I had the honor of volunteering at the Hilliard Free Lunch Summer Camp for Kids recently at two lunch sites (Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church and Horizon Elementary). The first day I noticed a young girl by herself and decided to strike up a conversation with her. The conversation led to she and I writing a silly story, trying nine square (why didn’t we have this game in the late 70’s?), and then to her teaching me to hula hoop. I am 49. While the two of us were hula hooping, another young girl joined in beside us. I saw that my friends’ nametag said she was in the 3rd grade while the other girl’s said she was in the 4th grade. I said to them, “you both are so close in age that you could be good friends.” They both just looked at me and sort of smiled. The first day was ending and my 3rd grade friend started to leave, but then turned and came back and hugged me. Blessed, truly blessed!
I returned the next day to this same site and saw my friend as she passed through the greeting tunnel. I sensed she was bravely trying to branch out on her own so I branched out as well. I met a new friend and walked her through how to use bucket stilts. She caught on quickly and proceeded to balance on the mini buckets. Then another little boy approached us and pointed to the stilts she was using and said to me, “ I want those!” I then said to him, “ Then you say to her, “When you are finished can I use those?” He repeated the question to my stilted friend and she stopped, stepped down onto the floor, and handed the stilts to him right away. He looked at me amazed that he was able to get what he wanted so quickly just by asking nicely. This bustling day of wonderful camp experiences (listening to Chomp being read a loud, choosing a book to take home, hearing a speaker (who I discovered happened to be married my high school classmate), playing games, eating a healthy lunch, and tie dying shirts.) was coming to a close. Then as campers were heading to the buses, God timed the scene just perfect for my view. There in front of me were two special little girls, one in the 3rd grade and one in the 4th grade happily hugging each other goodbye. Blessed, truly blessed!
My third day of camp took me to a different lunch site. I had the pleasure of seeing a Junior Achievement business partner teach entrepreneurship to the campers. He played a game with replica money. He handed “money” to the pretend business owners and accidentally overpaid one young boy. As he walked away, the young boy counted and then looked at me with eyes that said, “what do I do?” I asked him what was wrong. He said he received extra “money.” I said to tell the Junior Achievement speaker because it is good to always be honest. This young boy returned the “money” and the JA speaker gave him praise for being honest. The young boy smiled with pride. Blessed, truly blessed!
I learned something new each day while volunteering for SON ministries, but the biggest lesson that kept transcending through the week is “in the simple.” It is the simple things (trying something new, making a friend, being polite, being honest, etc.) that are important to our children and their future. Maybe “in the simple” we will bring about peace in the home, in the neighborhood, imagine…. in the world. Thanks to the host sites, the site leaders, the organizers, the staff, the teen volunteers, the community volunteers, and the bus drivers who are promoting peace by handing down the “simple things” each day. You are a blessing, a true blessing!