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Tyler’s Hard Work Pays Off As He Reaches Goals

August 2, 2006

By J. Blake Ragsdale

The morning sun shines brightly on the Frontiersmen’s campsite. The camp group gathers to carry out the day’s first responsibilities.

Standing on a ladder, Tyler helps Chief Derrick make necessary adjustments to his large, wood framed canvas tent. The boy ties up sections of canvas covering the tent windows allowing the springtime air to flow in.

“Tyler, thank you for your help,” Derrick says. Tyler grins as he works in unison with the other campers to ready the campsite for another warm day.

Cameron Boys Camp is teaching Tyler how to successfully interact with the boys in his group and with the Camp’s adults, such as the chiefs, who provide him with daily direction and care. Tyler has been a part of Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) wilderness camping program for eight months. He and his family are working to overcome some personal challenges.

Tyler struggled to get along with his father and grandmother at home. His father was forced to stop working due to a physical disability. As finances became tight, instability within the family increased. Tyler had difficulty coping with the challenges his family was facing. He was listening to his father and grandmother less and less. Tyler began making choices that placed him at risk.

The family needed help.

The boys and the chiefs in the Frontiersman group have become Tyler’s extended family. Like in a healthy home environment, campers must live together harmoniously. Learning to do so helps them accomplish a variety of goals such as building a new tent or taking care of the group’s needs during a long river trip.

Tyler, like the other boys, also has personal goals to meet. “One of my goals is to have a friend by being a friend at all times,” he says. “I want to be an encourager.”

Those friendships face a strong test when the boys go on trips. Campers must rely completely on each other for food and shelter while away on educational excursions. Tyler’s group recently returned from a two-week trip to Lake Marion in South Carolina.

“Trips are good because we all become closer,” he says.

Tyler is working hard towards his family goals and it’s paying off. “Me and my dad have a better relationship,” he says. “I’m still working on some things with my grandma, but our relationship is a whole lot better than what it was.”

Tyler’s father and grandmother are working on their own goals, too. Goals are established when the family meets together with BCH social worker Carol Alford for family conferences.

“They are all very active in learning ways to adjust for each other within their family,” Alford says. “The family loves each other very much and are working to improve things at home.”

Alford says she has seen Tyler make great progress. “Tyler has a wonderful way of understanding how to manage problems,” she explains. “He’s taking the initiative to make things better for himself.”

Tyler looks forward to going home permanently in the future. His relationships at Camp have taught him how he, his father and grandmother can be the family they all desire.

“When I go home, I’ll work to make things at home to be like things are at Camp,” Tyler confides.