By Janis Russell
April 30, 2014 (Spring Valley)- Royal Family Kids Camp provides a network of camps and mentor clubs for children of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. The vision is that “every foster child, ages 6-12, experiences a life-changing camp, club and mentor.” The mission is to “create life- changing moments for children of abuse.” The purpose is to “mobilize the faith community to confront child abuse.”
Founded by Wayne and Diane Tesch, the camp was formally called Royal Family Kids’ Camp Inc. It launched in 1990 after Wayne left his church position. In 2008, the name was changed to Royal Family KIDS and included a school year club and mentoring program.
According to a recent press release, “the national organization empowers and recruits local churches like Faith Chapel to begin providing a week-long summer camp experience for the abused, neglected, and abandoned children of their area. At camp, there is one counselor for every two children- so each special child receives lots of wholesome attention from a caring adult. There are also “camp grandparents” so needy children can feel like part of a healthy family.”
Becky and her husband, David Millat are the directors of Royal Family KIDS Camp at Faith Chapel in Spring Valley, which has celebrated ten years of service this year and has been holding week long camps for local foster kids. The camp this year is June 22-27. The Millats also have two daughters, Megan and Morgan, who are just as passionate about Royal Family as their parents are. Becky participated in an exclusive interview with ECM.
Q: “How did you and your husband become a part of Royal Family?”
A: “We had been attending Faith Chapel for about a year at that point. We had been asked by Pastor Cori [Park].. At the church where we were at, we were involved with them.”
Q: “Any dramatic stories worth sharing?”
A: “We had a little girl. She had a really rough week. She pushed [me and David] to be loved, but she didn’t want to accept it. She verbally abused us. When we left her at the end of the week, she’s crying and hugging us good-bye because she didn’t want to go back to where she came.”
Q: “When and where is the camp held?”
A: “In San Diego County close to the beach.”
Q: “How can people get involved as counselors?”
A: “As counselors, we staff through Faith Chapel. There’s different things they can be involved in, like writing letters to the kids.”
Q: “What can the public do to help?”
A: Providing “finances. The camp costs between $30,000-35,000 for the week.”
Q: “What is the camp like?”
A: “We just take [the kids] and just let them be kids. There’s very few rules for them. We take them to the beach one day with surfing lessons [and learning] oceanography. We have an ‘everybody birthday party’ because a lot of the kids have never had a birthday party and some of them don’t know when their birthdays are.”
Q: “What does it take to become a counselor?”
A: “They fill out the applications, come to informational meetings, get fingerprinted, livescanned, go through interviews with David and I, and with a couple others. There’s an average 12 hours of training every year no matter how many years you’ve been. We talk about what they’ll come in contact with” since the kids are molested or abused. “We start staffing in February and the deadline is usually mid- April. So now, we’ve gone through interviews and picked.” They see the same people on staff every year.
The website says that “annually , 3.6 million cases of child abuse, neglect or abandonment are reported in America.” Statewide, there are 1,763 children, ages 6-12, in the foster system.
To learn more about Royal Family, call (714) 438-2494 or visit: http://royalfamilykids.org/, which includes more statistics on foster kids.
To get in touch with David and Becky Millat, email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call Faith Chapel at (619) 461-7451. You can make a donation to this camp at: http://springvalley.royalfamilykids.org/donations/.