Gruette, Mark & Diana – Linn County, Iowa

Our Story

Royal Family Kids Camp

Mark and  Diana feel called by God to start a “Royal Family Kids Camp” here in the Linn County, Iowa area. RFK camps serve the abused and neglected children in the foster care system, ages 6 – 12. RFK gives the kids a break from the “system” for one week. 

We treat them royally at camp introducing them to the love of Christ through one-on-one conversations, Bible stories, skits, songs, prayer and a short workbook that they work on through the week. 

Many of these kids have never felt love from or trust in adults due to abuse and neglect. Because these children are wards of the state, we cannot proselytize, this is not a typical “church camp”. We cannot have alter calls or baptisms. 

Many of the children would do whatever is asked of them just to hope to receive another meal or to please the adult in charge of them, so asking them if they want to accept Christ has many legal and ethical issues. However, we do pray with them and teach them about the love of Jesus through example and conversations. We are free to answer their questions about knowing him more and can pray with them to accept Christ if they ask. 

The children leave camp with a new Bible, a music player with the Christian songs that we sang at camp, their Bible workbook and a memory book filled with pictures, encouragement and memories handwritten by their counselor. These camps often completely change the trajectory of their lives, breaking the cycle of abuse. 

My wife and I have been trained to be camp directors and have received a camp charter through RFK’s parent organization of For The Children.  For The Children does not have a process for collecting and routing funds for individual camps through their organization; neither does our home church. However, we are delighted to be associated with Servants of Christ Int’l, which can provide that administrative ministry for us.

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