48214 is the zip code where our inner city Detroit day campers live. It is another world from the more famous zip code 90210. In contrast 48214 is the second poorest zip code in Detroit. This is remarkable because this community includes some of the “wealthiest” neighborhoods in Detroit. So in reality 48214 has some of the neediest and poorest citizens, not only in Detroit, but in our country.
Yet it was in this community and with these campers that we were affirmed that this is one of the places we are to serve kids, their families and the local church. Let me just share a few of these affirmations with you.
One of our staff told me that these campers are very thankful and appreciative of their experience. For example, we have an ice cream social for the campers and their families as part of our closing ceremonies. When one camper was told they would be having ice cream he said “really, we get ice cream, really we do?” A glow was on his face as if he was just told he was going to Disney.
By the second day campers where calling their counselors “auntie”, “uncle”, “mommy” or “dad”. They clung to our staff and in a sense adopted them as their parents. Many do not experience this kind of love, the love of Christ, at home.
On the last day the kids from Hope Community Church, http://www.hopedetroit.org/homepage.html , said to Monique Holliday, the Hope coordinator, “can we come back next week?”.
Monique answered “no SpringHill is moving on to another location.”
Kids responded “but can we go where they will be?”
Monique told them “they are going far away.”
In which the kids responded “we will just go with them, they will take us.”
Although we can’t physically take these campers with us there is no doubt after this remarkable week, that in a deeper way, they will never leave us. And our prayer for them as well is that the love of Christ they experienced will never leave them.