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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 Some of the children are either withdrawn or in your face, compliant or aggressive, or merely hungry for love and attention.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.

  • It was amazing to see the unfolding of children who had been “closed” up in a world of who knows what when they realised they were safe and protected. NL
  • Seeing an overview change between the individual kids from the previous year when they attended camp and noticing how much more confident and blossomed they have become because of CAMP! Being given this opportunity to use my gifts to be a positive male role-model for the campers was a wonderful opportunity. I did enjoy my role at camp and am still humbled by its experiences. In the role of uncle I was able to relate it to my culture as we are firm believers of a village raising a child!! VS
  • I’m not sure if I can pin down the highlights of camp to one moment, but just letting these kids be kids- having fun running round, playing with others kids of the same age and not having to worry about serious things for a while. PL
  • I think the most rewarding part of the camp for me was seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces, seeing them able to just be kids, how much fun they were having, their self-esteem go from rock bottom to the point where they could stand up and perform at the talent quest, to see some of them really get the fact that they were loved and that they were beautiful. To know that I was a small part of giving these kids some much needed joy and love was very rewarding. Camp is Fun, difficult, rewarding, heart-breaking, exciting- all at the same time! It was an incredible role and one that I would like to do many more times. DR
  • Seeing physically a positive change in campers' attitudes and behaviour throughout camp and realising that we as buddies are actually making a change in their lives and of course the friendships made and life-long memories made. Being a buddy was great. Everyone always looked out for other so it made it much easier. My personal reflection of camp, is all about the attitude and faces of the campers each day. When they first arrived, some were excited, some were withdrawn and some were quiet. As camp continues, you start to see the changes. One of the best examples, is Mary (name confidential) - she came out of the bus as this quiet little girl, next minute, she’s playing, volunteering and actually talking and laughing. On Friday, is when you see the real difference in everyone. Some look down, quiet or just plainly sad. You ask them if they are okay, and they say that they’re not looking forward to go home. At the same time, this applies to me. Just four and a half days with these kids, and you don’t want to let them go. I will never forget these kids (especially my camper), and I am looking forward to another SUCCESSFUL camp because I know the difference that this has made for them! SC

New Zealand should be very proud of the amazingly dedicated and resourceful young people who strive for excellence in serving the often very wounded children who attend a Kids Camps (NZ) camp. I continue to be amazed with their hard work during very long hours and their continuous selfless acts of kindness they exhibit during the week at camp. The comments above is a small example of feedback we have received after the Wellington Camp. Anita Vermeer (National Camp Director).

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