The Runner

Apr 12, 2024

When King arrived at Camp Hidden Lake, he displayed the typical nervousness of most first-time campers. However, as he was introduced to his counselors and cabinmates, something unusual happened. King started running.

Believing his anxiety was just first-day nerves, his surprised counselors convinced him to return to the cabin. However, King became upset again when he discovered only the bottom bunks remained and bolted again.

Camp Director Captain Michael Good quickly hopped in the golf cart to catch up with him. When he saw the disappointment and frustration that lined this young boy's face, he knew a quiet ride might relieve some of his tension and anxiety. As they rambled silently through the wooded, hilly roads, King opened up about painful hardships in his young life. Captain Good began to understand that King coped with fear and difficulties by running.

Each time King ran throughout the week, Camp staff were there to catch him with open arms. As time passed, King's demeanor began to change. He swam until his skin was wrinkled, ziplined until his face was etched with a permanent grin, and fished until it seemed there was not a single fish left in the lake. King even learned to play the trumpet and was filled with pride when showcasing his new talents during the closing recital.

On the last morning of camp, as campers were giving hugs and signing each other's camp shirts, King began to run. Captain Good hurried to catch King, but then he realized that King was actually running towards him. King jumped into his arms and hugged Captain Good so tightly he could barely breathe. King had experienced unconditional love and acceptance, and it changed his life.

This is what camp does!

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