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Personal Experience

Each child who comes to camp has a story, some more noticeable than others. Some of the children are either withdrawn or in your face, compliant or aggressive, or merely hungry for love and attention. Some are suspicious, demanding, skeptical, rebellious, sexually awakened, disillusioned, and scared to show how much they long for acceptance.

They feel guilt for crimes they have not committed or were forced to be apart of, shame for the secrets that have been revealed, responsible for family break-ups and bewilderment at the shattering of their world. Almost all of these children long for the parents that they have been taken from, regardless of what the parent has done, he is still Dad, she is still Mum. Many of these children find at Kids Camps New Zealand, a haven - an opportunity to succeed.

Most of all, they find acceptance without any strings, love without any reciprocal gratification expected, and an atmosphere of family.

Jason (12) arrived at camp wearing gang colours, a bandana covering his face,cap pulled down, and strutting like a gangster. Staff gently told him that gang colours were not permitted at camp. He complied quite willingly, and was soon enjoying the activities of camp, and over the week he became a great support to the younger children as he encouraged them verbally and helped them wherever he could. An adult from his school knew him as someone who would "undermine anything you try to do" and yet that was so far from our experience of Jason. We saw him as a leader who showed empathy and compassion towards his peers, and was not a problem at all. We all need to feel a sense of belonging. Give kids a positive alternative and they respond.

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