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I will admit that my first fear with some of these smaller
inspirational films is the quality of the acting. Let's face it. I
pretty much hid my face in embarrassment during the first 20 minutes of
Facing the Giants because the acting was so bad. (Though the movie
redeemed itself in the end.) So I was relieved when I realized the
acting was good, great in some cases. Miles Elliot shines as Eli and
lets you peek into his vulnerability in between moments of spitting and
running. Asante Jones kills it as veteran camp counselor Sam. And
Matthew Jacob Wayne as the alien-obsessed Redford
well he's adorable.
I found myself smiling through the first 1:30 minutes of the film, not because the film is always happy, but because it's REAL. Through my own experience with adopted kids and my conversations with other mom's, every bit of this film is honest, yet filled with hope. Though the first 5 minutes of the film deal with Eli's dark family situation, the rest of the film layers on the joy and hope that the camp counselors are determined to pour into the kids during the short week at camp.
Hollywood loves to entertain us. But Camp does more than entertain it inspires. It beautifully illustrates the huge impact the small sacrifice of a weeks time can make in the life of a child in foster care.
I hope this movie inspires thousands of adults to realize what a big difference they can make by just giving up one week of their summer to spend at CAMP.
Moving... Powerful... Real...
Three words I would use to describe the movie Camp!
I had the opportunity to screen the movie Camp and was asked to review it. I promise you if you watch Camp a few things will happen.
You will laugh
You will cry
You will be moved
You will be motivated
You will want to help a child in need
It is very possible you will never be the same!
Camp is inspired by real stories and events. Camp shares the story of Eli a child who has been badly abused and is in foster care. His father is incarcerated and his mother is dead. Eli attends a camp for foster kids for one week. He is matched with Ken, a camp counselor, who is more focused on his fancy car and career than he is on helping kids. As the movie unfolds we get to see how a week at camp can change both of their lives forever.
What I appreciated most about this movie was how real it is. Often children in foster care are portrayed very inaccurately. I felt like the writers did a fabulous job showing the uniqueness of each of the children in the movie. I also was impressed with how the writers showed the causes behind the behaviors of the kids. Kids aren't usually "bad" for no reason. It was nice to finally see a film that showed that often those behaviors are a way for a child to remain safe, survive, and cope under very difficult circumstances. I felt like the writing really allowed the unique personalities of the kids to shine. I particularly adored a little girl in the film who couldn't ride a bike, someone had told her she was too fat to ride. We all know I can't ride a bike to save my soul. I told Ray after that part that we needed to find her and adopt her!
If we weren't already completing our foster care licensing I would be making the call today to get started! My hope is that Camp will touch the hearts of people watching and motivate more people to foster. There is a line in the movie that I will end with.
"He is testing you. To see if you give a damn, because no one else does."
I promise I do!
Please take the time to go see Camp in the theater.
For the past five years, I have had the privilege of serving as a counselor at the camp on which this movie is based. It is the most emotionally exhausting, physically draining, spiritually challenging week a person could experience in their lives. It is an awesome blessing to work at Royal Family Kids Camp and have kids change your life. The movie takes a couple of artistic liberties with Royal Family Kids Camp rules (The most important rule at camp is that a child is never alone with an adult. There are always two adults within sight of each other), but that's understandable from a cinematic point of view. The real point is that you see how a foster kid can impact you in the five days you think you are impacting them. This movie shows that in a great way. The main character finds his life changed and finds that those who are most difficult to love are often those who need love the most. This is a great lesson for life and how we interact with other people.
Just saw this at the local AMC. After seeing the write up, I knew it
would be a sad movie, I just didn't expect this.
It's sad to know that there are kids out there that actually have life this rough, but knowing that there are people out there that are working to help these kids experience at least a week of joy is good to know.
This was a great movie, although the religious theme does come across as a bit much at points, but it doesn't detract from an otherwise good film.
If you're in the mood for a heartfelt drama with some light comedy and a lot of heart, go see this film. Definitely picking this up on DVD.
What an amazing film! The Director did an amazing job at clearly expressing the the tender yet life changing emotions at Camp. This movie will take a hold of your heart and place you into the world of foster kids and what goes on in their lives daily. You will also find yourself cheering and wiping away tears as you travel through the emotions of the movie! All of the actors and actresses should be praised and thanked for there absolute dedication to their role. However Miles Elliot stood out most to me. He played his role with such maturity and sincerity! I can see many more movies in the making for this kid! Finally go out and support the children of your community and see this movie! It will change thousands of lives including yours!
Recently I was given the opportunity to preview the upcoming movie
CAMP. I remembered seeing the clips for it a few months back. Little
did I know this movie would hit so close to home in 2013 as we are
thick in the middle of foster care training.
If I had to sum up this movie in one sentence it would be this:
REAL HEARTS having experienced REAL PAIN needing REAL HOPE.
CAMP is an one week outreach to children living in the foster care system. The goal is to just embrace these kids and help them to have a good week - experience a small reprieve and normalcy. Each camper is paired with a camp counselor. None of the matches are by mistake.
In the first moments of the movie you realize this is no feel-good movie. The writers have given voice to some amazing kids wading through unimaginable realities. They come from a broad range of homes where parents were imprisoned, enslaved to addictions, and children neglected. But they're REAL KIDS. They are in need of someone to CARE.
You will be exposed to tiny glimpses into the hard realities that many kids in foster care face. You NEED to see. This is REALITY for thousands of kids growing up in our communities. I was reminded that these kids are worth all the obstacles it takes to care for them. It made me feel even stronger in our conviction to SAY YES and step up to foster.
By about half way through the movie I wanted to give Ken, one of the counselors, a good 'ole shake up. He comes across as an absolute jerk. About the time I could hardly take any more of his cellphone obsession and lack of compassion for his camper, Eli .... I realized that in reality my heart was being just as hard. There were reasons he responded the way he did. His demeanor was just a thick callous attempting to cover his own deep pain. Eventually this special duo learned more about each others lives and both were forever changed. Ken truly learned what it meant to CARE. Eli got to experience what it's like to be cared for.
One of my favorite parts of the movie was hearing testimonies of two of the counselors and why they were there ... because a long time ago someone stepped up to CARE for them.
Find out where CAMP is coming! If it's in your area - GO SEE IT. You'll be changed for the good and inspired to step out of your comfort zone and CARE.
Remember - this isn't just a movie. The stories represented are REAL.
It's about REAL HEARTS having experienced REAL PAIN needing REAL HOPE.
We can be part of sharing that REAL HOPE. It's just a question if we'll CARE enough to do so.
Films of this category are often a complete hit or miss with me. They
can be so saccharine and cheesy that the work is unwatchable. On the
other hand, if handled with actual understanding, the film can be
something truly different--if, of course, cinematography, soundtrack,
and acting hold up as well. Most, however, fall into the middle ground:
we know how it will end, we can guess the romantic subplot a mile away,
and we know the trials and tribulations of these characters will
eventually pay off. You read the description and know exactly what
you're about to watch. Not necessarily bad, but doesn't give you much
Personally, I think Camp falls into that middle ground. The kid has flaws, a nice change from the syrupy sweet orphan trope. But it's not exactly new either. We've see the guy whose mind is on money (and often women) bond with a troubled kid. It's a concept that has a great amount of potential, but there should be a couple added layers to tell it apart from the bunch. This film just doesn't have that.
Its soundtrack is generic, the acting swivels between awkward and sincere, and the script is a bit lacking. It was difficult to become fully immersed. The camp site is actually very pretty, and I think the film would have benefited from more nature shots.
Lastly, I started this not knowing it had a tinge of Christianity. Strangely, it doesn't feel like it belongs. There is very little focus on it throughout the film. It pops up from time to time, usually in a one-on-one conservation, but feels very distant from the plot. Clip it away and nothing changes. Mostly it induced an eye roll. On a brighter side, it never goes full-on "God is joyous and miraculous!" on the viewer (though is dangerously close) if only because another character is skeptical about it.
I have had the privilege of being involved in the camp for foster
children of which this film was inspired. Although there are three
cleverly intertwining plot lines in the film, many true and typical
events are in the characters' stories. It is definitely inspired by
real life. I felt that it was a good depiction of what happens at this
unique summer camp - the growing awareness we as volunteers have of the
disadvantages and trauma this population of children experiences and
the incredible hope that is brought to these children through a week at
camp. This film may not be what you expect, but I feel it is real life.
Although there is pain (and pride) in the characters' stories, there is
also redemption and hope. There are actually only a couple violent
scenes in the film which give it its rating, if that is a viewer's
concern, but they are necessary to tell the story and depict the
reality of what these children in our own communities experience, the
environments that are "normal" for them, and how they react as they try
to cope in this world, which can sometimes be shocking to us. Although
the film and its themes may cause tears, the film also brings laughter
and most importantly, thought. It may even motivate you to get involved
and make a difference in the world yourself.
If you think you may want to volunteer at a camp like this search online for one in your area, but don't worry, they will train you so you can be a better counselor than Ken was.
Aside from the fact that the camp redemption theme is older than video itself, the introduction of religious claptrap into what may have otherwise been a decent film ruined it. The kids at this camp had problems, and introducing God, imaginary friends, and prayer ends up substituting a mental illness for their original problems. What could have been an uplifting and inspiring movie was further ruined by the complete lack of respect shown by the staff toward the children. The typical, religious, baby-voiced condescension was nauseating to observe. Hopefully, camps such as this are in short supply in the real world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the opportunity to preview the movie CAMP the other night.
Because it has a few scenes with adult language and content (physical
child abuse and reference to sexual abuse) I watched it alone. But once
it was over, I wished that I had watched it with my husband and two
older boys (10 years and 8 years). I will definitely let them see it in
the theater due to the positive message they will take away along with
providing a good foundation for discussing the heavier themes. Even
though the kids in the film were actors, the horrors their characters
have lived through are real.
Inspired by true events that have happened through the years of Royal Family KIDS, the foster children that get to come to these camps are vulnerable and broken. Each year counselors from local churches volunteer a week of their time to mentor foster children through this non-profit organization started by a couple whom I have the privilege of personally knowing, Wayne and Diane Tesch. I remember sitting in a church service in Orange County, CA back in 1985 (yep, that would make me 7 years old) and listening to Wayne tell the story of the starfish, and how we might be unable to rescue every single child from pain, but we can make a difference in at least one.
A seed was planted that Sunday morning which eventually led to my husband and I becoming certified foster parents, and as a result the adoption of 2 of our 6 children.
In CAMP, we meet a little boy named Eli who has already experienced his fair share of pain and trauma. He is new to the foster system and acts out based on the survival skills he has had to learn just to make it in life. No child should ever be as street smart as Eli was. Same story for the other precious children that you will meet in CAMP. Their behavior is unique, yet completely makes sense as their individual stories unfold.
Eli is paired with reluctant and first time counselor Ken, who is not at all familiar with children in crisis (or children at all for that matter). Ken signed up to work at camp in hopes of completing a business deal, while at the same time Eli is thrust into an environment in which he has never been exposed to either. These two newbies are forced to work together and have fun. Even though Eli exhibits raunchy behavior, the movie opens with his back-story that explains his poor choices due to neglect and pain. It causes the watcher to root for this little guy from the beginning because you understand right away that in this world of 'pretty people', he has the odds stacked against him mightily.
In one of the closing scenes Ken reflects back on the week, and how it is now time to go back to real life. One of my favorite lines from the movie is in this scene as he makes the observation based on his experience,
now I feel like my whole life is fake and camp is real.
It is true that for children living in crisis, one week will not erase the horrors they have suffered in such a short time. But it can provide hope to a child who has none. And love to another who has never felt it before.
I encourage you to seek out a theater that is showing CAMP, and if it is not showing near you, ask them to bring it! Please forward this post, or click below to SHARE it on your social media sites.
*Warning* Watching CAMP will increase your compassion sensors as you will experience the results of pain and neglect through the eyes of an innocent child. If you feel called to be a counselor for a RFKC in your area, please look into what you need to do to make that happen. In extreme cases, you may have the desire to look into foster care or adoption. In that case, pray before you tell your husband. ;) And message me if you want any information about either of those things!
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Camp opens in theaters across the nation this month. Click here to see if it is showing near you.
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