I have shared in many post that I work for Camp Barnabas which is a camp for kids and adults with special needs. I love my job and I love this camp it is one of the most unique places on earth and also my home.
Camp has been and will always be a home for me and for so many others. I was having a conversation with a dear friend tonight and she has been talking with an adult camper who is going through a difficult time and as Sarah has been talking to her, the camper measures every year by camp years and not the typical calendar year. This is the true story for so many of our campers, volunteers, and staff members. Campers leave camp and begin talking the next year of camp in the car rides home from their current camp experience.
Barnabas is such an amazing place where everyone belongs and in light of that one of the things that Barnabas always desires that any camper who desires to come to camp can do just that, attend camp.
However, camp cost money, and many of our families are not in financial places to be able to afford the cost that comes with any camp. Barnabas has a scholarship fund to help truly ensure that each camper can come to camp and be celebrated regardless of their families financial situation.
However, to have money in a scholarship fund you have to some how raise money and this year Barnabas ran down a new road to fund raise.
We had the Worlds Biggest Party Half Marathon this year to bring in those funds. It was held in Springfield MO and we had people come from all over.
People came from Kansas city, Fayetteville and the entire surrounding area of Springfield. It was such an adventure.
We began planning in January and the race was in April…do any of you know how long you are “supposed” to spend planning a marathon?… a year… that’s right a year… and we did it in 4 months. It was crazy and amazing!
We have such an amazing team but mostly two lovely ladies Kylie and Mindy are the ones who really made it all happen. They worked so hard on something that they had no idea what they were really doing but they rocked it.
It was amazing how it all came together in such a short amount of time and how much it exceeded out expectations. We were expecting around 300 hundred runners to sign up for the race and by the morning of the race we had 462 runners! It was incredible!
This marathon was exactly whats it’s title says. It was incredible. Every mile marker there was a party happening, bands, people dressed up as star wars characters fighting with light sabers and all.
There were so many amazing volunteers who made up the party teams. We are so thankful for them and it was such an encouragement to the runners as they reached each mile to have people cheering them on and being silly.
When racers crossed the finish line they walked into a huge party in Jordan Valley park with a DJ, games, a photo booth and even complete with jugglers.
It was beautiful to see all of the runners and their reasons for running the race for some it was simply another marathon to run that supported a good cause, and for others they were running for very specific reasons that were special to their own hearts.
This year’s race was such an incredible success not just for Barnabas but for the runners and most of all our campers that will be coming through our gates this summer and summers to come.
It was a beautiful event and you can expect that I will be talking about it next April and promoting the next race, so if you are a runner look forward to running. If you love to party you can come and be a part of our party teams.
Check out more race pics and Barnabas Foundation information on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/campbarnabas
Check out the Marathon website at www.bigpartymarathon.com
Check out Camp Barnabas information at: www.campbarnabas.org
Photos taken by: Kara Wells, Sara Romans and Sherry Kettner and are the property of Barnabas Foundation.
I was given a great opportunity to bond with my nephews a few weeks ago while my brother and dear sister in law drove off into the sunset… the Colorado sunset… without me…(not bitter).
Due to the fact that I am currently working just one day a week, I was able to watch the boys at their own home which was less stressful for everyone involved.
You are familiar with these two munchkins, you know them as Bear and Bug.
I’m going to give you a short recap of our week spent together.
I arrived on Wednesday evening after working from 8-6:30 pm. Ben and Heidi were supposed to be ready to go when I got there…While BEN finished packing (he hadn’t even started yet), Heidi gave me the run down of schedules, food options, freezer inventory and TV capabilities (they have a ROKU and a PC hooked to the TV, and I am NOT super tech savvy) . They had also decided to become a host family for a sweet girl from Japan, and she was staying with us that first night before heading to a friends for the week.
After getting loaded up and saying goodbye to the boys, they headed out the door, with my brother looking back over his shoulder and proceeding to say “Hey, if it is possible, can you figure out a way for Minami (the exchange student) to talk to her parents? Thanks!”…and out the door they went.
At this point, Minami had not been in the states long enough to know much English, and well, let’s just say that I am less than stellar in Japanese (read: I don’t know ANY Japanese). We smiled at each other and then proceeded to attempt to communicate with each other. 2 hours later we had set her up a Skype account and I put enough money on it for her to talk for a couple of hours…as I am putting the finishing touches on the account (the boys are in bed by this time), she somehow signs and communicates to me that she doesn’t get internet on her phone at which point I take her phone and enter the WIFI password for my brothers internet and her phone proceeds to BLOW UP with messages and missed calls…She hugs me, says ‘Thank You’ and heads to her bedroom to call her parents! WHEW!
It had been a long day, but I still had a blog post due…my CL was a gem and when I told her I ended up working and was babysitting as well, she allowed me a few hours fudge time on my posting! Finishing touches on the blog (and the entire first season of “Hell on Wheels”), and I was in bed by 3 am!
I woke up to a sweet face saying “Hey Sarea Mom!” The boys let me sleep until 7:30 am and that was GREAT! We got up and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Now, let me tell ya, if there are 2 little boys that know what they want for breakfast, it is these two! I attempted oatmeal for Bug, it wasn’t like ‘Mommy’s‘, but he ate it all. Bear was pleased with his scrambled eggs, so we were off to a great start. They are also very much in love with Cutie Oranges…Heidi said if I could limit them to 6 a day I would be doing good! Bug informed me (after he had 2 already) that “If MY Mommy here, I get MORE!”
The next couple days are a blur,as Ethan and I got sick Friday evening and didn’t get off the couches all of Saturday. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my sweet daughter Madison. She fed the boys, bathed them and put them to bed even.
Sunday we headed to Grandma’s house, and you would have thought I told them we were going on a Disney Cruise!! Those boys were geared up and ready to go! Small problem…my car battery was D-E-A-D, Dead! (more on that in my next post).
We finally got to Grandma’s, where they got some good old fashioned loving, and I got a NAP!
Monday Heidi’s mom saved the day by picking up Bear and taking him to therapy,which left us with Bug who enjoyed the one on one attention!
During a phone call with Heidi before they were even out of the state yet, she mentioned to me that “…if Bug was potty trained when we got home, that would make you AWESOME!…” Well, WHO doesn’t want to be awesome? Challenge accepted!
Bug did so great! We put him in ‘big boy underwear’ and after just one accident (sorry about the carpet Heidi), he wasn’t even wet after nap time and was still dry first thing in the morning! We were very proud of him.
Here are a few other ‘funnies’ that are sure to make you smile!
Bear: “Hey wet Sarea!” (as I stood in a towel after just getting out of the shower).
Bear: “She, hello she!”
Madison: “Why do you keep calling me ‘she’?”
Bear: ”Cause your a girl!” (He’s a smart one!)
Bear: (Laying next to me in bed Saturday morning) “You don’t feel good?”
Me: ”No honey, Auntie Rea doesn’t feel good at all.”
Bear: (very enthusiastically) “That’s Okay! You’ll feel better in NO time!”
Me: “Aww, that’s sweet, do you want to hold George for me so he doesn’t get sick?” (as I hand over my beloved teddy bear)
Bear: “Oh MAN, I am SO lucky! Thank you, Thank you Auntie Rea for letting me hold your bunny rabbit!”
Me: “You are welcome, but George is a teddy bear.”
Bear: (Looking at me, and not convinced, even a little bit) “Oh, okay.” (sheepish grin)
Bear: “I want root balls!”
Bear: “ROOT BALLS!”
Me: “Root Beer?”
Bear: (more agitated) “FROOT BALLS!”
Me: “Foot balls?”
Bear: (borderline postal) “I said Froot Bars!”
Me: “Oh, a fruit bar?”
Bear: (big sigh) “Yes”
Me: “Got it, why couldn’t I understand you?”
Bear: “I don’t know, I was speaking English!”
P.S.S. I had some time to reflect on a few things in my life, and some major revelations were made. I will be sharing those in an upcoming blog too, stay tuned!