Timberline Church has been hosting Royal Family KIDS (RFK) camps since 2016, serving children in Larimer and Weld County. It has been Timberline’s intention for the last seven years to support RFK’s efforts in cultivating an environment of love and acceptance for children in the local foster care system. Through the hard work, dedication, and passion for these children, the RFK Timberline sector has created something worth recognizing.
At the end of August, Pastor Darell Hailey, along with the incredible Royal Family KIDS staff, received an award from the Larimer County Department of Human Services (LCDHS) for their extraordinary work with their annual Royal Family KIDS camp. In speaking to Angela Mead, Deputy Division Manager of LCDHS, some of the considerations that set Timberline Church apart for this recognition mentioned were the sheer number of children served at the camp, the way in which the staff served and the amount of volunteers who help make it all happen, and the unconditional love they show each child that comes to camp.
Angela Mead expanded on the scope of impact and work that goes into RFK at the official proclamation of the award in front of Larimer County saying, “It takes at least 100 volunteers to run this camp. Since the inception [of Timberline’s Royal Family Kids camp], over 400 volunteers have dedicated their time, talent, encouragement, and support for kids in foster care. Some of the volunteers even take a vacation from their work to help run the camps. The support of foster kids doesn’t end after the five-day camp. It continues with additional support throughout the year until the next camp.”
For a week each summer, children in the foster care system can be enrolled in the camp where they spend several days building relationships with mentors and volunteers who are there to serve and connect with them. With children attending the camp coming from different backgrounds and histories, each volunteer at the camp is passionate and equipped to meet the children where they are at and give them a week to remember. Timberline Church’s RFK program is the first to receive this award from LCDHS.
Through Timberline’s RFK camp, several foster children have gone through as campers and moved on to become mentees in the mentorship program. Adult mentors are able to continue to support other foster care kids ages 13 to 17 who have aged out of the camp.
Pastor Darell Hailey commented on the importance of the mentorship program, saying, “It’s absolutely vital our kiddos have a continuation of care into their teen years by loving, adult followers of Christ!”
As a department, LCDHS has long seen the importance of organizations that give back to the foster care community, which is the reason they decided to implement this award. To put into perspective the urgency and passion for this initiative from the county, there were 391,000 children placed in foster care in 2022 — 6,953 in Colorado as a whole, and 658 were placed in out-of-home care, foster care, or kinship care in Northern Colorado alone (according to statistics provided by LCDHS).
This recognition in particular is intended to be awarded to a Larimer County community agency that goes above and beyond in their service to children in foster care. With this being the first recognition of its kind from the county, the hope is that this encourages other community organizations to come alongside the necessary efforts to positively impact foster kids in Northern Colorado. LCDHS hopes to cultivate stronger relationships with community partners and show inclusivity and recognition.
Along with LCDHS, Timberline Church hopes the community sees how imperative it is to support foster care initiatives and organizations and is prayerful that other organizations will join in these efforts to positively impact our local foster care children.