WILSONVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — Nestled in the wilderness in Clackamas County is a camp that comes to life in the summer for kids who haven’t had much of a chance just to be kids. And the camp inspired a movie will help raise money for the local camp.
The Wilsonville Royal Family Kids Camps serves foster children, both past and present, who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Symptoms of their abuse, such as behavorial challenges, might make a typical camp tough for these kids.
“One of our kids, by the time she was 4 was in 32 different foster homes. When her current foster parents got her, she resembled more like a ferral animal,” said camp director Chelsie Vuckovich.
Specially trained volunteers say these kids are celebrated, supported and loved unconditionally. Now in its eighth summer, 32 kids between the ages of 6-12 from Clackamas County will fill the cabins in late July. This is part of a worldwide network of camps operated by Royal Family Kids, Inc..
The non-profit organization mobilized local churches to sponsor the camps.
Despite everything these kids have been through, volunteers say they see the kids sparkle when they’re at camp.
“I will tell you these kids at camp have bigger hearts and more love to give than I have ever experienced,” Vuckovich said.
Some kids have never had a birthday party, so the camp sets one up.
There are “balloons and everything you can imagine,” Vuckovich said. “So they’re just, and then all of a sudden — this will make me cry — they’ll look down and see a cake with their name on it (and they’ll say) ‘This is my cake.'”
Moments like this inspired writer-director Jacob Roebuck to make “Camp,” a movie about this and other Royal Kids camps across the country. A one-week run of “Camp” at the Wilsonville Regal Cinemas will help raise money for the local camp.
“It gives a really accurate picture of what camp is and shows you the difference you can make in five days,” Vuckovich said. “These kids grab hold of your heart and you don’t want to let them go.”
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