Since 1999, hundreds of boys and girls living in foster homes have attended Cleveland’s Royal Family Kids Camp. During the first week of June each year, children ages 7 through 11 build five days of positive memories. Horseback riding, swimming, woodworking, a zipline, crafts, singing, puppetry, music, Bible stories, archery, drama, noncompetitive games, a talent show and “Everybody’s birthday party” all make for an unforgettable week.
Last year one of the campers said, “I’ve never had a birthday party before. This one was really great.”
Fifty-four children attended the 2012 Cleveland camp at no cost to their foster families. Nationally, more than more than 6,000 kids took part in 159 Royal Family Kids Camps held in 37 states.
Now — inspired by true stories from these camps for abused and neglected children — the motion picture “Camp” has been released. It will play at Cleveland’s Premiere Theater (Exit 20) March 22 through 28.
“Camp” is a fish-out-of-water story about investment adviser Ken Matthews (Michael Mattera), who volunteers to go to camp to impress a client, but finds himself paired with an angry, troubled 10-year-old camper named Eli (Miles Elliot, “The Mentalist”).
“We have served hurting kids like Michael for 15 years,” said Lance Colkmire, director of the Cleveland camp.
“Royal Family is the highlight of the year for many of them. There is one camp counselor — we call them ‘cousins’ — for every two campers, giving the kids the attention that they need.”
A percentage of all ticket sales bought for the Cleveland showing of “Camp” will support the local camp.
On April 20, the third annual 5-kilometer run supporting Royal Family Kids Camp will commence at the Cleveland High School track.
The 3.1-mile race will use the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway and a few secondary roads, then finish at the school. The 5K begins at 8 a.m. A fun run/walk starts at 9:15 a.m.
Registrants will receive a T-shirt and goody bag for $25 when preregistering by March 31. The cost is $30 after that date. Registration is $20 for runners under 18. Immediately following the 5K, prizes will be rewarded to the top runners. Register online at www.active.com.
When camp ends each year, the kids go home with a photo-memory album, crafts they have made, an MP3 player with the camp songs, a camp T-shirt, and letters written to them by the camp staff.
“We know camp makes a lasting impression because of kids like Alex,” Colkmire said, citing an example of a young camper who benefitted. “He first came to camp in 2009, but was not able to come again until last summer. Yet he remembered detail after detail of what he had experienced three years before, when he was only 8 years old.”
For more information about the local camp, contact the director by phone 715-6962 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.