Growing up, I always looked forward to summer. Not only was school out, but it usually meant I got to go to summer camp. I went to three different summer camps during my youth and worked at one.
Although I think back on my times at summer camp with fondness, none of them were quite like Camp Grace. And no camp had a celebration quite like Camp Grace’s Yellow Day. Both the camp and the day of celebration are the inspiration for the 2015 partially animated movie titled Yellow Day, starring Drew Seeley (Broadway’s “Little Mermaid”), Lindsey Shaw (“10 Things I Hate About You”), and Ashley Boettcher (“Outmatched”).
Camp Grace is a real camp, located in Mobile, Alabama, and they do have an annual Yellow Day celebration. According to their website, the camp is situated on more than 220 acres and their “mission is to create a fun and adventurous environment that existing camps and organizations can use for their campers and participants.”
Most of the camps that use Camp Grace offer “charitable and recreational camping experiences for children with health issues.” The campers are able to enjoy the site’s many amenities, including paddle boating, fishing, riding horses, playing volleyball, climbing the ropes course, and much more. Some of the different weeklong camp experiences include Camp M.A.S.H. for kids with arthritis, Camp Rap-a-Hope for kids battling cancer, Camp Sugar Falls for kids with diabetes, Camp Smile for kids who have special needs, and Camp Bluebird for adults with cancer.
However, Camp Grace is perhaps best known for its annual Yellow Day. Camper Krisanna Roberts, who died from a rare cancer at fifteen, inspired the annual celebration featuring family entertainment and fundraising. According to the website, “In the final six months of her life, she was not feeling well, and so the doctor’s asked her to use a color to describe days that were good. Krisanna chose Yellow. And in those last days, Krisanna chose to focus on the good things, and nearly every day was Yellow.
“Krisanna’s resilience inspired the idea of living in Yellow. The idea is that, even in the darkest moments, God has a plan for us and it is full of hope. To live in hope is to live in Yellow.”
On the website, the camp is described as a place where miracles occur and “where people see others as God sees them.” In the movie, Camp Grace’s director states, “It is said when praying on the Yellow Day heavenly visions beyond this world come without warning.”
And that’s where John’s (Seeley) quest begins … with a vision of a little girl who will serve as his guide.
“To many the Yellow Day was simply a celebration of all the good work at Camp Grace. But on the Yellow Day, to the souls who accept, the king’s promise came true and these souls in bearing witness to the light and to the dark would leave inspired and in turn inspire others – and this is the story of such a soul who above all desired to be good. Who because of his heart became in the eyes of God a knight. He did not know of the mysteries of the Yellow Day. He only knew that she, who he loved and lost, went there every year. And so this good man set out to find her unaware of the light to which he would bear witness. Unaware of the impending darkness.”
John, who also takes on the pseudonym James in the film, stops at a church to pray, but accidentally gets locked in overnight with Monica (Shaw), who is also there to pray. When they realize they’re stuck there for the night, John tries to learn more about Monica, who doesn’t trust him enough to share her name. As the night wears on, she opens up more about her life, including her time at and fondness for Camp Grace.
She compares him to Michelangelo’s “David”:
“You’re not a David. … Famous artist Michelangelo said that, ‘The sculpture was already in the marble. It was just waiting to be revealed.’ When he sculpted David, he came out with the perfect statue. … Look, some people are fully sculpted, some aren’t.”
A David is a true hero, a living example of faith, and someone who overcomes challenges and conquers doubt. John asks Monica how a person could become a David or “fully sculpted”? She responds by telling him that it would take a lot of work and prayer.
When they finally go to sleep, they lie down on adjacent pews. However, when John wakes up the following morning, Monica is already gone.
This starts John on his yearlong quest to find Monica, which leads him to Camp Grace and their Yellow Day celebration. Instead of finding Monica, he is welcomed by a young girl (Boettcher) who is an animated vision that assists him on his quest and serves as his guide around camp. During their time searching for Monica, John learns more about the camp, the day, and his guide.
But does he learn what happened to the one person he wants to find the most – Monica?
John Farrell is the Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org.
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