A Dad’s Memories of Grace and Laughter at WMFC, 2018

Russ Gibson, who wrote this post, was a great sport when the comedian and ventriloquist picked him to be part of the act.

“I can’t believe you forgot her shoes!”

These were the words I heard when my wife realized I forgot our youngest daughter’s shoes while packing for camp. As 18 month-olds don’t always wear shoes, I simply whisked her away – shoeless – into the van upon our departure from home. Looking back, I can’t believe I forgot them either, and I don’t blame my wife at all for not believing I forget them!

In my defense–okay, at least in order to make myself feel better–let me give you some context. My wife and I were packing for 7 of us. Our children’s ages are 13, 10, 8, 4, and 18 months.

Pillows? Check.
Sleeping bags? Check.
Clothes, shoes, swim gear, snacks, toiletries…check, check, check.

I thought I had everything, especially because I’m a checklist kind of guy. Especially since this year was our second year at Wonderfully Made Family Camp, I thought I was a pro at packing for this event. It turns out I’m actually not perfect at packing.

Even though I’m not a pro, I’m thankful that the staff and volunteers are pros at being the hands and feet of Christ. Our experience this year at camp was as stellar as the prior year, even better, in fact. Everyone involved seem to have covered every detail, from programming to accomodations to food.

Being in community with other families like us who experience life with special needs children is among the largest blessings that we have received. Knowing that you are not alone in the midst of your own “valleys” is a great comfort. Just hanging out with other dads and moms and not feeling awkward about your child’s intricacies is strengthening to me as a parent. This is a community of encouragement and love.  

One of the most enjoyable moments at camp was date night. Us parents got to spend a few hours enjoying appetizers and dinner, as well as socializing with each other. The kids were wonderfully taken care of during that time. For our entertainment, there was a talented comedian who was able to get us laughing hysterically! This was such a great opportunity to let our guard down, and to momentarily forget our everyday tasks. It was a time to live in in the moment and enjoy the present.

Looking back, maybe it wasn’t so bad that I forgot my little one’s shoes. It was a reminder to me that despite my best efforts, I can’t plan for everything, fix it all, or be the best. God’s grace takes care of me despite my shortcomings, and I am reminded to rely on his love and power through it all. WMFC was a tangible experience of this grace, and for that, I am thankful.

~Russ Gibson, devoted husband, father of 5, and good sport

WMFC Pie Sales Fundraiser

Wonderfully Made Family Camp, 2018: A Look Back

This shot of parents goofing around in the photo booth set up for Saturday evening’s Adult Night Out says so much. To see these caregivers able to shed their duties for an evening of laughter and fellowship shows that WMFC is for the entire family, not only for the kids with special needs.

Wonderfully Made Family Camp 2018 was a 68 hour whirlwind that impacted families and volunteers alike. Mere words can’t communicate how the days spent together impacted 40 families comprised of 200 family members and the 100+ volunteers who served unselfishly. So instead of trying to tell you in my own words, I’m using words spoken and pictures taken by others who attended the third annual camp held at Hidden Acres Christian Center in central Iowa.

We had the privilege of going to Family Camp this year and it was such a blessing. Catching up with old friends, making new ones, and the time we all spent together was so wonderful! All the buddies, staff, parents, kids, and folks that put this on made this a memory our family will never forget! ~ from a parent

Click this link to read the rest of this post and see more amazing pictures at the Different Dream website.

A Special Thank You to Some of Our Sponsors

The Wonderfully Made Family Camp could not happen without all the wonderful donors who gave financially and in-kind. If you would like to send them a personal note, that would be awesome!

The following gave financially:

We are still needing funds to cover this year’s event. If you know of anyone who would like to help you can donate through Hidden Acres

Important Information

Important Information

What To Bring

  • Casual, modest clothes: shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, jeans, and comfortable shoes. If the forecast includes rain, bring boots and an umbrella. You will receive a camp t-shirt to wear on Saturday.
  • Jacket or sweatshirt for evenings
  • Swimsuit and towel–Girls and women should bring one-piece suits or tankinis that cover the midsection completely. No two piece suits or bikinis are allowed. Hidden Acres has an indoor pool, so there will be swimming whatever the weather.
  • Towels, pillows, and bedding for each family member. Sleeping bags are a good option! 

     If your room has a queen bed, that bedding is provided (Inn)

  • Toiletry bag or caddy to carry to and from bathrooms (Welcome Center, Bunkhouse)
  • Hairdryer
  • Flashlight
  • Any medical equipment, wheelchairs/strollers, shower chairs, or special supplies needed to care for your family members. Hidden Acres does not have any of these items. 
  • Cell phone (if you have one-limited reception)
  • Medications needed (Each family member will need to fill out a medication form for camp)
  • Hat, visor, and/or sunglasses
  • Bug spray and sunscreen
  • Spending money for snack shop or gift shop

What Not To Bring

  • Yoga pants or leggings
  • Short shorts
  • Shirts with inappropriate messages
  • Expensive electronic equipment (We are not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items)
  • Perfume or highly-scented toiletry items since many of the kids are allergic to fragrances
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol or illegal drugs

WMFC Camp Policies

  • No smoking is allowed in any camp buildings or on the campgrounds
  • Lake is not available, except for the “Youth” Outing Saturday night
  • Please pack up and be out of your room on Sunday, by 9a.m. brunch