A new summer tradition

by | Jul 21, 2020 | CCHO Stories, Children's Residential Center, Stories, Volunteers

Summer is filled with special moments for CCHO kids and staff. Longer days and more time outside of the classroom offer opportunities for special events and unique connections. Today’s blog post comes from CCHO Advancement Coordinator Jenny Myers. She’s always had a soft spot for in her heart for children who’ve come from abuse and neglect. Here is her story of investing in the lives of our kids.

Last summer, I felt prompted to do something more for our kids. In looking for a way to have a deeper connection, I reached out to residential staff and offered our cabin and pond for a summer outing. And so, last August every single child got to come out to the cabin and spend the day fishing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and crafting. The day was perfection. I would often stand and listen to the sweet music of children laughing, splashing and playing. God gave me a front seat to watch our children be just that—kids having fun. My heart was full.

That day as I was inside the cabin prepping for dinner, a few girls came and asked if they could help me. I welcomed them to help make the lemonade and get the pudding ready. One little one asked if she could help slice onions for the burgers. Although a couple slices in, her eyes were watering, we still had a great time talking and hanging out. At the end of the day, one of the girls came up and asked, “Can I give you a hug?” Talk about melting my heart as I held back some tears. And then another came over for a hug and then another! My heart was bursting with joy. The real clencher for me was at the very end. One young boy was crying very loudly. At first I thought something had happened, but he was crying because he didn’t want to leave because he was having so much fun. That little boy asked for a kayak on his wish list at Christmas last year…and he got one!

I really had a heart for the girls I got to know that day, so I asked for a Christmas wish list for one of them. But that still didn’t seem like enough and I knew it was time for me to mentor one of the girls. I’ll be honest with you. I was nervous when I reached out to Campus Pastor Tim Hartzler to begin the process. The first girl I mentored was the one who helped slice the onions. We started out by having lunch together and then we met weekly and painted nails, did puzzles and played games. I’m pretty sure, the first few visits were scarier for me than her! But as we got to know each other, we were soon laughing and having a good time together.

That little one left CCHO and Tim asked if I would be open to mentor another and I was. The second young lady was also at the cabin that day. I received the sweetest handmade birthday card from her. She went above and beyond asking people what my favorite colors were, and I still have it taped outside my office. It reads, “Thank you for being my mentor. I’ve had a lot of fun with you the past few weeks! I can’t wait for our sessions in the future! I have so much fun with you!” I continued to mentor her until COVID-19 restrictions occurred, but we resumed back up right before she left.

I want to share how fulfilling it has been for me to get to know our children on a more personal level. I thought it was a small gesture to offer our cabin for the kids to enjoy. I never realized the impact it would have—from the little boy crying that he didn’t want to leave to the little girl who wrote on her poster when leaving CCHO that her favorite memory was “going to Miss Jenny’s to eat food and fish and canoe. I caught a fish.”

We have now made it a tradition for the kids to come out to the cabin. We just hosted all the kids and staff this past Monday, and we are adding a fall outing in October. Spending time with the kids is truly a blessing for me and I am so grateful to serve and connect with our precious children here at CCHO.

Enjoy the photos of their special day at the cabin.

Learn more about serving in youth ministry at CCHO as a staff member or volunteer.

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