“A picture is worth a thousand words.” But the person in the picture is of infinite value as Arvin and Darlene Van Hall can attest to. This past May I was sitting in a restaurant in Pella, Iowa with the Van Halls talking about our families, life, faith and SpringHill.
I shared with the Van Hall’s our 2013 Ministry plan we call Journey Forward. As we were flipping through the Journey Forward booklet the Van Hall’s eyes stayed on the page with this photo on it.
They looked at it for a long time as tears welled up in their eyes. They asked me “who is this young man in the photograph and what was his story?”
I then shared with them how we have campers with special needs participate in camp alongside our other campers. That we embrace all kids and want them to experience the truth that they are created in the image of God and thus are valued and loved by God as His children. This means we will do everything we can to have these campers participate in, along with our other campers, every camp activity possible (including “Crud Wars”).
So who is this camper? His name is Colin and he has been a “SpringHiller” for a number of years. He has Cerebral Palsy so he uses a powered wheelchair and has a one-on-one counselor with him during his week of camp. He is at grade-level both cognitively and with his speech thus communicates very well for someone with his condition. He loves camp and is one of the heros of the week when he is here.
Because he is able to communicate so well Colin has become a voice for others like himself but who are not capable of speaking on their own behalf. Just as he did “speaking” through this photo directly to the Van Hall’s hearts inspiring them to do something significant, not just for Colin, but for the 100’s of other special needs campers and the 1000’s of kids who have the opportunity to attend camp with them each year.
In Chapter 4 I will tell the story of the meeting of Colin and the Van Halls and exactly what Colin inspired the Van Hall’s to do on behalf of every camper who attends SpringHill.