The Keith Edmonds Foundation will hold its first Camp Confidence next month at Cumberland University and will look to continue the foundation’s mission of empowering child abuse survivors.
“When I think about the kids who are going to be at this camp we’ve created and our focus of this camp, it can make me tear up very easily, because it’s so awesome. We serve an awesome God, and he’s allowing my story to do awesome things. We’re literally going to start changing children’s lives,” said Keith Edmonds, child abuse survivor and foundation founder.
Edmonds was 14 months old when an abuser held his face to an electric heater, resulting in third-degree burns and scarring to his face. He had numerous surgeries on his face, endured abuse and taunting from schoolmates and turned to substances and alcohol to cope. He turned his life over to God in 2010.
“It feels amazing. It feels great. In reality, I just feel blessed from where God started with me to where I’m at now and what I’ve gone through to get to this point,” Edmonds said.
Camp Confidence will feature 30-50 children 8-12 years old from Middle Tennessee referred through the Department of Children’s Services and Judge Barry Tatum.
“Camp Confidence is not a numbers game. It will never be numbers focused. I don’t want to see 300 kids. It’s a mentorship game. If we have five kids who show up, that’s five kids we’re going to have a greater impact on,” Edmonds said.
Edmonds said interaction with campers would continue beyond the two-day camp next month, with activities already planned through the end of the year.
“That’s the beginning of this community when we talk about walking with them and not just saying, ‘Hey. We had a great camp. See you in 2018,’” Edmonds said. “A kid spells love differently than you and I do. They spell it T-I-M-E. You have to spend that time with them, and without that time you’re just another guy or just another group of people who made them feel special for a day.”
Edmonds said all camp volunteers have gone through a state background check within the last 30 days and received trauma training.
“These kids have gone through different things, so it’s about getting on their level and bringing them back,” he said. “We’re very proactive in knowing who will be around these kids.”
Camp Confidence is made possible by Cumberland University, Wilson Bank & Trust and several local donations.
“It’s going to be awesome and great,” Edmonds said. “I’m going to have as much fun as I possibly can, because the whole goal of this camp is for a kid to be a kid. I’ll be 40 this year, but I’m going to be a kid, too. You’ll find me in a bounce house. That’s where you’ll find Keith.”
To donate to Camp Confidence or the Keith Edmonds Foundation, contact Edmonds at 615-651-0714, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.