July 20, 2019 - July 25, 2019| $5,000
The Barbados team arrived this afternoon all safe and sound! It was an easy flight. The team is excited to be there and looking forward to the week ahead. They are settling into the apartment where they will stay. Team members are: Benji Clay, Cindy Raines, Kate Pruett, Laura Wright, Laurie Wible, Madison Clanton, Mark Wible (leader), Michael Brinsko, Thomas Brinsko, and Tyrek Perkins.
Kate brought today’s devotion and did a great job of pointing us to persistence in love through story of The Velveteen Rabbit. Throughout the week we would be worn out, under stress, and tired, and that’s when our true character is displayed. She encouraged us to be ready to present love each day this week. Laura Wright has been doing a great job cooking. We are eating well. After lunch, we team – bonded in a most unusual way. All 10 of us were in the ocean together, bobbing up and down in the waves and sharing life. It was the most unique team bonding experience I’ve ever had. The water was beautiful, just the right temperature, and the weather was great. We stayed in the ocean for about two hours. Afterwards, we went to the school to set up for camps and blow up basketballs. Remember flexibility, right? We got and there was no electricity for our pumps to work to blow up balls. We had to search to find somewhere to air balls (in the meantime we were using handheld pumps). They found a home about 15 minutes a way willing to let us use their service. While we were there, Dean (our host) took 30 balls to a local gas station to air them. Near the end, it began to rain, and what fun it was airing and counting balls in the rain! We came home at dark and had a wonderful chicken spaghetti meal with garlic bread and dump cake for dessert. Our hosts, Dean and Rodny, ate with us. These two are genuine people who really love others and want to serve this community. Afterwards in our debrief, everyone expressed how great it was to meet others in another culture and feel so warm and welcomed. We walked through camp for the next day and at 9:00P everyone went to bed.
Cindy & Laurie brought today’s challenge for us to be real with the kids. Be intentional. Listen to them. Be quick to listen, and slow to speak. Bond with them in their world. After breakfast of pancakes and sausage, the team headed for the court. The first camp was a challenge. It was hot and humid, and we had to make adjustments on the fly. These younger kids were less skilled and had lower stamina. The coaches considered them as blank canvases on which to color with basketball skills. Tomorrow, there will be water breaks every 20 minutes. The ages of the 31 in the morning camp ranged from 4 – 11! Six were under the age of 7, so it was like herding cats. The youngest kids were too small to handle the balls and had no concept of basketball or competitions. So kudos to Laurie & Cindy for being creative and making up their own competitions on the kids’ level. Dean’s camp is 8:00A – 3:00P, and while the younger ones are in HFH camp in the morning, the older ones were out in the cricket pits conditioning in the morning sun for 3 hours. They had a one hour lunch break, but after taking a quick 5 minute break, they were out there playing again. Mark was concerned that these kids were going to be worn out by the time they came to the HFH camp. Dean assured him that the older campers were able to handle it and would surprise him. There were 47 kids ages 12 – 18 in the afternoon camp, and sure enough, they were a surprise. They were intentional, eager to learn, and didn’t slow down one bit. They were great about encouraging each other too. They were very polite and well mannered. Every coach said how much they loved these kids! Then the clouds rolled in and brought a cool break. The rain came crashing down hard, and the kids ran to find shelter. They don’t like the rain. Everyone gathered under a pavilion, standing room only. They continued there with story time and team time, but when the rain stopped, the court was wet and puddles formed. Afternoon camp was over… at 3:25P. We will rest this evening and look forward to another day with the kids tomorrow.
This morning began with Benji challenging the team to stand firm. Yesterday, the kids in the morning camp were unresponsive, and that was discouraging. But the team stood strong and they had good kids in the afternoon. After a delicious breakfast of ham quiche & blueberry muffins, we headed to camp. The kids in the first camp had a much better attitude today. The younger ones had been informed that they were too young for camp, so Cindy & Laurie assisted coaches on two other teams. The 30 kids were placed on 5 teams and it went well. It was hot, but the 10 – 15 mph winds brought in a steady breeze. It was funny to watch the shooting drills. The ball may have left the hands headed straight for the basket, but when the breeze took over, it was anyone’s guess. The kids are getting used to the structure of camp. They are attentive and well behaved. The younger kids are not used to going strong for 3 hours, so at a little over the 2 hour mark, we move into an extended team time. Most of the kids have been exposed to the Gospel, but still ask good questions. Laura provided a great sack lunch of pulled pork sandwiches while we enjoyed the breeze, which continued through the afternoon camp with 50 kids. There was some shade on one court, and some of the gals enjoyed that spot. Benji did crosscourt drills and the kids got into it. They are great at encouraging each other. They worked hard through stations and competitions. Then they played 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 for a few minutes. You have to end with last second hero, and again it was a huge hit. The purple team (second oldest boys) did great. To show how tough these older kids are, they arrive at camp at 9:00A and for 3 hours, they’re in the sun running and conditioning. At noon they play basketball and are made to sit down for 15 minutes and have a quick lunch and rest. Then they pick up the HFH camp from 1:00 – 4:00P. They play hard.
Tyrek started the day off by challenging the team to stand strong and endure. Don’t give up, double up! Quitting is not option. Stand strong, even though it’s hot and you may feel like giving up. Do it for the sake of the kids. The kids were late arriving to the morning camp. They started with 18 campers, and about 30 minutes later the rest showed up. In was an interesting day – hump day. Kids and coaches alike struggled with lethargic bodies. Even though the youngest kids were removed from the camp yesterday, there is still one 5 year old and two 6 year olds. Teams were reorganized to better serve the campers and moving these youngest ones to another team seemed to help. Wednesday is Fun Day. It’s not as structured with stations and drills, and the fun break in the middle of the week is a good plan. Moving team time to about halfway through camp helps as well. Having a 30 minute break to sit and listen and ask questions seemed to perk the kids up. Once they were back on the court, they were all into the relays and games for the remainder of the time. The bottom line is these younger kids like to play, so the coaches made it fun. The team sat in the shade and enjoyed lunch of ham and turkey or peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. The older kids in the afternoon camp had a blast. The break in the middle for team time was welcomed, but they were ready to be back on the court as soon as that was over. We played shooting games and 2 on 2, ran relays and taught them bang ‘em. We ended on knock out, which was the highlight of the camp so far. They loved it! Benji took the whistle in the morning and afternoon camps for mass ball handling and cross court drills and did a good job setting the pace.
After breakfast of quiches, Laura and Madi started us off with encouragement to find rest in the midst of the busyness of the camp. These are secrets to finding rest in the storms:
- Glory soak – take time to enjoy the outdoors
- Gratitude – find something to be grateful for in every situation
- Give – of ourselves
- Worship – through singing
- Word – read
Camp one started slow once again with 18 kids, but they worked hard. About 45 minutes in, we were up to 26. Everything runs on island time. After lunch of burritos, we were back on the court with the older kids. We were up to 53. They worked hard and were eager to improve. And they have improved dramatically. We ended the camp with Money Goal and knockout, and they were over the top excited. Quite fun. We filled out certificates and calculated scores to get ready for camp tomorrow. We are headed home now, tired but rejoicing over our new family. We have been blessed with tremendous meals this week cooked by Laura Wright, so tonight we are giving her the night off and going out to eat dinner. Thanks Laura! We pray that we finish camp well tomorrow. Our hearts have been knit with the people of Barbados.
Wow. Just Wow.
This week culminated in a GREAT day five camp. Thomas started us off this morning with a growth grid, challenging us to see opportunities for growth as we end the camps today. We had French toast and bacon for breakfast, followed by our last trip to the campus of Harrison College. It was impressive to ride past the sign that said, “Founded in 1733.” The first camp started just like the others – 18 kids. About 45 minutes in, here came the other kids, up to 26. We switched up camp and did away with contests. This is the first time kids have not wanted to do contests. We replaced them with games; around the world, full court shooting, and a variety of other first time ever games at a HFH camp. They were a hit. Some of the more reserved kids got a chance to be stars and it was really fun. We handed out balls, medals and certificates and the faces of the kids were priceless when they got their rewards for a hard week’s work. Lunch on the grounds has been a hit all week and we finished with pimento cheese sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly. The last camp began with an energy that had not been there before. Everything went so well that when it began to rain, the kids did not run off the court but wanted to keep going. And we had a HFH camp first – Musical Basketball. I had a whim and just made the decision to try it — oh my goodness, it almost brought the house down. The kids loved it. We ended talking about “I have a power,” the power to forgive and overcome temptation. We were open about these topics and that led to some great conversations. When we handed out the awards, the kids were so thankful. Many asked for our autographs on the certificates and on T – shirts. Dean told us that in Barbadian culture, you have to either be very famous (a pro NBA player) or highly respected (someone who has deep meaning to another) to be asked to sign something. So he was blown away that they wanted our autographs.
It has been a fantastic week
Dean and his team have been incredible. We feel loved and blessed. Tomorrow is our down day – some will go sailing and some will just hang out at the beach. But it will be well deserved down time. Thanks for partnering with us in the wonderful venture.