If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly.
Young people who anger easily and struggle to control their behavior can have a huge impact on the pace and feel of a camp. But the truth is, they can feel isolated and alone.
Don Truss’s heart for these at-risk youth spurred him to assemble a team of leaders to launch Overcomers Camp. The camp, which ran for the first time in the 2019 June/July school holidays, hosted 17 boys from South and Central Queensland schools.
The boys came from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some had a parent in trouble with the law or came from broken homes, while others had experienced alcoholism or substance abuse first-hand – or even a combination of all. The camp focused on loving and supporting these young people through a week of fun, yet sometimes messy activities.
“I guess the heart behind it is to support boys who are going through major challenges internally and don’t know how to express it without acting out or getting angry,” Don says.
“A bunch came off suspensions at school – when they feel threatened they often answer with their fists, which gets them into trouble. The week gave us a great chance to speak into that space, showing God’s love and giving them alternatives to the physical responses they often default to.”
The camp was themed around military history – focusing on how character and mateship are crucial for any good soldier.
“On the first day, we ran team challenges where the boys and leaders had to get everyone through obstacles in thick mud,” Don recalls.
“One of the rules was to get through together – no man left behind – so we got sent back to the start a lot of times!
“But in the end, they got through it together and the feeling of success as a group was such a powerful way to start camp.”
On top of the mud-based activities the boys conquered a range of obstacle courses, had flour bomb fights, explored tunnels together and ended the week zipping around in dirt buggies.
12-year-old camper Eli had a great time on camp.
“My favourite part was going through the mud,” Eli recalls.
“I think it’s important to have fun in life – this camp was heaps of fun and much more.
“I’d love to come again, and I’ll make sure I bring more of my mates with me!”
Overcomers Camp introduces 17 at-risk campers to aspects of leadership, responsibility, self-control, respect, forgiveness and mateship.
Thanks to your support, at-risk teens in regional communities are growing through tough circumstances at camps like Overcomers. Keep this vital support going – visit suqld.org.au/donate