One of my favorite things is when children have the opportunity to simply act like children. And, there is almost no better place for this than the McWane Center. At the McWane Center, children are given a safe environment to touch all of the things that they are always told not to touch and do many things that they would usually be told not to do. Our camp kiddos took full advantage of that, and I am so thankful that I was there to see it all unfold. They brought the sweet volunteers all over the building, and the volunteers made sure that the children were able to make the most of the experience. The kiddos joined in with the all of the other children at the center playing with the different exhibits, digging for fossils, looking at fish, playing in the water stations, and pretending in a miniature city. It brought me such joy to watch them experience so many new things and thrive in an environment where a kid can just be a kid.
I spent most of time in an exhibit that is set up like a miniature city and is a child’s dream for pretending. The children were able to cook and serve at a diner, shop at a grocery store, milk a cow, doctor animals at the veterinarian’s office, ride in a firetruck, fix a car, and climb in an amazing jungle gym. One kiddo in particular, Nora, decided that she wanted to climb in the jungle gym. The other volunteers and I were very worried that she would be trampled by the other children, so we tried our best to distract her with another activity. She was not interested in anything else. So, sweet, gentle, quiet Nora, joined all of the rambunctious children on the jungle gym. She took it slowly. She would watch how the other children maneuvered around and learned from them. She would then follow behind them, not missing a beat. I loved watching her confidence grow as she climbed higher up and further into the jungle gym. As I continue to think about Nora learning how to crawl and climb her way through the jungle gym, I cannot help but long for her to have more experiences such as that one, where she has the opportunity to learn and grow.
It was so neat to see the kids’ personalities reflected in the way each child explored the McWane Center differently. I was reminded, as I am every time I spend time with these children, that they are uniquely and beautifully created by our Heavenly Father. Spending time at camp always leads me to reflect on the love that the Father has for His creation. As I think about our time at the McWane Center, I am led to praise the Lord for each of these children, thank Him for loving them in a way that no one on this earth will ever be able to love them, and ask Him to provide families for these children who will share His love with them every day of their lives. Would you join me?