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Camp for foster kids confronts abuse, changes lives
chu slt camp
A display lets church members know about Royal Family Kids Camps, camps created for foster children. First Assembly of God Church in Great Bend is sponsoring one of the camps. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Abused and neglected children know what it’s like to feel unnoticed. When these kids are also in the foster care system, it often becomes a way of life. This summer, faith-based Royal Family Kids Camp will open its first camp for western Kansas’ abused and neglected foster kids, as a way to show them that there are others who see them and care about their lives.
Royal Family Kids Camps, founded in 1985 in Orange County, Calif., sought to give abused and neglected foster kids hope for a better future. Today, it is the nation’s leading network of camps for abused, neglected and abandoned children
The Rev. Charles Basden, youth pastor of the First Assembly of God Church in Great Bend, was first approached in May of 2011, by the church’s senior pastor, Dwight D. Dozier. Wayne Tesch, the founder of RFKC, had asked their church to consider hosting and sponsoring a week of camp. Basden agreed to direct the camp and formed a leadership team to help make the camp a reality.   
After hearing stories from foster parents and foster children he has known, Basden said, “I’ve come to understand the stigma that comes with being a foster child. I knew that children who have been abused and neglected needed to know that there are adults who care about them. This camp provides that opportunity.”
Some people may wonder what good one week of camp can do in the lives of children who have been traumatized and are living within the foster system.  
Local RFKC Assistant Director Melissa Widiger said, “It is my hope that our camp will help our campers feel like they matter to somebody and that healing is possible.”
According to Scott Murish, National Field Rep/Ambassador of Vision for RFKC, “Each year we hear stories from foster parents, case workers and teachers about the ways the RFK camps have affected the lives of the children. They go to school with great stories of what they did over the summer, they have confidence in themselves that they can accomplish goals and be successful, they work better with other children and are better able to trust adults. One week DOES make a difference!”
While the number of children in foster care may seem overwhelming, the new local Royal Family Kids Camp plans make a difference in the lives of Barton County’s foster kids. Churches throughout Great Bend and other nearby communities, along with the staff of St. Francis, have joined to help make the new RFKC one that all believe will truly impact local foster children.
The foster care system, as well as many foster families, do all they can to help. RFKC is one more means to show foster children that they matter and are worth the effort.  For more information contact Basden by calling 620-792-5211. On the Internet: