Eagle Gives Back: Summer Camp for Foster Children

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The names of children have been changed for this article.

Eagle Print Dynamics is a purpose-driven company motivated by much more than simply making a profit. We care deeply about our loyal customers, appreciate every vendor and consider our valued employees as part of the family. The Golden Rule is written right into our Mission and Core Values to guide all that we do.

The entire team is committed to giving back to the community, particularly to helping disadvantaged children. We have a shared company goal to improve the lives of 2,100 children over the next ten years. Although group volunteer projects have been on hold during the pandemic, Eagle’s President/CEO Tim Smith recently donated a week of his time to be a summer camp counselor for foster children.

For the Children—Royal Family KIDS Camp

Royal Family KIDS Camp (RFKC) is the flagship program of For the Children (FTC), a non-government agency (NGO) based in Santa Ana, CA. Foster children age 6–12 attend summer camp for five days to promote resiliency, self-esteem, hope, and positive memories.

Through its network of individual 501(c)(3) corporations, FTC provides intervention programs, education, and advocacy for child victims of family-induced trauma, neglect, abuse, and abandonment. From its beginnings in 1985, there are now 240 chapters across North America and 12 countries.

CEO Tim Smith serves as a camp counselor

In June 2021, Eagle Print Dynamic’s President and CEO Tim Smith took a week off to volunteer as a summer camp counselor through a church-based FTC chapter in Orange County.

“Foster children have always been our passion,” Tim explains. “My wife and I were foster parents for 10 years. A while ago, I learned about Royal Family KIDS Camp, which takes foster children away from their daily lives for a week to provide a positive, healing experience. In the past, I’ve supported them with fundraising, but this year I decided to be a counselor.”

The camp is in the mountains of southern California with 30 kids and 41 staff members, including 18 counselors. Multiple adults accompany the kids to protect and ensure their safety. Similarly, children are not permitted to be photographed or named in publicity materials.

At the same time, says Tim, “We were encouraged not to say “no” to any requests from the kids, unless the activity was unsafe. It’s all about them feeling free to let go and have fun, sometimes for the very first time. Many of these children have been pretty beat up emotionally, and often physically abused, by the time they are 10 years old. It’s heartbreaking.”

From depressed to delighted

Tim returned from this experience with many inspiring stories. He spoke about a girl, “Janine,” who arrived at camp very depressed.  After a doctor suggested she lose a few pounds, her foster mother repeatedly shamed her, saying, “You’re so fat and ugly that no boy is ever going to want you.” Janine was so devastated she stopped eating and lost 40 pounds in two months.

“At the start, she was quite downcast,” says Tim. “The first day, she didn’t eat or do any of the activities. However, by the second day, she was talking and holding hands with a new friend. Her first meal was at dinner that evening. The next day, Janine and her counselor were sitting in a big chair together, talking and even laughing. She had started to look like a little girl again.”

“On the last morning, Janine wanted to go swimming, but she hadn’t brought a swimsuit because she didn’t anticipate wanting to. Her counselor said, ‘Sure, you can go in with your clothes.’ Then she asked the counselor, who was also fully dressed, to swim with her. She smiled, then they both jumped into the pool, giggling.

“The difference I saw in her after just five days at camp was an incredible transformation. After watching a video of their camp week back at the church, Janine came up and said, ‘Tim, thank you for being so nice to me.’ And she hugged me.”

Sharing from personal experience

Another incident involved a young boy, “Victor,”whose cabin-mates were picking on him. When they first arrived, he found a cockroach in his bed, so the other boys started calling him “Cockroach.” Tim spoke with Victor, who was upset about being teased this way.

“I told him a story from my childhood. The other kids in high school said I looked like a turtle when I ran and called me ‘Turtle.’ I decided to have fun instead of letting them make me feel bad. I got a visor with a turtle on the front, then set out to be the fastest runner in school. By the end, I had come close to winning in the finals of our track championship.”

Tim encouraged Victor to consider some admirable qualities of cockroaches. Once he started smiling instead of reacting, the other boys stopped teasing him.

Looking ahead to next year

Tim had such a great experience that he is already committed to being a Royal Family KIDS Camp counselor again next summer. “This feels very on purpose for me personally and is a way to serve God in the process.”

Learn more about Eagle’s charitable work. Contact us online or call 714-978-2200 and ask for Tim if you’d like to hear more stories like this one.

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