A Week I’ll Never Forget

So I don’t really know where to start or how to start telling you about my experience going to YoungLives Lost Canyon camp. But here goes nothing…

It started two years ago. Myrna would constantly ask me, “Are you going to camp this year?”. I would say, “Yeah definitely. I’ll be there.” But every time something would happen, honestly. Jesse would get sick cause he has asthma and it’s easier for them to attract bacteria. So that happened the first time. The second time I was pregnant and I was so not up to being on a bus for a long time surrounded by a lot of people. But that was the second time. And finally the third time around came. Myrna’s asking me, “Amber are you going to go to camp this year?” And I said, “Yes!” But honestly in my head I was thinking ‘I don’t know’.

I filled out the packet, helped out at the Pancake Breakfast and next thing you know, I’m packed and ready to go to camp. But I was still thinking ‘I don’t know if I really wanna go still’. And then the next day my alarm is going off at 5:30am and it’s time to get up and go to camp. The feeling of waking up and knowing you’re leaving home for a week to go to Arizona for camp is a little scary at first and exciting too. But once I got to the bus and started loading up, everything kinda fell into place and I know that was where I was supposed to be. And we were off to camp!

The ride there wasn’t half bad. And once we got there, it was just so amazing and beautiful. The people there were just welcoming! They had warm filled arms and love ready to spread to me and my babies.

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The things that go on at camp are things I will never be able to forget. The things I will never be able to forget and things that will sit in my heart for eternity are:

-The lovely ladies that took wonderful care of my loves (boys). They loved my children and took great care of them. If I had a question about how things went or if things were missing or anything I needed, they had an answer and if they didn’t know, they would find out. My sons were in different rooms for childcare because of their ages. But I just want to tell you about Rafa’s green room ladies. They loved Rafa so much! Every time I’d drop him off they would fight over who gets to care for him that day. They also made a theme song for him. It is the song “Happy” but some words were switched up and they put his name in it. It broke my heart to leave those lovely ladies. I will miss them and their love for Rafa.

-Our first night at camp we had club and during club they had a game to start it off and I was chosen for the game. I was like “Seriously?? No. No. No!” But I went up and did the game and I almost won! I was one of the two last girls standing. It was so fun. It was cool. I won’t forget that night.

There were also moments when I cried. I became closer to God and the leaders and the other girls. I am so glad I became closer to Karime, Georgina, Adii and Kimberly – girls I never even thought of talking to. I can truly tell you now I have love for these girls. And Cheridan and I have become closer and built a stronger bond.

I can’t forget about the leaders:

-I want to start off with Myrna –  I just want to thank you for pushing me to go to camp and constantly asking me to go. I want to thank you because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the wonders and amazing feelings I got to feel at camp. Thank you!

-Next is Bri! Bri – you have just been the most amazing leader ever listening to me rant on a bunch of different things and giving me your advice and confidence and opinion on the topics we talked about.

-Kylie – I am so happy you went to camp! I’m glad I got to know you and you got to know me on a deeper level and not be judged. Thank you!

-Kim and Jim – Thank you for taking time out of your week to video and photograph all of the beautiful moments at camp. And thank you for becoming the grandparents to our children. It’s the best thing in the world to know there are more than just yourself that care for our children.

All I have to say now is that the last couple of nights at camp were the best nights. These were the nights I’ll remember and the nights where everything changed in my heart. Thank you everyone for making it possible for me and my boys to go to camp this year.

I love you guys and I this is motivating for those of you who haven’t gone to camp yet. You will never regret going to camp.

Signing off Amber Robinson, Jesse, and Raphiel

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Our Week at Summer Camp

BusGeorginaI just got back from my 4th year at Lost Canyon Camp in Arizona and once again I am blown away at the way that God works. The first time I went to camp, I went as a guest with my husband, Yousef. We were just starting up YoungLives in Orange County and we wanted to check out what camp was all about before taking girls the following year. As we watched cars, vans, and busses of girls arrive that first year I remember watching with tear-filled eyes, praying that someday I could come back with some of the young mamas that I had left back at home.

We have now taken 3 trips to Lost Canyon for summer camp and each year is different and more amazing in its own way. Being pregnant, I was worried that this year would be the hardest one yet for me but surprisingly it wasn’t. We took a group of 7 girls, 8 of their children, 3 leaders, 3 childcare volunteers and 2 committee members came as guests! By the end of the week we all felt like family!

MessyGamesThe first few days of camp are super fast paced and the girls had a blast despite having to stay up until midnight several nights to bathe their children, shower, re-wash and prep bottles for the following day, pack diaper bags, and put their kiddos to sleep. These ladies are incredible! Kylie and Bri were amazing leaders. They jumped in to rock babies, clean up vomit, talk to a mom, and troubleshoot whenever needed. I was so blessed by their servant hearts and the way they loved on each of the girls throughout the week.

_MG_1883Kim and Jim, two of our committee members and two of the busiest people I know, took the time to spend the full week at camp with us as guests! To the girls and babies it felt like they had loving grandparents there to cheer them on throughout the week. They attended all of the events and photographed and filmed pretty much every waking moment! As the week progressed we got to hear the Gospel message at our daily club meetings and then engage in a discussion back in our cabin. Each year I am blown away at how God begins to work in each person’s heart – He steps in and speaks, heals, renews, and strengthens in a way that is just right for each girl, each past, each story. This year was no exception. We talked, watched, prayed, and listened as the girls grew closer to God or had an encounter with Him for the first time. I am so grateful that Kim and Jim were able to capture some of the girls’ stories and thoughts on film throughout the week and I look forward to sharing some of them with you in the near future.

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I had an exciting personal moment at camp when I felt Baby Elijah kick during the first club talk. At the end of the week Yousef and I were taking this “pregnancy pic” when the girls decided to jump in. I can’t help but smile when I think of the experiences our little one has had already. I pray that he will grow to know the Lord and experience Him in ways like these girls have this week.

Thank you to everyone that prayed for us and contributed financially to make this trip possible- it has made an eternal impact.

-Myrna

The Last Day

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The campers and volunteers had a relaxing last, but full day at camp! The girls were able to go horseback riding again and they were pampered at spa day. The night (and week) concluded with a fancy dinner.

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Thank you for partnering with us in prayer this week! It truly was a life-changing week in so many ways. We are grateful that you have stood with us, covering us in prayer. We would appreciate your continued prayers as we make the long trip home today – prayers for smooth travels, energy for tired mamas and rest for the babies on the bus. We can’t wait to tell you more about camp in the days and weeks ahead.

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”
Philippians 1:3-6 (The Message)

Leaps of Faith

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Not only did the girls take some huge leaps while engaging in camp activities yesterday, but they took some equally large leaps of faith in their walk with God. I hope we get to tell you more about it when we get home!

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Ropes Course and Square Dancing!

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The campers started day 3 by facing the challenge of the ropes course at 6a! What a way to start the day! Throughout the rest of the day, they played messy games together and walls were broken down as girls accomplished challenges they never thought possible.

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It’s always amazing to see what God will help us do when we step outside of our comfort zone and have space to hear His voice! It’s no coincidence that the physical challenges at camp are a parallel to the everyday challenges of life. And having success at new physical challenges can give us strength that we didn’t know we had to face life with a renewed sense of joy and determination.


“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength!”

~Philippians 4:13

camp2Our day enjoyed with lots of fun and laughter at a country western dinner and the opportunity to learn how to square dance!

We appreciate your prayers as our days are long and full, but we clearly see God moving in the lives of these girls. And so far, it has been the best week of their lives…and we are only 3 days in!

Unity Games and Horseback Riding

The North Orange County YoungLives Minnie Mouse Team

The “Minnie Mouse” Team

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Horseback Riding

We had a great 2nd day at camp! Each year we play “unity games” – each YoungLives area dresses up in matching costumes to play games against other teams. This year we dressed up as Minnie Mouse and the girls had a blast!  Today we also rode horses, for some of the girls, it was their first time riding! The girls also enjoyed free time with their babies and everyone especially had fun going down the water slide! We are having a great time and everyone is growing closer. Thank you for your prayers – we feel them!

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Amber – Cheridan – Karime – Adii

A Warm Welcome!

Our campers, babies and volunteers arrived safely last night and were warmly greeted at the Lost Canyon bus depot! We jumped right into camp with a VERY full night – dinner, club, cabin time and a late night obstacle course! After a good night’s rest, everyone is ready for a fun second day of camp!

The campers arrive!

The campers arrive!

Volunteers cheering and clapping as moms and babies get off the bus.

Volunteers cheering and clapping as moms and babies get off the bus.

Volunteers were eager to hug and love on the babies!

Volunteers were eager to hug and love on the babies!

Beans for Babies!

Kingdom Blend Coffee
“The coffee that reminds you to pray each morning”

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Ed Orem serving coffee

We had so much fun serving YoungLives “Beans for Babies” organic coffee and lending our support toward sending teen moms and their babies to summer camp. Events like Pancakes in the Park, which raise awareness and support, are 2 of the 3 main reasons that Kingdom Blend Coffee came about. The third vision of Kingdom Blend coffee is to help remind people, every day, to pray for YoungLives and all the teen moms, teen dads and their babies.

Pray without ceasing!” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

We can get so busy each day that sometimes we forget to pray for the people and ministries that God has led us to support. Yes we support with our giving and/or volunteering which are both great ways to help, but we feel that adding just a little bit extra can make an even greater impact for organizations like YoungLives …… and that is through prayer!

Our vision at Kingdom Blend Coffee is three-fold:

1. To help raise funds
2. To help raise awareness
3. To remind people to pray for the ministry and all those involved

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“Beans for Babies” blend

When you purchase YoungLives “Beans for Babies” organic coffee you will support YoungLives financially ($3 from each bag goes straight to the ministry). You can also share some coffee with friends, family or even at your place of business to help raise awareness toward all the awesome programs at YoungLives PLUS every morning when you reach for your “Beans for Babies” organic coffee, you will be reminded to lift them up in prayer.

We want to thank all the volunteers that made the Pancakes in the Park such a success and we are already looking forward to next year’s event! We would also like to send a special thank you to whoever was making the chocolate chip pancakes! They were awesome!!

“Beans for Babies” coffee is still available. Each 1 lb. bag is $12.95 and $3 goes directly to YoungLives. If you are interested in purchasing some delicious, organic coffee that also supports a great cause, please email the YoungLives team at northocyounglives@gmail.com.

Ed & Linda Orem

Pancakes in the Park

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Pancake Breakfast and Craft Fair

Last Saturday was so much fun! It was our 3rd annual Pancakes in the Park – a family friendly event at Lake Park in Huntington Beach. The purpose of the event is to raise money to help send teen moms and their babies to a life-changing summer camp. Hundreds of people came out to support YoungLives! From all you can eat pancakes and sausage to delicious, fresh-brewed coffee, it was a great way to start the day. The generosity of everyone who came was so encouraging! As with any large event, it took an army of volunteers to put on this event. Volunteers arrived at 6am to start prepping the area, setting up tables and chairs, making coffee and mixing up the pancake batter!

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Tara and Hannah (sisters from San Diego)

Another fun aspect of the Pancake Breakfast is the Craft Fair! This year we had nearly 20 different local vendors who were selling a variety of handmade items. Each of them donated a portion of their proceeds to help send girls to camp! In addition to all of the local vendors, two sisters, Tara and Hannah, contacted Myrna, our Area Director, a few days before the event. They heard about the craft fair and really wanted to help out any way they could. They asked if they could have a table even though they weren’t sure what they would sell. Within a few days, the gathered fruit from their neighbors’ trees, made several wooden vase and picture holders and some jewelry. Together they raised nearly $100 for camp! What a blessing to see their beautiful hearts of service!

We are so thankful for all of the volunteers and craft fair vendors who made this event possible! Because of your generosity, we will be sending 10 girls and 3 volunteers to camp later this month! During the week of July 13th, be sure to check our blog and Facebook page for updates from camp!