“The happiest place on Earth"
After suffering years of sexual abuse, Kylie found solace, hope and a spiritual awakening at Camp Homelani.
“The happiest place on Earth isn’t Disneyland, it’s Camp Homelani,” says Kylie, recalling her first time attending the camp. That year, the camp theme was revolution—a word that would translate into an action for Kylie, and help ease the internal churning of fear and contempt from her abuse.
From a very young age, Kylie was molested by a person very close to her—someone she trusted. The abuse escalated as she grew older. “I felt so fearful and I didn’t know what I could do or say.”
As the abuse became overwhelming, Kylie had a hard time functioning in day-to-day life. She tried to stay consistent for her family, especially for her mother. “Things were already difficult for my mom who was a single parent of three children. So, I always tried to do what I could to help her,” Kylie remembers. “I kept the abuse a secret—I kept it from my mom, from everyone. I was scared of what people would say or if they would think this was my fault. I developed this fire inside of me. I didn’t trust anyone. It was hard for me to build relationships.”
The caring community of people and resources at Camp Homelani, as well as the Kahului Corps, provided Kylie with a haven for healing. “I felt safe,” she explains. “My youth leader was so supportive. She was always there for me. The Corps and Camp Homelani is where I was able to share my story and tell people about what I went through, and, when I did, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I want to tell everyone who’s suffering with abuse to find support. To tell them not to hold it in or hide it. Talk to someone and find help like I did.”
Kylie found hope, for the first time in a very long time, at Camp Homelani. She learned to trust again, build new relationships, and was delivered a comforting grace and courage through her renewed faith. “I remember the exact moment and the exact seat I was in when I accepted Jesus,” she says. “After Camp, I was able to be myself. I was able to have a life again. I didn’t have to feel fearful or distrusting. I know that with Jesus, I can do anything and overcome everything.”
Today, Kylie is the Youth Director at the Kahului Corps. She works to enrich and inspire the lives of children and teenagers, while providing them with a safe place and healing resources. “Overcoming everything I went through and the support I received when I was younger makes me feel for these kids,” says Kylie. “Without Camp and without The Salvation Army, I don’t know who or where I would be now. I think every child should experience Camp Homelani.”