had just been trying to be good he says. He was “playing camp” so he could get out. “But I realized I needed a heart change to make a real difference in my life.”

Once he gave his heart to Jesus, his life turned around. His struggle to trust others subsided. The wall between him and his parents began to fall. “I had held something back from my parents before, but now I am building something good with them.”

Trusting God has totally rearranged Alex’s priorities – “...but I realize it’s worth it.”

Alex has learned not to be so materialistic living in a rustic camp setting. “Everything on earth is so temporal,” he says. “I have felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I know God is going to be there for me.”

Being at Camp has made Alex’s life better. He dreams of becoming a musician. “I want to go to college and earn a business degree,” he says. “Some day, I want to open a music venue where there are recording studios, music lessons and a meeting place like a coffee shop.”

Christmas is special at Camp because of the many acts of kindness and generosity the boys are shown by individuals and churches. The boys are quick to voice their appreciation; Alex is no different. “If I could say one thing to everyone who has helped me, I would say thank you!”