Florence, SC Community Photographer: Our Day at Camp RAE

I am fully confident that there is no way that I will be able to put into words what Camp Rae is all about. Clara Beth and I spent the morning there yesterday, on their last day of camp for the 2014 year. I have known of Camp Rae for about two years now. I have known several of the kids who benefit from this four week camp. But I haven’t known Camp Rae, you know? I haven’t experienced it. We had a tiny taste of what Camp Rae is yesterday, and I left with two thoughts. Number One: LOVE. SO much LOVE. Number Two: I wish that I visited on the first day, not the last. I want to see more and I want to know these kids. I want to know these therapists who devote their lives and their hearts to these children for four weeks in the summer.

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First, the love. I wish there was a more complete word that I could use, but really, that’s what it’s all about. Within thirty seconds of walking through the doors of Calvary Baptist Church I received my first hug from the spunkiest little pint-sized cutie you’ve ever seen. Love. Then I was guided to a room full of kids and adults, happily working on crafts. There was laughter, teasing, conversation, and giant smiles on every face in the room. Clara Beth and I were introduced to each kid in the room. But it wasn’t just a “Hey, Aron and Clara Beth, this is So and So.” No, we were told the name along with a long description of who this child was. What makes them unique, what I needed to watch out for because they were a jokester, why this one was a huge flirt, that one has the most beautiful heart…and on and on. Everyone in this room truly knew one another and the love was deep. We bypassed the awkward “get to know you” phase that seems to accompany CB and I in every new situation. {We are both introverts to the core!} It just wasn’t there. Immediately we felt like we fit right in and honestly we would have happily hung out all day long with our new BFFs. It’s just the way it was. And it was all because of LOVE. There was just so much of it and it was mutual and it was DEEP.

1 Corinthians 13:2: …if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have LOVE, I am nothing.

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I am so thankful for the small taste of Camp Rae that we experienced yesterday. I am so sad that it happened on the last day. There is so much more to Camp Rae that we didn’t have the opportunity to experience. I can’t wait to go back next year. It’s been 24 hours since our time there, and I can’t even count how many times Clara Beth has said “Hey, remember when…” and has named one of countless funny or WOW moments that we had. Before we headed out yesterday morning I was reading in Colossians chapter 4, verse 23 about “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the LORD, not for men.” Our work is an act of worship to God! How cool is that?! There was a whoooole lotta worship going on in the work that we saw being done at Camp Rae yesterday. Praise God for that!

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Y’all, I can’t say enough about this place. Please, please, please “like” their page on Facebook. It will keep you updated with community events, ways you can help Camp Rae though out the year, and bonus…you’ll daily get to see more of these happy faces throughout the month of July. This is an INCREDIBLE organization in our community!! Please do yourself a favor and take the time to get to know more about it. I can assure you, you will not be sorry! And to Deana and every teacher, therapist, volunteer, and child that we met yesterday…Thank YOU!!! It is a morning we will not soon forget and we can’t wait for more next year! Thank you for welcoming us! Y’all are the BEST!!!

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