Frequently Asked Questions for Caregivers
We have included the most frequently asked questions below so that you can get the most accurate information for Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs, whether you're a foster parent, adoptive parent, bio parent, kinship provider, DHS caseworker, CASA, guardian ad litem, or other adult hoping to send your child to Royal Family KIDS Camp this summer.
WHEN IS CAMP 2023? Royal Family KIDS Camp (RFKC) will take place TUESDAY-SATURDAY, June 13-17, 2023 for the kids or - whom we call - Little Campers. (Don't worry, we rent chartered buses to get your kids to Camp!!)
WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE TO CARE FOR MY CHILD THROUGHOUT THE WEEK OF CAMP? Each Big Camper (Camp Counselor) has charge of two kids. A male Big Camper has charge of two Little Camper boys and female Big Campers each have charge of two Little Camper girls. In addition to 36 Big Campers, we have 25-30 adults who serve as Support Staff, so our ratio of adult to child at Camp is roughly 1 to 1.
IS THIS AN OVERNIGHT CAMP? Yes! This is an overnight Camp. All Little Campers and our RFK Volunteers will stay at Camp for the entire week.
WHAT ARE THE SLEEPING/CABIN ARRANGEMENTS? Each Big Camper and his or her two Little Campers are in a cabin room with another Big Camper and his or her two Little Campers. There is a big bathroom between that room and the other in the cabin, also housed with two Big Campers and four Little Campers. Cabins will be for men/boys only or for women/girls only.
HOW TO KIDS GET TO CAMP? We have registration the first morning of Camp - Tuesday, June 13, and bring kids up on chartered buses; one bus for the girls and one bus for the boys. Our medical team rides on the buses, one or two caseworkers/social workers from DHS who are serving as full-week staff, and our Camp Grandpa & Grandma. We have those same chartered buses bring kids back to the same location as registration on Saturday, June 17th.
WHO ARE YOUR VOLUNTEERS? Our volunteers are adults - 18 and older - who live and work in Colorado Springs and surrounding communities. They go through a lengthy online application, a Protect My Ministry background check, an FBI background check, fingerprinting, an in-person interview with our leadership team, and a 12-hour training on working with children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma with Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training and an additional 3 hours of PDIS/Colorado Shines training on abuse reporting and standard precautions. They are hand-picked by our leadership team and fully vetted before joining the RFK team.
I HEARD YOU PARTNER WITH EL PASO COUNTY DHS (DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES). WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? We work with DHS and all of the foster/adoption agencies in Colorado Springs/El Paso County to share the opportunity for Camp and Mentoring Club. We have worked with El Paso County DHS since we started Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs back in 2011. Each summer, we bring 4-6 caseworkers or managers from Child Protective Services along with us to act as additional support staff. If there is an incident to report that a child reveals at Camp, they can bring in the proper person to investigate or help us write any reports of bumps and scrapes that may happen at Camp. Sometimes, we bring in our DHS team members to help us work with a child who is having a really hard time at Camp and help de-escalate behaviors in kids. DHS has also helped with transport back to the Springs when we've had kids get sick at Camp and needed to be at home for proper care.
DO YOU SEND KIDS HOME FROM CAMP? We try our very, very best to keep kids at Camp if at all possible! As long as they are not a danger to themselves, other children, or our adult staff, we work alongside the kids to keep them at Camp for the week by redirecting their behaviors, speaking into them, and using our RFK training. We've only sent a few kids home out of the 12 years we've been serving El Paso County and that was because they had the flu or strep throat and would be better cared for at home. EVERY CHILD we have ever taken to Camp over the last 12 years - who was not too sick to stay - has successfully finished the week at Camp with us!
WILL MY CHILD BE SAFE AND PROPERLY CARED FOR AT YOUR CAMP? Most definitely! With our careful volunteer selection, hours upon hours of training, and programming specifically designed with foster children/those who have experienced abused and neglect in mind, we do our utmost to keep your child safe at Camp! We have a dedicated medical team of nurses who distribute needed medications as guardians and caregivers provide and who attend to any bumps and scrapes at Camp.
We also carefully consider and read through each and every child's application to find out any medical needs, allergies, behavioral issues, sexually acting out, etc. We say "Prepare for the Worst, Expect the Best" at Camp! We've had over 800 Little Campers with us at Camp over the last 12 years and we've been able to handle any behaviors that crop up at Camp with gentle redirection, TBRI training, and positive reinforcement. We rare see any negative or harmful behaviors at Camp that we read about in the applications and bios.
WHAT IS THE TWO-DEEP RULE? We train our volunteers to observe the Two-Deep Rule each and every day at Camp. This means that there are always two adults with kids at all times. An adult is never alone with a child and a child is never alone with another child. This means that when an adult volunteer is interacting with a child, they are within eyesight and earshot of another adult at all times to protect the child and the adult.
HOW DO YOU EMPOWER KIDS TO STAY SAFE AT CAMP? We speak with all of the Little Campers and adult staff on Day One, showing them a Safety Matters video created by Royal Family KIDS. We speak with them about Camp rules like Two-Deep, No secrets needed at Camp, No Bullying, Good words only, Your space/Your stuff/Your bed (no child or adult is EVER allowed on your bed), and Good touch vs Bad Touch, keeping your body covered, and No Contact After Camp (unless an RFK Little Camper applies to be part of our Mentoring Club.)
DO YOU HAVE LIABILITY INSURANCE? We do! The Camp property has insurance and waivers that parents/guardians sign and we as Royal Family KIDS have liability insurance that covers Camp and Mentoring Club.
DO YOU EVER TURN KIDS AWAY FROM ATTENDING CAMP WITH RFK? We have only ever said "no, sorry" to two kids out of over 900 that have applied to come to Camp with us over the last 12 years. One of these children had serious psychotic episodes that were unmedicated and were too much for us to feel safe bringing that child into cabins and groups with our other kids and adults. The other child was denied by DHS because of their major aggressive tendencies that got them in trouble with the law. Some kids we've simply had to turn away because we had a full Camp of 72 children and they were placed on a waitlist. Or, the child was going to be 13 years old by start of Camp and was therefore ineligible.
WHICH CHILDREN CAN APPLY TO ATTEND CAMP?
We say "Once a Royal Family KIDS Little Camper, always an RFK Little Camper." But, we do need to have some parameters since we only have Camp spots available for 72 kids at Camp.
RETURNING LITTLE CAMPERS: Kids who are returning Little Campers (ages 6 to 12) from 2022 or earlier have first priority as long as they have not graduated from RFK. All 12-year-olds at Camp participate in a graduation ceremony since our Little Campers are 6 to 12 years old. Returning Little Campers are eligible to apply if they have not turned 13 years old by Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
NEW LITTLE CAMPERS IN FOSTER CARE: If your 6- to 12-year-old child is currently in foster care, they also have priority as new RFK Little Campers.
NEW LITTLE CAMPERS IN KINSHIP or KIN-LIKE CARE: We consider taking children in kinship care or kin-like care on a cae-by-case basis.
NEW LITTLE CAMPERS WHO ARE ALREADY ADOPTED: We try to reach the most vulnerable of the kids in foster care, so at this time, we do not take NEW Little Campers who have already been adopted unless they are back in foster care after a failed adoption placement.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF MY CHILD IS ELIGIBLE?
HOW CAN I APPLY SO MY CHILD CAN ATTEND?
To apply for your child to attend RFK Camp Colorado Springs this coming June 13-17, 2023,
you will need to email our Child Placement Coordinator, Shelby, at firstname.lastname@example.org
to find out if your child(ren) are eligible and to get the application link.
ARE RETURNING LITTLE CAMPERS WHO HAVE BEEN ADOPTED ELIGIBLE? Yes, absolutely!
ARE RETURNING LITTLE CAMPERS WHO HAVE BEEN BEEN REUNITED WITH BIO FAMILY ELIGIBLE? Yes, absolutely!
ARE RETURNING LITTLE CAMPERS WHO HAVE MOVED OUT OF STATE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY? Yes, absolutely, as long as they have a parent/guardian who will bring them to registration, pick them up from registration, and be available in Colorado Springs during the week of Camp in case of emergency.
ARE KIDS OUTSIDE OF EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO, ELIGIBLE TO APPLY? On a case-by-case basis, yes. Our first priority is to kids who live in El Paso County. There are other Royal Family KIDS Camps/Programs in Colorado (or across the country) that you can contact. You can find that list here.
WHAT IS THE AGE RANGE FOR THE CHILDREN TO BE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY OR ATTEND? At Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs, we take children who are 6 to 12 years old. Kids must be 6 years old by June 13, 2022, and not have turned 13 by June 13, 2023. Kids age out at 13 years of age.
DO YOU HAVE A GRADUATION CEREMONY? Yes, we do! We make a BIG DEAL about the kids who are 12 and spent their last week at Royal Family KIDS Camp. (Don't worry, they are still eligible to apply to be part of Mentoring Club the school year after their last year of Camp!)
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Camp costs $25 per child, our Application Fee. Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs pays the additional $475 per child. We are able to do so thanks to generous donors.
WHERE DO YOU GET THE MONEY TO PAY FOR CAMP? Thanks to incredibly generous donors - individuals, businesses, organizations, and grants - we are able to cover the cost of each of our 72 Little Campers and 85 adult volunteers to attend Camp this summer! If you want to help Sponsor a Child to head to Camp, you can do so on our RFK Donation link!
HOW DO THE KIDS GET TO CAMP? AND HOW DO THEY GET BACK HOME? We hire two chartered buses - one for the boys and another for the girls - to bring kids to Camp from Registration on Tuesday, June 7, and back to that same location on Saturday, June 17. Each bus has three or four RFK adult volunteers to supervise the kids and the buses have movies, snacks, water, and a bathroom to keep kids safe and comfortable for the ride to and from Camp.
WHERE IS THE CAMP LOCATED? For the safety of the children, we don't publicly disclose the location of the Camp. Foster/adoptive/bio parents will be looped in as needed! But, we do contract with an incredible Camp property located around two hours away from Colorado Springs.
HOW LONG HAS ROYAL FAMILY KIDS BEEN AROUND? Royal Family KIDS has been around since 1985. It was started in Southern California by Wayne & Diane Tesch who wanted to serve the foster care population through a summer Camp ministry experience. Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs is one of around 245 RFKs around the country - and across the globe - and has been operating and serving foster children in El Paso County since 2011. We are just celebrating the start of our 11th year of ministry to foster kids here in Colorado Springs!
HOW DOES "FOR THE CHILDREN" RELATE TO ROYAL FAMILY KIDS? The parent organization for Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs was called "Royal Family KIDS" until October of 2021. Since then, the name has change to "For The Children" and still houses Royal Family KIDS underneath as one of its programs.
WHAT IS MENTORING CLUB? Mentoring Club is a program for RFK Little Campers. Those children who desire to be mentored throughout the schoolyear and attend a once-a-month Club (a mini-Camp experience) may apply to be part of the RFK Mentoring Club. Children will be mentored one-to-one by RFK adult volunteers who served as full-week staff at Camp.