The Blessings of “Doing it Scared”

After years of planning, the big day had finally arrived. The first day of our program was upon us and the cars began to pull in with little people hopping out of them. They all looked very nervous. None of them were more nervous than myself and Ronald. 

With each passing year we always reminisce on the first moments of that morning eight summers ago. We laugh at how we looked at one another with terror in both of our eyes and said, “People actually brought their kids to us. This is happening…”

On day one, we made the mistake of allowing a complete free-for-all with paint (not water color at that), which our campers LOVED. They proudly wore green stained shirts for six weeks straight. Outside of that, day one went off without a hitch and since then, we’ve been hooked. 

Our campers have gained so much from the summers we’ve spent together. We truly get the adage about blood, sweat and tears. Trust us! We started this program with two children of our own, but now have four. We’ve juggled a period of bedrest due to pre-term labor. We’ve relocated and lovingly, you followed. Ronald has almost literally been in two places at one time on countless occasions , while balancing his basketball career, and now his post-retirement life as a businessman. I’ve nursed and changed blow-out diapers of three babies in some of the most unique settings imaginable. Lol! 

But here’s what we have gained…

We have gotten to watch your children go through almost an entire childhood and become intelligent, kind, well-rounded, open-minded, young adults. Young adults who know they are forever an extension of us. We have been invited to dozens of birthday parties, games, ceremonies, etc. We’ve kept every single letter, drawing, and craft each of your kiddos has created for us. We have hours and hours of footage and an insane amount of photos of some of our sweetest and funniest memories. We’ve cried with our camp parents because we get this whole parenting thing and how it’s the most glorious and challenging experience EVER. We have made true friends. And as for our children?? God. Where to begin? They literally count down the days to be reunited with their camp family year after year. Their childhood has been enriched in so many ways by knowing and being loved by our campers and their families. It has allowed us to set the “fun parenting” bar way higher than we could have hoped for. Lol.

So here is the thing. If you’re looking for one, I’m sorry to say there’s no real message behind this post. Not in particular anyway. I just felt compelled to share how much beauty can come from pursuing something you’re passionate about. When we started we had doubters. We knew that one thing about Fort Wayne is that people stick with what they know. There are other local programs that do a fantastic job who have been around a LOT longer than we have. But one thing is for sure, there was room for and there remains a true need for what WE bring to the table. It it nothing like anything else. We can call on a few hundred kids in Fort Wayne who can vouch for that.

Thanks for believing in us so we could better believe in ourselves. Thank you for the loyalty, love, and prayers that allow us to receive new families in full confidence each new camp session. Thank God for growth internally, and your referrals that have helped us grow externally. Just thank you. 

By the way, we no longer provide acrylic paint. 

Let the countdown begin. 

All the love,

Reesha Howard