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Camp Confidence creates community for children who have been abused

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The following statistics may be shocking, but they are real.

Did you know that 2 in 3 adults who struggle with substance abuse were physically or sexually abused as children?

Did you now that 1 in 3 children who are abused or neglected grow up to continue that cycle - abusing their spouses or children?

Did you know that Camp Confidence is the first camp of its kind in the country attempting to break this cycle and create an environment where abused kids can simply be kids?

The Keith Edmonds Foundation is gearing up for their inaugural Camp Confidence next month.

Camp Confidence is the brainchild of child abuse survivor Keith Edmonds. It will be a day-camp held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 11, at Cumberland University in Lebanon.

Although the camp is based in Wilson County, it will be open to campers ages 8-12 from other Middle Tennessee counties. Referrals will come through Judge Barry Tatum and the Department of Children's Services.

"Camp Confidence doesn't exist right now in the country," Edmonds said. "This is something I needed as a kid."

Edmonds reiterated that children who are abused or neglected deal with feelings of anger, loneliness and alienation.

Edmonds has experienced all three. As an infant, abuse nearly took Edmonds' life when his tiny face was held to a heater by his mom's boyfriend.

As a result, Edmonds abused substances as a teen and adult.

"I remember my high school wrestling coach always talking with me. He was a man of faith and was always saying that God is the answer. I didn't listen," he said. However, several years ago, Edmonds became a Christian and said it changed his life.

His wrestling coach is now traveling to Tennessee from Michigan in July to give introductory remarks at Camp Confidence.

"We want to connect these kids with empowered survivors and create a community. This is where the transition starts," Edmonds said. "This is an opportunity where a kid can be a kid and let their guard down."

The camp will be run by volunteers who have completed background checks and trauma training.

Edmonds stressed that the camp is going to be a great time - with self-esteem building, arts and sports.

"We need the community to support this camp," he said.

He hopes the camp will grow. He is already planning monthly activities for the children in months that follow.

"We want to do a bonfire in August and a bowling night, Halloween party in October," he said, noting the September activity will be a game night, with the theme of Minute to Win It. Each monthly event will have a theme and a take away for the child. "The camp is going to be great, but we are going to continue the community afterward."

Edmonds foresees the camp growing not only across the Volunteer State, but nationwide.

If you wish to donate to Camp Confidence, contact Edmonds at (615) 651-0714 or via e-mail at keith@keithedmondsfoundation.org. Checks can be mailed to the Keith Edmonds Foundation at 155 Legends Drive, Suite J, Lebanon, TN 37087.

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