Inmates Spend Quality Time With Their Kids
Inmates at the Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution showed a much softer side Saturday. The One Day with God Camp is a unique opportunity for prisoners to spend a day with their children outdoors.
Lucas Rash says he looks forward to this day more than any other day of the year. He's been waiting to see his six-year-old son, Logan. Many fathers meet their children for the first time at the camp. Some fathers won't get any visitors at all. But, Lucas and Logan look forward to this day every summer.
"You can't have much physical contact with him, you get to hug him when you get there and hug him when you leave," says Lucas about the monthly visits Logan usually gets to make. "But here, he's rolling all over me. We're playing with each other and we get to spend us time."
Lucas says he really gets a chance to notice how quickly his son is growing during these visitations. Forgiven Ministry plans a day full of games, projects, guest speakers and even a birthday party for the celebrations these fathers have missed.
"I love this day, I am so passionate about this day," says Scottie Barnes, the founder of the camp.
"My dad went to prison when I was four, in and out of prison all my life and did die in a federal prison when I was 42. It was a year before he died that he told me he loved me," says Scottie.
She began the camp in hopes of helping fathers establish a stronger relationship with their children. Over 12 years of camps, which have spread to prisons around the country, she has helped more than 10,000 kids get to know their fathers better.
Statistically, children of prisoners are five times more likely to end up in the same place. Lucas and Logan believe this camp helps them take a step in a different direction.
"Even when I don't notice him watching me, I know he's watching me," says Lucas.
Lucas spent the day setting a good example for his son as they raced around the yard, played tug of war and cheered their teammates on.
"He's a great daddy," Logan said to his dad, with a big smile on his face.
"I think you're a great little dude," Lucas said. "You're my favorite person ever. You're my best friend."
Scottie Barnes received an award from the Prison Fellowship at the camp Saturday. The Angel Tree Star of Victory Award recognizes the courage and accomplishments of a person who has overcome the adversity of a parent's incarceration.
By: Hope Hanselman
Follow Hope on Twitter @HopeNews13.