When Dawn Paulk attended a new church with her son Trevor, diagnosed with autism, she didn’t expect rejection. But the other church attendees were uncomfortable with Trevor’s free style of worship and asked them to leave. The experience caused Dawn to feel very hurt and frustrated.
A few months later, Dawn found a new sense of hope… a community marked by love and acceptance. And at the center was a campfire and a man with a guitar.
From silly skits to songs, the campfires at Victory Lane’s summer camp sessions are a highlight of each day. Campfire times are made more meaningful through the thoughtful and engaging music of Mike Brown.
Mike has been leading campfires for Victory Lane since the first camp session. Over the years, he has built relationships with many of the campers and their families. One of the ways he connects with Victory Kids is through original songs that he writes about the kids.
Although Cindy Cook claims she can’t “carry a tune in any kind of bucket,” she loves campfire songs with Mike. For her, it started three years ago when her son Aaron really enjoyed the song Baby Shark. From then on, Baby Shark became a connecting song for Aaron and Mike. Beyond Baby Shark, Mike also made up a song about Aaron.
“It was really special at Bradford Woods when he made a song about Aaron,” Cindy shared. “As a mom, I thought it was special for him. The song set him apart.”
Emma Muegge loved having Mike make up a song for her, too. Her mom, Amy, expressed, “It was really touching that they made a song just for her one night. Her eyes were just filled with joy and happiness to see him with his guitar singing to her. He let her play with his guitar too. That was pretty nice.”
It was more than the music that left a mark on the Wolski family. Suzanne explained, “To be honest, the song itself really didn't have an ‘impact’ on us. What was more impressive were Mike's actions throughout our camp experience. His high energy, fun personality, engaging manner, and understanding nature was what we remember and continue to admire about Mike. He is the ‘real deal’ as a very talented individual who loves his craft, does it amazingly well, and with much love.”
She went on to share, “Eva loved that he came up with a song about her on the spot. What was more fun to see was the interaction between Mike and Eva as she fed him song ideas while he was singing! We were all joking how Eva was upstaging Mike!”
For Dawn Paulk and Ken Stucy, the song about their son Trevor was restorative, bringing hope to break through the negative experience at the church months before.
Dawn expressed, “Mike has that engagement. He has an anointing over him. Mike made up a rap song for Trevor. That meant a lot to our family. It was nice how everyone totally accepted our family and our son. We needed that song. He made Trevor and our family feel special.”
Through the heart of Mike Brown and the power of music, Victory Kids and families are being filled with a sense of belonging, excitement, and hope.
Cindy Cook summed up the powerful meaning of Mike’s music, “Those songs are celebrating who they are and not what they can’t do. Society focuses on what they can’t do and what makes them different. This is celebrating who they are.”