Questions and Answers about Camp Good News
What is Camp Good News?
Camp Good News is a Christian camp founded in 2001 to provide a healthy and enjoyable camping experience for children who have a parent, brother or sister or other very close loved one in prison. Our primary purpose is to share the love of God in a safe environment with these children experiencing the loss of a family member to incarceration.
Why is there a Camp Good News?
Research shows that families who have a loved one in prison generally feel shame and attempt to keep their pain hidden from others. The burden of keeping the secret adds to the distress caused by loss of a loved one. This situation is hard for anyone to bear, but especially so for children. Camp Good News provides a place where all the participants who share the same pain may feel free to express it and begin the first step in healing.
Research also reveals that children having a parent or close loved one in prison are seven times more likely to be sentenced to prison themselves than other children. The love and caring shared, the teachings, and respect given the children by staff are aimed at helping this generation of inmate children avoid the fate of their missing family member.
What are the goals of Camp Good News?
Camp Good News exists to provide 1) the love of God to at-risk children, 2) a place of safety where one does not have to wear a mask, 3) days of healthy, wholesome fun, 4) teaching of the word of God, 5) respite care for the adult caregivers of children, often elderly grandparents and other relatives, 6) exposure to the beauty of God’s creation and, 6) an exercise in peacemaking and getting along with others who have different life experiences.
How does Camp Good News meet its goals?
Careful screening and training of camp counselors and adult staff helps to ensure that the staff is competent and committed to the children in their care. Children in a safe environment are free to be who God intends them to be. Each camp has an overall theme designed to address issues the children experience. Every day there is a teaching drawn from scripture and applied to real life conditions. Cabin counselors after lights out, go over the day’s activities, including the daily teaching and dialog about issues that invariably surface, which leads to a healthy discussion.
Following camp the camp director sends birthday and Christmas cards to the campers. Those that remain in the 10-15 year old age bracket are invited to attend camp until they age out. Campers who have been exemplary are invited to be trained and return as counselors.
How are Children for the camp recruited?
The Coordinator of Restorative Justice constantly interacts with individuals in organizations that serve inmates and inmate families such as Angel Tree and Texas Inmate Families Association. The Coordinator is also regularly in prisons and jails and is a frequent presenter at criminal and restorative justice conferences. He works with other denominations, para-church organizations, school counselors, the Texas Department of Corrections and other secular organizations engaged with this population. These interactions lead to names and addresses of eligible children.
The youth who attend Camp Good News and remain within the 10-15 year age bracket are eligible to return until they age out even if their family member is released from prison. Many (one-third to forty percent) of each year’s campers are returnees.
What is the capacity of Camp Good News?
The target enrollment is 60; 30 boys and 30 girls.
Is someone available to come to my church or group and make a presentation?
Absolutely! Contact Dr. Ed Davis, Coordinator of Restorative Justice at Box 388, Huntsville, TX 77342, or call 936-662-3842.
How does one secure an application?
Call or text Dr. Ed Davis, Camp Director, at 936-662-3842 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The camp website also allows one to download an application. See: www.campgoodnews4kids.org.
What are the dates for this year’s camp?
Camp begins at 4 pm, Sunday, August 9, and ends Thursday August 13, 2019, after a lunch for the campers’ families and a short program.
Is there a web site for camp Good News?
Yes, www.campgoodnews4kids.org. See also Tifa.org and TDCJ’s “Go Kids” web sites.
How is Camp Good News financed?
Camp Allen, our host, charges Camp Good News exactly the same amount per child as it does for any camper at other camp sessions. Since the Camp Good News camper’s family is not charged, all support must come from our churches and individuals.
Contributions to Camp Good News may be made by sending them to Camp Good News, Box 388, Huntsville, TX 77342. All contributions are tax deductible.