Camp is a place where you learn and grow, where you are able to build a solid foundation in Christ and learn what it means to have a life that is deeply rooted in truth and the word of God. For Edward Turner, his experience at Kids Across America was no different.
Who is Edward “Ed” Turner you may ask? He is a reformer. Turner is devoted to make public education for the schools in Dallas run more effectively as he is running for Dallas Independent School District for district 9. He is currently and education organizer and Insurance broker in the Dallas area. Turner crafted his passion, after seeing his once thriving child hood community dwindle in population, forcing 4 schools to close down. He became a man of action. This change in his community propelled Turner to become one of the community leaders in his neighborhood and run for the district 9 school board. In the words of Turner, “Looking back, some of the things help grounded me.” One of those things being his experience at Kids Across America.
Turner attended Kids across America as a high school student in 1995-1998. Growing up as an inner city youth, he was involved in STEP Ministries. The ministry ventured out to the camp grounds located in Golden Missouri. During his time at KAA, Turner was able to be a part of Higher Ground. At camp, Turner was allowed to expand his body ability and discover his limited. He learn many things ranging from something as minute as learning how to do a back flip to something as eternal as seeing the vastness of God and lowliness of man. Turner, like an explorer, saw camp as a new world expecting exciting new adventures and looking forward to it each summer experience in the woods of Missouri. With every return, Turner kept coming back seeking more ways and opportunities to learn and grow in his faith.
In the eyes of Turner, camp was a non-stop party. From the big welcome greeting that was given to each camper at camp to being cheered for in the bumblebee award as well as in competition. However, it was not the camp that celebrated him, but the people at camp that celebrated him. For Turner, camp was his release from the inner city, breaking away from the mundane cycles of life he was able experience life in a diverse exuberate community. At home, he was used to clothes line; but at camp, he experience zip lining and wire climbing—things that were foreign to him.
Lessons from camp has stuck with him even today, such as, how to pray, life is a challenge by choice, think positively, be respectful and the importance of the Golden Rule.
Ed Turner has been enrolled into the classroom of KAA and the curriculum was the gospel. Kids Across America showed him how to walk in unwavering faith and that God is with us when we are facing our fears.
Camp matters because it allowed a kid from the inner city to leave his community to meet others and pick up on culture differences. In his words, “…you may come with 15 people from your ministry and would not see each other all week…” but those profound moments showed him the importance of being around different ethnicity groups and what it looked to be unified in race, but also diverse. Ultimately exposure at camp, landed him where his is today, it pushed him to dive into his community, as well as come along others to lead them to the path of success. In the words of Turner, “I appreciate my time at KAA, it's the place where I gave my life to Christ and started walking in faith. Over the next four summers, my experience at KAA helped me build a stronger relationship with Christ through teamwork, daily devotion, and believing in God's promise. These values I hold dear today as I continue to be a team player, spend time in the word, and continue to walk in faith.”