Born on a Baseball Field
Run Home Camps was born on a baseball field, where dreams became a reality.
HISTORY – The story of Run Home Camps began in the childhood mind of our founder, Nick Miller. Looking back on this time, Nick reflects that “I’ve always had a heart for the underdog.” With a life-long love for baseball and the camaraderie that it creates for people from all social, racial, and economic backgrounds, Nick envisioned a place where society’s forgotten children could come and experience love and acceptance like never before.
Nick began sharing his vision with Matt Lushko, the local (Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Director. Matt says that he “saw the passion” in Nick’s eyes, and he decided that it was a “perfect fit” for FCA. With support from the local social service agencies, the Laurel Highlands FCA sponsored the first Run Home Camp for 19 ecstatic boys in the summer of 2013.
Through the years many children have experienced the “best week of summer” and they look forward with great anticipation to the next year’s camp. Early in 2020, Run Home Camps became a registered non-profit corporation with the hope of sharing their fantastic format with other willing groups all across the country while continuing their local Johnstown, PA camps each year.
STAFF AND CASEWORKER TESTIMONIALS
"Children that participate in the program speak highly of the activities, and look forward to repeating that one week in the summer all year round. As an individual that works to serve the community, and by doing so must select services that tailor to the needs of a child and their caregivers, I would advocate for Run Home Camp as a befitting opportunity for any families on my caseload.”
“The Run Home Baseball Camp also taught these young men baseball skills, team work, following rules, and self-discipline that can be applied in their daily lives. Many of these young men made friendships and connections with similar-aged peers that are dealing with the same issues in their lives. All the counselors did a fantastic job on and off the baseball diamond to display support and confidence that was needed by each youth.”
“I just wanted to send a thank you for the wonderful week you provided to the boys at Run Home Camp last month. One of our CASA volunteers stopped in to let me know that the child he advocates for attended and had a wonderful week. This young man rarely has anything positive to share but couldn't have been more excited about his experience at camp.”
CASA Program Director
There are so many stories and quotes about the amazing, positive, life-changing experiences from camp.
In this section we will share a few of those.
(Names have been changed to protect the identity of the children.)
It was a very difficult time for Joey. He had been severely abused and was ultimately abandoned by his mother. He then returned to the home of his father who had previously struggled with neglect. The court ordered that Joey attend a few camps that summer, including Run Home Camps. When he arrived, he was quiet and awkward and wanted nothing to do with the activities. He was convinced that he would have a horrible week. He did everything in his power to leave the camp on that first day. Since this was a pattern with this boy, one of his caseworkers was so concerned that she showed up on the day of camp to check on him. After being amazed that he was still there, her jaw dropped as she saw him on the field, participating with the other campers! This was a child that said that he hated baseball and would not consider himself an athlete at all. After a difficult first day, he realized that the staff truly cared about him and that each day there were more and more fun activities that focused on celebrating him as a person. With each passing day, this boy began to show more and more of his great personality. He was having fun and making positive memories, possibly for the first time in his life! At the end of the week, he made the final catch to win the game for his team, and he asked to speak on the megaphone to everyone, thanking them for such a great experience! He then returned home and was an honor student the next year in school! We got to see Joey one more time the next summer. This time, instead of a sullen look, he came back with a huge smile on his face “I’m back for round two!”
After a great week of camp one of the boys loudly proclaimed, “This is the best week of my life!”
After only a few hours at camp, one of the campers said, “When I grow up, I’m going to have a camp just like this for kids!”
A common quote from our campers: “Every day is more fun!”
After spending a night in a ‘real’ bed for the first time, Billy says, “This is the nicest bed I’ve ever had!”
Said one thoughtful 9 year old, “I wish I was 7. Then I would get to come back five more times, but I ONLY get to come back three more!”
After opening his birthday present: “Wow, a new glove!”