Dear friends: They cling to their life-jackets, fearing that the tightly drawn webbed straps are somehow not enough to keep the vests from slipping off. The boat rises then drops suddenly in a sliding motion as the wake from a passing yacht swells beneath it. The girls scream. The boys are silent but sober-faced. How deep is the water, they want to know. A hundred feet, the counselor behind the wheel tells them and smiles. Shore is much too far away for comfort. Another wave slaps the side of the boat sending a spray over them. This time even the boys let out a yell. Everyone explodes in nervous laughter.
Who will be first into the water? The life-vests that kept them afloat in waist-deep water on the beach are untested at such fearsome depths. A truck-size inner-tube bobbing beside the boat seems buoyant enough but unstable. It could flip over. Finally, the bravest of the bunch, a fifteen-year-old boy who has been quietly observing the entire episode from the back of the boat, eases himself cautiously over the side and into the tethered inner-tube. A cheer erupts from his admiring shipmates. Hold on, the counselor yells. The others echo the instruction. A nylon tow-rope slithers out of the boat until it tugs taut. The nervous boy wraps his arms around the tube with a death grip, now a distance of thirty long feet separating him from his friends and the relative safety of the boat. Hold on, the counselor calls again, and eases down on the throttle lever. The rope stretches tight and the tube dips down into the water, forcing a wave up over the terrified boy. He lets out an audible "ooohh" but he does not let go. The next instant, the tube pops to the surface and begins to glide smoothly over the water. His shipmates cheer wildly and the boy begins to relax on the skimming tube, grinning broadly. Five minutes later he is an expert. Within the hour he has coaxed, one by one, all five of his boatmates into the tube and has coached them on the fine points of skimming technique.
This night, back in the ’hood, the stories that spread will be filled with teasing and bragging and much laughter. Summer camp has begun. There is joy for the children of the city. Hundreds of them in the neighborhoods we serve will experience new adventures, new friendships, new insights this summer. Because of supportive friends like you, the lives of many urban young people will be enriched. Many will come to understand the first time the love of One who has given them life and has wonderful designs for their future.
Can I count on you (or your church or company) as a sponsor for one or more of these children this summer? A sponsorship of $100 will provide an entire summer of camping experiences for a child. Thank you in advance for your care.
Grateful to be your partner in service,