Military dad surprises his children at summer camp with emotional homecoming

Stephen Boissey reuniting with his children at Camp Hanes. (Photo credit YMCA Camp Hanes)

Kids attending YMCA Camp Hanes in North Carolina won’t soon forget Thursday night. During the camp’s closing campfire, Army National Guard Sergeant Stephen Boissey surprised his two children with an emotional homecoming.

Boissey, a Winston-Salem police officer and Army service member, reached out to camp executive director Jen de Ridder when he learned he would be returning home from his year-long Middle East deployment during the summer.

According to de Ridder, Boissey thought surprising his kids at camp would be a special moment for all, so he, his wife and de Ridder began to plan.

Stephen Boissey's children at Camp Hanes. (Photo credit YMCA Camp Hanes)

During a skit at Thursday night’s campfire, the staff arranged for Boissey to be hiding in a box on stage. When his stepdaughter Allison and his son Jase, were picked from the campfire audience to see what was inside, they found their dad hiding there.

“There were a lot of joyous tears,” de Ridder tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “His son Jase did not let him go, he was holding onto him so tight.”

“As a camp community we just started cheering for them,” de Ridder says, noting that she was standing with Boissey’s wife toward the back, so they didn’t spoil the surprise.

Boissey himself had been a counselor at the camp, and after the surprise, he enjoyed the campfire tradition alongside his kids. “My favorite part was just seeing their faces and getting to hug them after being away for so long,” Boissey tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“It was pretty cool to provide them with this moment,” de Ridder tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Everyone in a military family is a hero.”

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