Always All Smiles on Day 6

Hands of Hope Blog

Around January each year, foster mom Tiffany McKnatt hops online and starts searching for summer fun
for her girls. Tiffany fosters teenaged girls—20 over the last 11 years—and she is a fierce advocate for
finding healing opportunities for the kids in her care.

“One of the things I truly believe in,” Tiffany says, “is kids heal when they get to be a kid.”
Several years ago, Tiffany stumbled across SpringHill Camp, a weeklong adventure in the woods, where
kids can connect with Jesus, explore new interests, and just be kids. SpringHill’s team seeks to help each
camper “feel loved for their uniqueness,” and its mission is to “glorify God by creating life-impacting
experiences that enable young people to know Jesus Christ and to grow in their relationship with Him.”
Tiffany received scholarships to send two of her girls to SpringHill Camp that year. The girls had a blast,
and Tiffany loves watching kids blossom after they come home.

“I picked [one foster daughter] up, and her and her counselor were doing a song and dance,” Tiffany
says. “Whatever they were doing,” she laughs, “I bet I heard it 30 times over the next two weeks!”
Throughout the week, SpringHill campers can participate in an array of favorite or newly discovered
activities. Canoeing, crafting, and horseback-riding are all options on the menu—drama nights and high-
ropes-wrangling, too. Each day also includes dedicated time in scripture, with time to process what’s
been studied.

Tiffany says her girls have each felt differently about the idea of camp before going…but so far, everyone
has left the same way. “When I pull through those gates six days later to pick them up,” she says, “they
are laughing and smiling and asking, ‘can I go to camp again next year?’ Every one of them—no matter
how reluctant they are on day one—are all smiles on day six.”

While her kids are enjoying their time away, Tiffany has been able to relax, recalibrate, and connect with
other girls who call her house home. One year during camp, the single mama was able to travel to a
family reunion that she would have been unable to attend had her kids not had a safe place to go. This
year, one of her girls has turned 18 and graduated early. She and Tiffany are planning to celebrate,
spending the week of camp under the sun and on the sand. “We are dropping the kids off and driving
straight to the ocean,” Tiffany says, laughing. “I’m going to pray that my minivan makes it.”

Tiffany’s definition of family has evolved over the last decade. Her three biological children have moved
into adulthood and out on their own, while her home has remained full of life.

“A piece of paper does not make you a family,” Tiffany says. “We do family different here, and this is our
beautiful chaos, and you are welcome as long as you want to be here.”

“My calling and my ministry is fostering,” she adds. “I had a tough childhood, but I overcame because I
had people who came in and helped me… I want to stand in the gap.”

If you would like to stand in the gap for a kid in foster care, Hands of Hope wants YOU to help by
providing a scholarship to SpringHill Camp. Click HERE to learn more and help support families like