How many times have we urged our children not to follow the wrong crowd or follow in the footsteps of someone making the wrong decisions? We want to train our children to become leaders not followers, right?
Why, then, did the boys wear t-shirts all summer during camp that said “#FOLLOWER?” Jesus said in Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” This summer, the theme of camp was that of following Jesus – following what He has planned for us – and knowing that He does have a plan for each of us. That idea is very big for young boys who often are dealing with incredible adversity in their lives. To know that each human being is special and that each person on earth is one that matters is an idea that is often new to our youngest boys who come to HOPE Farm for the first time.
A few years ago, one of our new 5-year-olds asked one of the teachers, “why are you always happy to see me?” No matter what kind of day our boys have at school, we are always happy to see them when they check in at HOPE Farm in the afternoons. We are happy to see them because they matter – they matter to the staff and the leadership of HOPE Farm – they matter to their moms who are working hard to give them opportunities – and they matter to Jesus. Making them know they matter this school year began during summer camp in June.
The staff emphasized becoming leaders by first following Jesus and HIS plan for each boy’s life; following the plan, following the commandments, and following the Word. Summer camp is a time of fun opportunities: overnight camping trips, visits to water parks, field trips to AT&T Stadium, “wet Wednesdays” featuring slip ‘n slides and water gun fights, cooking, science experiments, golf with The First Tee of Fort Worth, and visits from GameStop.
Through the fast and furious fun, however, were the quiet reminders each day about becoming a follower of Christ. HOPE Farm’s mission was at the center of summer camp: To guide at-risk boys to become Christ-centered men of integrity.