Summer camp helps to change lives of foster kids

FRAZIER PARK, Calif. - Every summer many kids in Kern County flock to camps, but for a certain group of kids, a week in the mountains is their only escape from a difficult life.

The camp is called Royal Family Kids Camp, and it takes place in Frazier Mountain. Nestled in the mountains above Bakersfield, foster kids get to make memories and moments away from their everyday life they would rather forget.

"Every time you come to camp your heart breaks for what these kids have been through," said camp director Kirstie Ruud.

Every year dozens of volunteers put their lives on hold for the opportunity to build into these kids what years in the foster care system has stripped away.

Since leaving camp last year, Isaac has moved from more than 15 homes. Camp counselor Russ Unruh says that hasn't broken Isaac's spirit.

"I think the first thing that somebody might think is that he's a bad kid, that nobody wants him," said Unruh. "He's a great kid, he needs to feel like somebody cares, somebody loves him and wants to nurture the goodness in him."

Many admit that it's not easy to deal with more than 1,600 kids in Kern County living in foster care, and more than 40 cases of abuse and neglect reported each day. Many will say that finding hope within the system can be a difficult thing.

This reality is what keeps camp counselor Jannessie Barajas coming back to camp year after year.

"I just had to reach out and say 'continue loving each other, protect each other, be there for each other,'" said Barajas. "There's nobody else out there protecting them, nobody else loving on them, all they have is each other."

Camp counselors can all agree that the whole week is really about teaching these kids to be kids again.

If you would like to donate or learn how to sign up for the camp, click here .

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