A Chess Game Leads To Friendship

It started with a chess game. Michael, a Victory Kid, was looking for someone to play chess with him during Victory Lane’s 2021 summer camp session, and he asked Becca to join him. Becca was serving as a Teen In Mission (TIM). Through the TIMs program, Becca and her youth group were building friendships and learning how to relate to people who have disabilities. Becca didn’t know how to play chess, but she was willing to learn.

“I told her I would teach her,” Michael explained.

As Michael taught Becca about chess, their first game lasted a few days because they would frequently stop and talk while playing. It turns out they share an interest in history and museums.

“He’s a kindred spirit,” Becca expressed. Michael also sensed that Becca would be a good friend because “she was nice and polite.”

Once the chess match was over, the friendship continued. It continued over the course of two years, with text messages and phone calls shared between the teens. They took a trip to Fort Wayne recently and visited the zoo, a historical site, and a bookstore.

Michael and Becca also enjoyed connecting at the most recent Victory Lane summer camp session at Mahoning Valley. They were joined by other Victory kids and TIMs at this year’s camp, which was focused on returning families. The nightly porch parties were a highlight for many attendees, including Michael and Becca.

“I really enjoyed getting together on the porch with my other friends in the evening playing games and just talking,” Michael shared. “I really enjoy Victory Lane because everyone is so nice. The Victory Lane community helps me be able to help and meet new friends. I really like to help kids, too!”

Camp Director Natasha Hamilton initiated the porch parties, which happened nightly on the large porch attached to the family units at the Mahoning Valley campground. She originally planned to set aside the final night on the porch to be just for the TIMs.

“The TIMs said, ‘Well, we need the rest of our friends to join.’ Meaning that the Victory kids needed to be there as well. It was a HUGE party on the porch with snacks, cards, laughter, and music,” Natasha shared. “We teach our TIMs that inclusion is necessary and when I witness the TIMs seeing the Victory Kids as ‘just another friend,’ it makes my job even more rewarding.”

When you support Victory Lane, you are helping teens like Michael and Becca form ongoing, meaningful friendships. In a culture plagued by loneliness, these friendships take on tremendous value and make a lasting impact. To become part of Victory Lane’s team of supporters, visit VictoryLaneCamp.org.