We encourage you to read through the following thoughts, but if you just can’t wait to look through camp photos, feel free to scroll to the end.
Thanks to the dedicated time and prayers of hundreds of individuals, Royal Family Kids Anchorage Camp 2023 was another five incredible days of making moments matter for our campers. This year, 66 children in Alaska’s Foster Care system were given a week at a summer camp where they are treated like Royalty! To make it all happen, we had 77 full-time staff at camp, dozens of event staff, 150+ prayer partners around Alaska and the Lower 48, and hundreds of generous individual and business donations.
There were so many ways that God blessed our year. First, we had every Cousin we needed THREE WEEKS before camp started. For the first time in many years, we could ensure that we had enough volunteers to bring all 64 of our planned campers WEEKS before camp. To put that into perspective, 6 days before RFK 2022 we still needed 4 more Cousins in order to bring all the campers who applied to camp. God filled our need then and he would have done so again, but it was such a blessing to be able to focus on the many other details of camp knowing we had all the volunteers we needed to make it work.
Another huge praise: This was our first year at a new campground. Such a big change required extra patience as we adjusted to a new space, but our volunteers met the challenge with grace and flexibility. Instead of a building, a 20′ x 80′ tent was decked out as one of the best Activity Centers of all time. Without a dock at the lake, the Polar Bear Plunge turned into the Polar Bear Run which gave the kids who would never jump off a dock the chance to participate. The campground staff were incredible and went above and beyond to partner with us to make a smooth camp experience—facilitating some very inconvenient loads of laundry and many, many toilet paper refills to name just two. God’s hand was there throughout, smoothing over the challenges and instilling his peace in us all.
When looking for a new campground, one of our top priorities was having enough space to continue bringing 64 kids to camp. Our new campground had beds for 32 girls and 32 boys, but (unlike our previous camp) there were no extra beds. In the past, we have always been able to bring an extra camper at the last minute to accommodate our final kiddo on the waitlist, or when a sibling suddenly became available to attend. Sunday evening, the night before the campers arrived, we were able to accept the final boy on the waitlist—exciting except that we did not have space to accept his sister who was also on the waitlist. And we no longer had an easy way to bring an extra camper.
We pray all year that God will bring the kids to camp who really need to be there. And He did, whether or not we thought it was possible. During registration the next morning, all 64 campers arrived as planned and with just two girls left on the waitlist, we made the decision to accept these awesome girls and head into camp with 66 campers.
Bringing an additional camper to RFK is not as simple as adding a new name to a roster. From personalized bedding, to a birthday cake with their face and name on it, to a backpack full of gifts, we make sure each of our campers knows we see and value them as individuals. But once again, God met us where we needed Him. We had just enough of the critical things and were able to run out and buy other items in time. Two pairs of our incredible Cousins slept on air mattresses and willingly took on the challenge of making moments matter for five kiddos instead of the four they expected.
At the end of the week, it was clear why we needed to accept these two girls. One had the chance to graduate from RFK with a journal with personalized notes from every one of our volunteers building her up and reminding her of her value and God’s love. The second accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and began her lifelong journey of faith.
Each year is full of challenges and incredible blessings. Through it all, God is faithful and provided everything we needed (and more!) to put on a successful week of camp. We can’t wait for next year!
Share in our joy and check out this selection of photos taken by camp photographers during the 2023 Camp. Photos may take a moment to load.
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