Previously published in the 2017 Ouachitonian yearbook.
One week into summer break, and Titus Brooks was living in a cabin, preparing to meet and invest in hundreds of kids for the summer at Kids Across America, or KAA. What was a life-changing experience for Brooks as a child was now an opportunity for him to impart on other kids. Brooks, a senior accounting major from Houston, Texas, said he served as the youngest counselor on staff for KAA. He spent his summers working with campers for the last five years.
“KAA is a Christian sports camp that has had a big part of my heart ever since I went as a kid,” Brooks said.
It taught children and youth to get out of their shell and have fun, while also growing in their Christian faith. Kids were encouraged to be leaders and share their faith with others. They also learned how to incorporate their faith into everything they did in life. At KAA, Brooks was able to invest in the next generation.
Starting off as a camper at KAA, Brooks developed a new understanding of what life looked like as a Christian, leading him to join the staff after high school.
“I enjoy it because when I was growing up I thought being a Christian was boring, so when I went to camp for the first time I wasn’t necessarily excited,” Brooks said. “Then, I got to camp and realized it’s possible to be fun while still being a Christian.”
This realization is where his passion for KAA all began. Not only did coming to camp mold his relationship with God, it pushed him to get out of his comfort zone and contributed to his personality today.
In addition to working at camp each summer, Brooks has also been able to work with Higher Ground, an organization under KAA. With Higher Ground, he is able to go on mission trips both nationwide and worldwide with his campers alongside him. He has traveled to Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas, Alabama. He also had the opportunity to visit other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands.
“It’s fun but is also hard because of our lack of sleep in-between our packed days while I am still working as a counselor to my campers during our mission work,” Brooks said.
The relationships formed between Brooks and his campers continued to grow outside of camp.
“I love talking to my campers throughout the year and we become like family,” Brooks said. “They even refer to me as their uncle.”
He is able to talk to the guys abut what it looks like to be a man of God and teach them how to live a different lifestyle than that of mainstream society.
“The summers I’ve spent investing in these guys have changed my life too and I am able to live to a higher standard because of what I expect from the campers as they leave camp.”
By Samantha Boyd
Photo by Andy Henderson
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