Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Does God Go to Summer Camp?

About 2 months ago, a friend of mine called me at Community Partners of Dallas and explained that she was doing some work with Sky Ranch and that they had some openings for girl scholarship campers to attend a week-long camp session in late July and that she immediately thought of our girls at CPD for this special opportunity.

Of course, I was thrilled and immediately went to work finding the right girls to participate.  As you may know, CPD works with abused and neglected kids through the CPS caseworkers of Dallas County, so it takes some energy to find out which girls were available for this particular week of camping and it was important that they would feel comfortable and were well-adjusted enough to be away from home for an extended period of time, etc.  As you might imagine, many kids who come into CPS care are wounded too deeply (both emotionally and physically) to be able to mainstream into a cabin of other girls away from home.  So special attention was needed to find these campers – and they needed to be from families who were Christian (or didn’t mind if the girls learned about Christianity) since Sky Ranch is a Christian camp. 
Anyway, everyone here at CPD was so excited about this generous gift and we were super excited to get our girls signed up.  Every staff member here was just giddy with the thought of these girls getting to enjoy such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  And of course, I had sent the Sky Ranch website link to the CPS caseworkers showing the Blob and listing all of the fun activities for the girls – so the girls could get so excited too…

Then the bottom dropped out.
Unfortunately, by the time we got back to Sky Ranch with the names and ages of our girls, Sky Ranch had filled the spots.  My friend was not the only person searching for scholarship campers and we were just too late. 

Of course, I was devastated.  We all were.  I felt terrible that these girls had gotten their hopes up, then dashed.  I felt terrible that so many CPS staff members had taken part of their precious time to locate these exceptional girls for camp, then had to waste even more time explaining that now the camp was off.  And since part of what we do at CPD every day is to let caseworkers know that we are here to help them do their jobs better and with greater care – every time my word is broken to them, well, it just kills me.  Anyway, it was what it was and I contacted the CPS supervisor who had been helping me to find girls and told her it was off and how sorry I was about it, etc.
NOTE:  If you know me, you will know that there was some cursing and bad-mouthing of Sky Ranch by me with the staff here at CPD.  Hey, I was pissed, people!

Oh well, life goes on.
Next we had a break for July 4th for a few days and I even extended my vacation for a few more days into the next week (It’s good to be the boss!), so I came back to work on a Thursday morning, pretty much having forgotten about Sky Ranch.

So I was at my desk going through paperwork and the phone rang.  It was a caseworker who needed some clothes for a kid on her caseload and I was talking her through our procedures and what forms she needed to send over and she said “Oh, I just found out that the 5 girls I signed up for camp are not getting to go.”  I said, “Oh no, we told y’all last week it was cancelled,” and she then explained that her supervisor had gone on vacation and had forgotten to tell her.  Well, of course, I just felt awful, and told her how sorry I was, etc., and explained that since it was so close to camp time for the girls to find out it was cancelled, that we would try to find another camp for them to attend and that we would find the money to pay for her girls to go.
I hung up the phone and went right back into the ugly about this whole situation and Sky Ranch (see note above).

Joanna and I had a site visit scheduled just then with one of our corporate donors (who is also a friend of mine).  I was actually lamenting to Joanna about these poor girls who didn’t even know they weren’t going to camp (loudly – I was in the copy room and she was in her office – we don’t really use intercoms here – yelling is just fine with Joanna and me) when the donor arrived and probably heard me loudly "lamenting".
So, Joanna and I go into the reception area and greet the donor and I start telling him about how much his gift is going to help our kids, etc.  And since it was fresh on my mind I told him about the 5 little girls and Sky Ranch and how they weren’t told about the cancellation and about how we needed to find camp for these 5 girls and that part of his company’s money might go to send these girls to another camp.

Then he said, “Oh no, don’t you use my money for that – use my money for some other girls.  Call this man and this man and tell them I told you to call.  Those girls are going to Sky Ranch.”  Turns out that his friends are very involved with Sky Ranch and they did find places for our girls.  Hallelujah!
I know that God wanted those girls to go to Sky Ranch.  There is no other explanation:
  • We were too late.
  • They didn't have space.
  • We thought we told everyone it was cancelled.
  • Even when that caseworker was finally told that camp was cancelled, she didn't tell the girls.
  • I took extra vacation days and found out that morning that the girls hadn't been told just before the donor arrived, so it was fresh on my lamenting lips; otherwise I never would have mentioned it to the donor.
  • That donor knew who to call.
Too many times the whole thing was over, but He worked it so that it turned around.  I can’t wait to find out what God has in store for those 5 girls.  It’s going to be something big. 

 P.S.  This is not a photo of our girls.  We cannot show you their faces due to confidentiality.


  1. We take care of the possible; God takes care of the impossible.

    I hope Sky Ranch learned something from this. A solid minute of thought should have told them that ONE person there should be in charge of finding those 5 girls, contacting ONE org. (like CPD) at a time.

    1. You are so right, Phoebe! I bet impossibility is His middle name!