Will first attended Camp Agape in 2009 when he was seven years old. At that young age, he was already an amazing drummer. He could roll seamlessly from snare to tom-tom to cymbal in complicated cadences. He idolized his father who taught him this skill before leaving for prison. Will had a very difficult time at camp that first year. His behavior mirrored the disorder of his young life, and we were unable to keep him safe. He wanted to go home, and his lack of safety required us to send him back home to his grandmother by the second day of camp. Will returned to try camp again when he was nine. By then, he was receiving one-on-one assistance in an alternative school placement. We weren’t sure that we had the skill to do this, but we welcomed him back, prepared to love and accept him with a completely clean slate. Guess what? He loved camp! His attitude was enthusiastic and positive. He formed strong bonds with his counselors and made good friends.
This year, he will return for his fourth summer. Will’s grandmother, the only consistent care-giver in his life, has recently lost her battle with cancer. Again, we don’t know if we have the skill to do this, but we do know that we share a space in God’s heart with Will, and that is all that any of us need.