No. 914



One morning a few weeks ago, the phone rang here in my office and it was Debbie Young, children’s pastor for the Pottsville Assembly of God church. This is in Pottsville, Ark., about 40 miles north of Conway on Interstate 40.
Debbie called to ask if I might be interested in speaking at the annual banquet for the Royal Family Kids Camps, the nation’s largest camp network for foster children. Debbie spearheaded this most important ministry here in our area several years ago. They were interested in me being their speaker because I have a good number of loyal readers in the nearby Russellville Courier newspaper, and she felt at least a couple of them might want to come hear me.
I had never heard of this organization, but when she told me more about it and the purpose, I knew it was something of which I wanted to be a part. A few days later some literature arrived in the mail and I read every bit of it. To put it mildly, I was impressed. Based in Santa Ana, Calif., and founded in 1985 by Wayne and Diane Tesch, these camps are literally coast to coast and in almost every state. Some states have multiple camps that dot the landscape. If you love children and have empathy for those who are abused, abandoned and neglected, you may find an opportunity for service that you have never even thought about until today when you read this column.
The Pottsville ministry is called “Royal Family Kids” and the campground is located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of North Arkansas. The 40 foster children who are invited each year are referred to them by the Department of Human Services, the Division of Children and Family Services. The camp is a resident camp that lasts a full five days and is packed with more fun than they could ever imagine. Here is the part that impresses me. Royal Family Kids Camp is made possible each year by the generous donations from individuals and churches in the surrounding area. Of course Russellville, being a much larger community, contributes more than their share of the support. This past year they had 16 different churches involved, not only supporting the camp financially but also supplying many of the staff members and counselors, who are all volunteers.
One of their supporters, Circuit Judge Ken Coker Jr., really puts it in perspective. He said, “Royal Family Kids Camp is a small taste of heaven for children who have known nothing but heartache, pain and loneliness. This camp gives these children an all-too-brief glimpse of the marvelous possibilities that can await them in life in this world and lets them know they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and will always be there for them.” Because I truly believe in the purpose and what they are doing for these children, God blessed me that evening, and my remarks were well received at the banquet.
One of the things I had not thought about before this evening is that many of these foster children quite often have a bonding with one of the leaders, who later winds up going through the adoption process. Needless to say, a staff member or camp leader (someone who is paying their own way and is there because they love children and want to give back to make our society a better place) is going to provide a much better home environment than someone who takes foster children for the money than can earn.
I made these comments at the end of my talk, and following the program, a young lady brought two beautiful girls up to meet me. She said, “This is what you were talking about. We adopted both of these girls.” I could tell they were happy.
If you have an interest in knowing more about this program, contact Debbie Young, Camp Director, P.O. Box 118, Pottsville, Arkansas, or call 479-967-2715.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)