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Rusty Sets Mind On Doing the Right Thing

January 19, 2009

By W. James Edminson

Rusty and his fellow camper Caleb meet on the log bench in the center of their campsite. The dirt paths that connect the campers’ tents are well trod. The smudge pots that keep the paths lit in the darkness have been extinguished. The group is preparing to trek to the Chuckwagon for breakfast.

The duo have their Bibles in hand. They meet regularly to study scripture together.

“We study topics that relate to what we are dealing with. We read the scripture, ask ourselves ‘What does the Bible say?’ and then talk about the verses,” Rusty says. Rusty is a resident at Cameron Boys Camp and a member of the Camp’s Trailblazer group. “We are two of the leaders in our group. Sometimes we discover things that we share with the group later.”

Rusty came to Camp sixteen months ago along with his older brother Cody. This past summer, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior. His brother Cody, who is in the Ranger group, accepted Christ the same night.

“I now look to Jesus and strive to please Him,” he confesses.

Rusty’s life has changed drastically in the last sixteen months. When he first arrived at Camp, the only person he ever thought about pleasing was himself.

“It took about six months to get real with the group,” he recalls. “I would go home and do the same things I did before Camp. But my Chiefs and the other guys called me on it.”

Rusty began to change when he realized that his actions hurt the ones who loved him. He began to realize everything was not just about him. Being a part of a group that depended on him and on whom he depended helped change his perspective.

“Before I came to Camp, I would flip out,” he says. “I didn’t respect my mom and dad – I didn’t care.”

While living at home, Rusty found himself following older brother Cody’s lead. He began to hang out with boys who were always in trouble. He was flirting with gang activity. It wasn’t too long before he had his first run in with the police.

Rusty and Cody were adopted when Rusty was four years old. The brothers were part of a group of five siblings whose biological parents placed the children at risk. Their alcohol and drug abuse left the children without proper care and often without their basic needs being met.

When the siblings were removed from that home, they were split apart. The two oldest went to live in one foster home. The middle sister lived in another home, and the younger brothers were adopted by the same family.

As things became worse between him and his parents, Rusty directed anger about being adopted toward his mom and dad.

“I thought they had taken me away from my real parents,” he confides.

The boy’s parents needed help, and they found that help at Baptist Children’s Homes. BCH’s therapeutic camping service works closely with the boy and family. Rusty’s mom and dad meet with counselors and work on their own goals as they develop new parenting skills to help the entire family.

“My relationship with my parents is better now,” Rusty says. “I have respect for them. There is a growing love between me and them.”

Before coming to camp, Rusty found it difficult to see that his life was moving in the wrong direction. “I look back now and think that was pretty stupid what I did.”

He was out of control then. He let his emotions rule his decisions and often went with the crowd.

“I won’t let others control my life anymore,” he says determinedly. “I’m going to do what’s right!”

Rusty’s attention has turned to school. He likes to write and is a good math student as well. He has dreams of becoming an architect.

“I see a future for me,” he says. “I’m determined not to put my parents or myself through bad things anymore.”