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2 min read

UGM Camp: Kids Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Abuse, and Addiction

Every summer, UGM partners with local churches to invite at-risk children from Spokane's low-income neighborhoods to enjoy a week at UGM's riverside campground in Ford, WA. Each week-long camp experience is completely free of charge for the children and their families, paid for entirely by local donors.

This year, more than 300 kids got to attend, 178 gave their lives to Christ, and all had a connection with a local church where they now have access to year-round services, gospel teaching, and the opportunity to see beyond the poverty, abuse, and addiction that so often impact their lives. Eight years ago, Sakyah was one of those children.Sakyah came from a broken home. “I was in a very rough environment when I was younger,” she says. “There was a lot going on.”

297738527_581894926852402_3151078815712418866_nGetting invited to UGM Camp changed Sakyah’s life forever. She came as a camper starting in second grade. From day one, she felt safe and loved. She says she experienced God's love through His people and wanted desperately to come again the following year, and the following year... She brought her sisters along a couple times, and when she became too old to attend as a camper, she returned as a member of the Work Crew. Then, when she entered high school, she returned again as a counselor. 2022 was her second year as a counselor and her eighth consecutive year at UGM Camp. 


Camp staff asked her what she loves about the Camp environment and being a counselor. “I really got to know everyone when I was a camper. We got to know each other on a personal level, and it was just really amazing seeing how when I was a camper, my counselors made a big impact on me, so I just wanted to also make a big impact on campers.”

“…My counselors made a big impact on me,

so I just wanted to also make a big impact

on campers.” Sakyah, UGM Camp counselor

 

The greatest change for Sakyah and her family has been the gift of a relationship with Jesus. “I never really had a relationship up until I started going to Camp. It showed me what He was and everything He can do. I definitely think that Camp has given me more hope. I know when things are hard that God is there and He’s going to help us fix the problem.” Today, her life has mostly stabilized. Her home is safe and she lives with her grandparents, her aunt, her cousins, and her sisters. 

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This year at Camp, Sakyah and her co-counselor Kristen were given the “tough cabin”, a group of 6th grade girls who did not want to participate in group activities. “I know the kind of homes they come from, and the eye-rolling, the flat out not listening to you… I find, as I’m still close to their age, I remember what it’s like.” She and Kristen were patient with the girls, giving them a lot of attention, but also a lot of boundaries and expectations. Sakyah said, “By Thursday, they all didn’t want to go home. The Holy Spirit was chipping away at their hearts.” She's excited to engage with these girls through UGM’s You Club at their school and through programs at her church.

 

That's what we love about UGM Camp: that the kids get these intimate connections with people like Sakyah who understand their needs and are truly invested for the long haul. These girls (and boys!) are receiving the gift of new hope and a better life because of connections built at UGM. Breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse, and addiction often stops homelessness before it even begins. 2L7A1887

You can be a part of bringing hope into the homes of Spokane's at-risk youth: Sponsor a 2023 Camper now.

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