Some people need an extra nudge of encouragement to participate in a camp session. When Lexi Schlink’s dad and brother, Jimmy and Luke, signed up for last summer’s camp at Cornerstone Campground, she had decided not to join them because of previously scheduled plans. But an extra nudge of an encouragement did the trick to convince her to go.
Lexi explained, “At first I wasn’t even going to come because I had tickets to my all-time favorite artist’s concert, but then I felt God come into my heart and say ‘Go. You need to experience this.’ After I heard those words, I immediately stopped what I was doing, sold my tickets online, and told my dad that this was going to be a very special weekend. So, I’d say God brought me to camp this summer.”
The Schlink’s connection to Victory Lane Camp began at Ford Wilson’s Race of Champions in Indianapolis. There, VLC community member Christine Carey took notice of Luke’s fondness for the outdoors.
“Christine Carey mentioned that Luke looks like he enjoys the outdoors as he was gathering sticks from the park to put in our trunk to take home to burn in our fire pit. She told us about Victory Lane Camp,” Jimmy shared. “Not long after that I called VLC and talked with Tiffanny regarding our interest in the camp and let her know that myself and my kids would love a chance to camp.”
At camp, Jimmy, Luke, and Lexi, all made close connections and lifelong friends. Jimmy recalls all of the great help they received to make them feel welcome and comfortable.
“The grace and compassion blew my mind. I was overwhelmed with emotion for the whole camp experience. It was something that all three of us will remember forever,” he said. “This isn’t just a weekend; it’s people welcoming us into a community and to grow and learn with them.”
Lexi was also filled with gratitude for the people she met and the experience she gained. She expressed, “I’m very lucky to have had this opportunity to not only expand my social circle but also to learn about life through all these amazing people. The connections I’ve made through VLC are so important to me, and that really shows what an outstanding organization it is, because they got to me and not just Luke!”
The Schlinks have several positive experiences and highlights from their time at camp, but none of those can top the biggest moment that they mark as number one.
“First and foremost, the absolute highlight of my camp experience was asking Jesus to come into my heart on the last day of camp,” Lexi shared. “VLC taught me a lot about my own spiritual relationship with God, and it felt finally right to let Him into my whole life, not just when I called out to Him. Ever since, my life has been dramatically different and even my attitude toward life has completely changed.”
Jimmy echoed that highlight in Lexi’s life as well shared about the profound impact the summer session had on his own life, “My family has been hurt and torn by addiction, anger, self-pity, disbelief and much more. With the help of my faith in God and finding VLC, I feel my life has new meaning. I love spending time with the VLC community, and they love my kids unconditionally.”
In addition to the positive effect camp had on their own lives, Jimmy and Lexi were happy to see Luke grow and make new friends as well. Another highlight for Jimmy was watching Luke connect with Mikenley Brown.
“Luke is kind of a guy’s guy, but he really has taken to Mikenley,” Jimmy explained. “She’s quite an extraordinary young lady.”
Lexi also shared a story about Luke’s experiment with the red Solo cup tower. “This tower had at least one hundred cups. I turned around to Luke grabbing one of them and that was that. I was at first nervous about the reaction of the kids and other people at camp, but after the silence of shock, Luke received a round of applause and laughter filled the room. It was one of my favorite parts because I knew they understood that Luke didn’t mean to mess up anything, he just wanted to see what would happen!”
The extra nudge it took to encourage Lexi Schlink to attend camp with her family not only changed her summer but will have a lasting effect on her future. She shared, “As a sister of a 14-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy, I can say that these people really know what they’re doing. And they care a lot, too. It was so cool to see how the staff and volunteers interacted with the kids through music, games, and worship. God is working through VLC and I can’t wait to see how it will grow and prosper.”