Two Thousand Nine has been one of the most incredible years throughout the US with all the Kicking Bear events thus far. At every event there have been hundreds of kids attending who have found new dreams in the outdoors through mentors. There are so many great people involved with the Kicking Bear organization who are doing it for the right reasons. These people have no interest in greed or self promotion-it’s all about the kids which leads us to just one of the many Kicking Bear camp stories, this one in Ohio. (To learn more, please visit: Kicking Bear )
Five hundred plus five hundred-what does math have to do with Kicking Bear? If you were fortunate enough to attend the event held at the Deerassic Whitetail Education Center in Cambridge, OH on June 26th and 27th, you’d know the answer. Almost 1000 people were pre-registered for this FREE event and they took part in the largest marshmallow fight ever which was filmed for the Guinness Book of Records!
All during registration Friday afternoon until dark, a huge cloud of dust loomed over the pavilion trailing all the way back to the entrance of Deerassic as vehicle after vehicle drove to the camping and parking areas. Four people helped with registration which kept the lines flowing quite smoothly. After registering, the kids picked up their free hats and T-shirts at another station where three other volunteers stood by to locate sizes and distribute these items.
Curt and Judy Lewis from Hudson, Ohio volunteered to make Kicking Bear buttons for this year’s event. They got all the equipment and pressed out enough buttons for each kid to take one home. They also came up with the idea of having a button design contest and any of the kids who were interested could take part. All the necessary supplies were furnished and the kids genuinely took pleasure in creating their masterpiece! The winner would be announced on Saturday after the 3-D shoot.
Feeding time for 1000 as the kids fill up.
We attempted something new this year due to the large number of people attending by using four different colors to mark people’s hands so that we didn’t have everyone showing up to eat at the same time. However, this didn’t prove to be practical because many of the people had pitched their tents or parked their campers too far away from the pavilion and couldn’t hear the call to eat for their particular color. We promptly dropped this idea and let people line up as they arrived. They were served a scrumptious meal which included hamburgers, hotdogs, salad, fruit, cookies, and drinks. This was food for only 1000 people which looked like enough to feed an army; it must have been an amazing sight to see Jesus and his disciples feed 5,000+ with only 2 small fish and 5 loaves of bread! Matt. 14:13-21
The ancient Atlatl is given a try.
The kids get to enjoy canoeing on the pond.
Supervision is vital and for this young lady it’s shooting a BB Gun safely.
Between registration and supper, there were many games to keep the kids busy including kickball, atlatl, football, hay rides, gunny sack races, hula hooping, and bean bag toss. The little kids especially enjoyed throwing the bean bags to the delight of their parents. There was also catch and release fishing and canoeing which were both fun for all. After supper there were more games which included having a record number of people on a tug-of-war rope and hundreds of people being involved in a water balloon toss.
Ray was the “target” of many balloons which, of course, was all in fun. Games continued into the wee hours of the morning with parents and kids laughing and cheering during the wheelbarrow race and the piggy back race. It’s a rare and wonderful sight to see kids and their parents/mentors having so much fun playing these simple old-fashioned games! As a matter of fact, they were all having so much fun that many of the games continued until 4:00 AM!
Look Dad, I caught one!
At first glance, this camp looked to be a real challenge. Looking out over the multitude of people, Ray said, “I thought to myself about how David must have felt when he went out to face Goliath”. It was David’s love for the Lord that gave him the confidence to pick up the five smooth stones from the stream to face this incredible challenge. So Ray walked into the woods, knelt down, and prayed to God to have Him place His hand on his shoulder and on those of the volunteers. Goliath’s come into our lives in many different shapes and forms. A Goliath can be any challenge you’re currently facing. After returning, Ray felt reassured and exhilarated to know that this event was in the Lord’s hands! Over 500 kids on a 3-D course! This has never happened before.
A table of Diamonds compliments of Diamond by BowTech.
Following the mandatory safety meeting, kids were organized into groups of 5-7, each group having at least one mentor to keep them safe and on track. For the most part, kids were lined up according to height/age in order to obtain their bows to shoot the 3-D archery course where 56 targets had been strategically placed throughout the park.
Shooting bows and arrows was a highlight for these youngsters.
The little kids especially, enjoyed shooting the new Diamond Nuclear Ice bows by BowTech. No matter what their size, the Diamond bows worked great for everyone. Throughout the morning, you could hear cheers and squeals of delight as the kids hit the targets and lots of laughter too because they were all having so much fun!
Following the 3-D shoot, everyone was treated to a delicious pizza lunch! Can you imagine the number of pizzas it takes to feed over 1000 people? There was also lots of fruit, soda, juice, and lots of water to wash everything down. There’s a lot of planning that goes into the meals and the staff at Deerassic and all the volunteers are to be commended for how well they handled such a large group of people. There were many who wanted to continue shooting the 3-D course after lunch so off they went while the rest of the kids got into another exciting game of kickball which seems to be the un-official game of Kicking Bear. Somehow it just seems fitting.
Giving it everything they had in the rope pull.
By the middle of the afternoon, it was time to call everyone into the big pavilion where the prizes would be handed out to kids and mentors alike; where Ray would share his testimony and tell about the true meaning of Kicking Bear; and where the button contest winner would be announced. It was a time to “chill out”, relax and reflect on what had transpired during the course of this Kicking Bear event. As a follow up to this camp and to all of the Kicking Bear camps, mentors will be taking groups of youth on hunting and fishing trips this fall and next spring.
Ray and Karen pose with the Kicking Bear Mascot ‘Kaboo’.
It’s the middle of summer and there are still numerous Kicking Bear events scheduled throughout the United States. Kicking Bear is truly the Lord’s Program. It reaches out to so many to help change their lives-not only to change a kid’s life, but to give hope to the parents, who attend, to know in their hearts that their kids are now on the right path.