Bad news! The 4 day camping trip that the kids were supposed to go on has been canceled due to horrible conditions at the campsite. Why not just move it, you say? All of the camping equipment, tents, trailers, cooking grills are stuck in the mud up in the Lake Granby area. Therefore, we can’t move it to another location or reschedule it. That’s OK, though. The UOO team has a backup plan and we sprung into action.
Yesterday after church service in Loveland, we went to the local park and had lunch. The kids got to play in the river and with the water toys at the park. It was a great success! We then went to the Stoesz house for games and dinner. The kids rode their first American bicycles, got into a water fight with squirt guns and perused the Stoesz farm. Just a quick note on the squirt guns, why didn’t they have those cool, technically advanced toys when I was a kid! Darn it!
Dinner was a a choice of lasagna or spaghetti, or both! Bread, salad and veggies were our sides. Since we still had birthday cake in abundance from Saturday, that was desert.
On Saturday we held our annual camp birthday party. If you’re not familiar with this event, let me explain. The orphanages in Ukraine only celebrate mass birthdays twice a year and some orphans aren’t aware of their birth day. Heidi and I witnessed one such celebration at SB last November. There are no cakes or presents and usually the treat is a bowl of fruit. We at UOO decided a couple of years ago to have our own mass birthday party complete with games, hot dogs, cake, ice cream, presents, punch and even a pinata or two. This pivotal event is remembered by the kids for the rest of their lives. I have had the orphans tell me so on our trips to Ukraine.
Our next event of the day was an evening at the Colorado Speedway in Erie, CO. There were several categories of races and the kids were asked to present the trophy to the winner of this 30 lap race. Tickets, dinner & drinks were donated by the generous owners of the Speedway and they even reserved a section at the finish line for the kids!
Thanks Colorado Speedway!
Sasha concerned that his driver is behind. What a cute, angelic face and a sweet kid!
Day three started when the kids ventured out to Bounce, an indoor bouncing/fun center in Loveland. They had a blast on the several huge blow-up toys. Lunch was served and the group departed for bowling at Sweetheart Lanes in Loveland. Everyone scored a strike and there were smiles abound! Here, Natalie Stoesz & Josh Volf share a lane with Sasha & Vova.
Again, breakfast, lunch and dinner were supplied, cooked and prepared by our wonderful volunteers. Thanks Guys!
Today the kids started out with a trip to Miller farms to pick huge, yummy vegetables. As always, this is a huge event because Ukrainian kids love vegetables. The Miller farm grows ’em big, too! Most of these veggies end up in our annual community dinner, which is scheduled this year for July 12th from 5-9 pm. Do come out for it if you can. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Kids are free! So come feed the family, meet the kids, and enjoy some good times!
More down time was in order as the kids returned to the Lake house for more boat rides and swimming. We ended the day with a meal provided by one of our many volunteers. Thank you all, this camp couldn’t happen without your support!
After a night of rest, it was exciting to meet our new guests. We had long ago planned down time the first day to let them acclimate to after a grueling 14+ hours of flying, a huge time change, and lack of sleep. Here they are at the Carman’s lake home in Loveland, looking chipper as ever. They are (listed from left to right, front row then back row): Vova, Sasha, “Little” Dima, “Little” Yulia, Olya & “Big” Dima, Tatianna (chaperon), Nastya, “Big” Yulia (chaperon) and Marina. With them are Eric Carman, Clarke & Amanda Stoesz of UOO.
All eight kids and the two chaperons/translators for the 2009 Summer camp arrived safe and sound tonight. You could definitely see the look of exhaustion in their faces. All but a few were done and ready for bed. It took a while to get out of the airport and to the van. An hour-long drive to the Carman’s home was in store for them next. Only one of the Chaperons stayed awake as I drove them to their “American home” for the next week. They will transition to the Stoesz home about mid-camp and will stay there until their return to Ukraine. Here are the 2009 Summer camp participants: