Mason Griffin and his parents have been connected with Victory Lane Camp for the last four years. This year was the first opportunity for them to attend camp. Despite family illness, they were able to make it to the second session of summer camp for the experience of a lifetime.
“All the way up to the end we didn’t know if we were going to make it to camp because my wife is sick. We didn’t know until about two days before,” Todd Thibault, Mason’s stepfather, explained.
Fortunately, Todd, his wife, Brandi, and their son, Mason were able to come to camp. The surprises for them began as soon as they drove in. One of Todd’s highlights from camp was the welcome as they drove in on the first day. “Initially, I thought we were going to show up and go to a spot and sign up, and didn’t know what to expect. I sure wasn’t expecting the reception we got.”
The biggest highlight that Todd shared was watching Mason have fun and seeing his connection with their Backyard Mission Trip Family, Ken and Liz Ritchie.
The Ritchies became connected with VLC through 321Go Kids’ Rehab and founder Brett Fischer. This was their second year helping at camp. They both value their camp experiences and the relationships built with other families. Ken shared, “It is a great opportunity to really reconnect with the Lord and serve others. Being able to help care for the VLC kids and to give the families some much needed rest really shows the families that there are people out there who care and want to help.”
Ken and Mason formed an instant friendship. Ken described, “Mason was such a happy little guy with a great loving personality. Liz and I connected with him right away. My favorite times at camp were swimming with Mason. He loved getting out of his wheelchair and getting in the water.”
Mason had a similar fondness for Ken. Todd expressed, “He loved Ken and Liz to death and still talks about Ken.” Even while at camp, when they were separated, Mason would ask, “Where’s my friend?”
Mason and Ken weren’t the only ones to take something special away from camp this summer. Todd spoke about the comfort in the new connections made. “We were just relaxing together… A bunch of us going through the same thing, realizing we all live around the corner from each other.” He went on to say, “Unless you experience it, you just don’t know. This was well worth it. I wish we had gone in 2015.”
Even beyond his personal experience at camp, Todd sees the need and benefit of the Backyard Mission Trip Families. He shared, “When things get better, I would love to come back and be involved on the other side of things.”
Despite illness and difficulties of life, Todd, Brandi, and Mason made it to camp and will carry their time with them as they continue on, with the hope that one day they can help brighten another family’s camp experience.