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Andrew Learns Importance Of A Good Plan

January 24, 2007

By W. James Edminson

Andrew steps outside into the cold wearing his heavy coat. Living at Cameron Boys Camp, he has learned the importance of being prepared. It is important to have the right boots and the right clothes when hiking long trails and camping out along the Appalachian Trail. He has learned more than he ever imagined, more than he thought he would when he arrived.

“I was scared about being way out here,” the tall seventeen year old confides. “The idea of living in the woods was hard to get used to.”

The day Andrew arrived at Camp, he was surprised to see a familiar face. It was a friend from home. The two had hung out together. Andrew noted a change in the young man.

“He had a glow about him,” he remembers. “I was amazed when I saw how being at Camp had changed him, and I thought ‘maybe Camp can help me.’”

Andrew needed help, but he hadn’t told anyone. It was hard for him to talk about his feelings. Instead, he would act out and engage in activities that put him at risk.

“I was angry, but not outwardly; I was angry on the inside,” he says. “I needed a change in my life like the change my friend had experienced.”

Andrew likes to whittle. He reaches into his coat pocket and takes out a small piece of wood. He reaches in again and removes his carving knife and uses it to cut away some of the wood – the likeness of a bear takes shape.

“You have to learn not to depend on your feelings to motivate you,” he says. “Just do what you know you should do and don’t think about your feelings.”

Andrew has learned the importance of routines and the necessity of a plan. “Knowing what you are supposed to do helps you move faster and keeps you from getting into trouble.”

Andrew has a plan to read his Bible from start to finish this year. Reading the Bible is important to Andrew. He reaches into another of his coat pockets and takes out his personal Bible.

“I read the Bible as much as I can,” he says. “I like what I learn when I read the Bible.” The idea of having a plan is also part of what Andrew is learning about God. He says that he believed in God before he came to Camp. But it is what he is learning about God and God’s plan for his life that is bringing about a change in his life.

“I’ve learned that even if you have made mistakes,” he says, “God can still use you. God has a lot of mercy. He is always willing to forgive you.”

Baptist Children’s Homes’ therapeutic camping program is nestled in the piney woods near Cameron, North Carolina. Boys live outside in tents they build themselves. Christian counselors called “Chiefs” live with them. Working closely with the boys and parents, staff members help families work through their problems.

Andrew’s mom and dad are helping Andrew. He says that he knew that his parents loved him, but now he knows how much they really love him.

“My mom and dad are very supportive of me and help me,” he says. “Now I just want them to know that I love them, too.”

Andrew says that he is different. Like his friend, he has become a different person. Being at Camp has changed him. He says the change has been more gradual, but nevertheless he has changed.

“Camp has helped me – this experience is making a difference in my life!”