Gift Of Love: Ricky - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/9/04-Lindale

Gift Of Love: Ricky

March is a time when students get to take a little spring break from school. For some, that means a family trip, but for foster children, it may just be more time alone. This past spring break was anything but that for one East Texas child in the state's care. Ricky was invited to attend SCADDA's spring break camp. SCCADA stands for Sister Communities Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Although Ricky is still waiting to find his forever family, the camp was a week this young boy won't soon forget.

Tucked away off county road 325 in Lindale is the Rockin' C Ranch. Recently, for one week, it became home to dozens of East Texas middle school students attending SCCADA's spring break camp. "It's a period of time when there is so much transformation and transition that these middle school students need some kind of guidance and assistance helping them develop into who they are," says Charlene Shreder the camp director. One of the campers is 12 year old Ricky. A foster child from Smith County. "You get to make stuff, likes arts and crafts," says Ricky. Ricky is very creative and stays focused when working on a project. This week, he's been canoeing, hiking and fishing; one of his favorite activities. He even learned how to bake. "He's very good about participating in every activity that we have. He likes to have a lot of fun."

Charlene goes on to say, "Ricky is a very sweet boy and he's been very athletic very energetic." In fact, Ricky would some day like to be a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys, of course. It's probably safe to say that being an actual cowboy probably isn't in Ricky's future given his experiences this week with horse back riding.

"At first I was nervous. Then, I thought I'd get a little horse and I got a big horse. Then, I got the same horse two days in a row and now I'm not nervous any more," says Ricky. Learning to conquer his fear is one of the things he learned at this camp. Charlene explains, "I think that's what we focus on is the self esteem and self confidence. We give them skills to make them feel better about themselves and let them know that they can do things and accomplish goals."

It's perfect for Ricky who struggles with self esteem from his past. He was removed from his home about two years ago because of abuse and neglect. But he's a healthy boy and wants a better life. "I hope I have a family that loves me," he says with a hopeful smile. This week has been very rewarding for Ricky. His team even won a big trophy during a singing contest one night. It's also been a busy week and, by the end, Ricky was running out of steam. Despite maybe a lack of sleep, Ricky is encouraged to stay positive, not giving up on finding the Gift of Love. Charlene says, "I think for all kids of this age, and particularly foster kids, they're looking for where they fit in and for one week they fit in everywhere just like everybody else."

It costs $500 for a student to attend camp. Ricky was able to go thanks to Tyler law firm Roberts & Roberts who sponsored him. It was a memorable week. If you'd like to know more about Ricky, adoption or fostering a child, call our Gift of Love hotline. The toll free number is 1-888-kids-275.

Gillian Sheridan, reporting.
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