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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Milwaukee native Michael Kenyon (left) sings in the film "CAMP," which is available on Netflix, Blu-ray and DVD.

"CAMP" chronicles the struggles of forgotten kids in foster care


What makes a difference?

Can it be a moment? Can it can be a week?

Those who take on the mantle of telling a story, depending on the medium, understand that different tactics are used to keep someone engaged. Those who have worked their magic or applied their skill, learn by doing and find success from learning from failures. For these people, there is no greater satisfaction than telling a great story.

I think one of the things I enjoy the most about working the media beat is that I get to hear about the successes and failures that each one of these story tellers experience. They hone their craft by learning from others, and applying it.

One of the consistent themes I hear from all of those storytellers I've chatted with is that, when the story is so important, so crucial to tell, that the added pressure is 10-fold. But when the story is told well, and the story at its core is so much more important … that tears can be shed, that mountains can move and that souls can be filled.

Well, here my friends, we need souls to fill, to burn so brightly and to soar.

In March 2013, I wrote a story about a small film project, involving Milwaukee native Michael Kenyon, who co-produced a story that sheds a little light on what foster children and volunteers get out of the experience of a week at a Royal Family KIDS camp.

"There's a huge need for people to step up and love these abused and neglected children. There is no other medium like a movie that can entertain and encourage people to become engaged," said the film's writer and director Jacob Roebuck.

The film had theatrical releases, gained great buzz and came out on DVD before the holiday season. It is available on Netflix and Blu-ray, and I had the opportunity to sit down and take in the film last week.

This project has to go beyond just being an entertaining story, it has to tell the struggles that our forgotten children face as a reality … not just a plot device … and it has to move people.

This movie does that, and then some.

Although you'd hate to separate the story telling from the core need of the story itself, I find that I have to. I have to make sure that these wonderful children actors know how well of a job they did to tell the story of others who face more in their childhood than anyone should do in a lifetime. The actors, the crew members, the producers and those who also worked on the film, already knew the story needed to be told. They were the ones who stepped up to the additional pressure, applied the skills of their craft and went over and beyond.

It shows it on the screen.

With this film, it has to entertain, and it has to inspire.

When you want to see a film to enjoy, and share with a family something of substance that can deal with harsh subject matter, then please check out the film.

If you are looking for something to share with the family, ask what can each of you do to help make this world a better place, then watch the film and find out more on how you can help with Royal Family Kids camps.

Wayne Tesch, who created the camps to work with foster children, has been asked if a week can really be enough to make a difference. He usually turns the question on the other end, remarking that the hardship that the child has gone through only took about an instant.

Can watching a DVD make a difference? Can a week in a child's life make a difference?

I hope all of you can find the same answer I did after taking in this effort.

Talkbacks

SteveKabelowsky | Jan. 21, 2014 at 1:45 a.m. (report)

Thanks Jim for sharing. I agree, a series of stories on foster care would be great. I'm working on a number of other fronts right now, and if everything comes together, I'd love to do it. In the meantime, keep calm and carry on.

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TosaJim | Jan. 20, 2014 at 3:17 p.m. (report)

My daughter and her husband did foster care for years...they ended up adopting (3) of their foster kids and have (2) biological kids too....all (5) kids are wonderful and are living happily together. Foster care is so important. Many of these kids need a break...they need a loving, safe, family environment....great article. I wish OnMilwaukee could do a series on Foster Care...the more people find out about it..the better.

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