Summer Camp A Refuge For Kids

“My name is Yulia Mazhova, I am the summer camp director, and I approve this message.”

Yulia laughs and I love her genuine smile and sense of humor. Yulia is our MP Ukraine summer camp Czar. As a good leader she is quick to laugh but doesn’t forget the task at hand.

“I work mainly with organizing our camp ministries and overseeing the Student Scholarship program. I love working with the creative team we have in our office,” she says smiling.

Yulia looks over at co-workers Kolya and Yana sitting in the cramped 700 sq foot MP office. Kolya used to be a sponsored child with a bleak future. Today he is a loving father of two kids and serving the Lord. He is calm and quiet, loves living in a village, and teaches computer skills to orphans two days a week. He is the I.T. guy that runs our network and keeps the camps alive with videos, sound boards, and microphones.

Yulia continues: “This summer we will organize two summer camps in July and August. That means that we plan the activities and ministry themes, train the counselors, arrange bus transportation for the kids, and of course, work with the American team. I also deal with the camp manager in regards to housing, meals, schedules and problems that arise.”

MP will have 100 kids in each of our two Kiev area summer camps. In addition, kids in our child sponsorship program will attend Christian summer camps in the regions where they live. A large part of the child sponsorship ministry involves providing a Christian camp experience for these at-risk kids.

“Yulia,” I asked, “why are you so positive about doing these summer camps?”

“Well, I believe in doing camps for children because I know their conditions at home. So many kids are coming from broken families and they need the connections they find at camp. The kids experience God’s love and then they must go home to difficulties. We must give them a time in their life when they can just be kids and really experience the love of Jesus.”

“Why do these kids keep coming back?” I asked.

“The younger kids miss their mother, but they don’t miss the fear and problems at home. Here they can forget about the pressure at home and just make new friends, have fun, and sing songs. And, they get to see Americans and be part of their team. That is pretty special for them!”

Yulia continues: “Jeff, many of the kids come back because they see that counselors love them and stay in touch with them. Our counselors were former children in the camp. They go through training and have become strong believers. These camps are making strong Christians. The counselors and the kids all love being here.”