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Program Gives Tulsa County Foster Kids The Summer Camp Experience

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"For so many of these kids, we find that we're giving them experiences most of us growing up kind of take for granted that they've never experienced," said the camp's co-director Richard Berumen. "For so many of these kids, we find that we're giving them experiences most of us growing up kind of take for granted that they've never experienced," said the camp's co-director Richard Berumen.
This year, 64 foster kids are spending one week doing all the things they rarely ever get to do, like fishing and kayaking. This year, 64 foster kids are spending one week doing all the things they rarely ever get to do, like fishing and kayaking.
"I keep coming back, because I think if I could just make a moment that will change a life, it will be good," said counselor Karol Neimeister. "I keep coming back, because I think if I could just make a moment that will change a life, it will be good," said counselor Karol Neimeister.
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -

Some Tulsa County foster kids are getting the chance to spend one full week at summer camp. A program started by a Tulsa couple has left a lasting impact on hundreds of kids.

Spending a summer day at the pool is something most kids look forward to, but for most foster kids, that's not an option.

"For so many of these kids, we find that we're giving them experiences most of us growing up kind of take for granted that they've never experienced," said the camp's co-director Richard Berumen.

Fifteen years ago, Richard and Sharon Berumen brought the Royal Family Kids camp to Tahlequah.

It's a national organization that focuses on giving foster children a chance to simply be a kid.

"It's a crammed-packed week full of activities. That's by design. We want to keep them as busy as possible," Berumen said.

This year, 64 foster kids are spending one week doing all the things they rarely ever get to do, like fishing and kayaking.

The campers even get to experience a real birthday party.

"I keep coming back, because I think if I could just make a moment that will change a life, it will be good," said counselor Karol Neimeister.

One adult counselor is paired with two youngsters. Some of the children there have been abused or neglected in their past, which can make things challenging for counselors.

"When you're facing it, you go 'Don't know if I can do this again,' but when you're all done and those kids hug you and they don't cry, you know they love you and that you have really made an impact in their life," Neimeister said.

The camp is for 7 through 11-year-olds. Mentors strive to make sure each child knows they are "royalty," and they deserve to be treated that way.

"Even just for five days, that I can show them that people do love them and care for them, because some of them don't know that anybody cares for them or loves them, because they've been let down and hurt mentally and physically," said counselor Christy Hardesty.

Many foster kids will go their entire childhood without ever having pictures of themselves. That's why at Royal Family Kids Camp, each kid will go home with a photo album of their memories from the camp.

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