I ran to the bathroom before the final event on the last day of Rainbow Express at Matthews United Methodist Church. Inside the bathroom, a girl was crying inside one of the stalls, "I don't want to leave. I want to know I can come back next week." The sadness in this girl's voice was so intense that I wanted to cry with her. Her counselor assured her that she could come back next year.
Rainbow Express is a weeklong day camp for children with special needs. About 70 campers participate and they love every minute of it. Energy is high, activities are in abundance, hugs are infinite and a puppet show is promised every afternoon. After kids attend a year or two, it becomes a family reunion for everyone.
The entire week is planned by the youth from the church with guidance from founder Laurie Little and other staff and volunteers. Each camper has a youth counselor and a buddy to help them through the activities of the week. The entire church community is committed to making this an incredible week for the campers. Medical staff and special education teachers are available to help when needed. Many volunteers use their vacation time to help this week.
Rainbow Express is in its 20th year at MUMC. Four years ago, they formed a partnership with a group in Haiti and started Rainbow Express at Wings of Hope. Over the next year, Rainbow Express hopes to expand the camp to other churches around the United States.
This was Ben's 8th or 9th year attending. It took him several days to recover. Between activities, hugs and more hugs, he was exhausted.
If you want more information, please visit Rainbow Express Ministries.