Monthly Archives

February 2019

Camp Aide Program

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Want to experience Summer Camp as more than just a camper? Our two-week Camp Aide discipleship program is for students going into 10th – 12th grades. This opportunity gives students a chance to work with kids, serve around camp, and grow in their relationship with God.

As a Camp Aide, you will not only have a blast for two weeks of Summer Camp, but you will gain leadership experience as you interact with kids and shadow Cabin Leaders. Also, you will work with a team of other Camp Aides, completing projects and serving where needed around camp. Most importantly, you will grow spiritually through biblical teaching, small group time, praise and worship, and personal devotions.

Junior Frank Smith says the best part of camp aiding “was getting the chance to be spiritually involved in others’ lives and being able to develop a relationship both with the kids and the staff.” He loved getting to know the campers and his peers, as well as being mentored by the staff who were older than him. He adds, “This last summer I developed a really strong relationship with the camp aide director and now he is a trusted friend, but also a guide and an example.”

A highlight of the summer for sophomore Jayton Alger “was the bonding time with fellow camp aides and the cabin leaders.” She says she grew in her views of worship and enjoyed the worship nights with the assistant cabin leaders.

Forming relationships is a large part of Camp Aiding. Each Camp Aide gets to invest in campers’ lives by being paired with a cabin. Senior Jenna King’s favorite part was getting to know the girl campers each week. She says, “having the chance to learn about each of their lives was incredible, and it was amazing to hear their questions and ideas about their devos and the chapel sessions.”

Frank found that he grew through spending constant time with God and watching Him work. “Watching kids develop a relationship with God and have those “ah-ha!” moments is really cool” he shares. “I’ve seen many people truly affected by camp, including myself!”

Jenna discovered much in her time as a Camp Aide: “I learned a lot about how God can use people in smaller ways to help push towards a bigger goal. In my mind, I’ve always pictured our job as believers to be guiding people all the way to salvation, but during camp I saw how it’s a journey made up of so many people, and how sometimes God uses us to plant the seeds, sometimes to harvest, and sometimes to help them grow. It was really cool because on the second day of camp I read John 3-4, and the section of the workers and the harvest in John 4 really embodies this.”

Do you want to be a Camp Aide this coming summer? Applications are due March 15th, so be sure to get yours in!

Equipping and Leading

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Ministry Leadership
Camp ministry has always intrigued Doug because he describes himself as “a ministry nerd.” You may have seen him around camp where he is often working behind-the-scenes. Doug is the Ministry Lead at Miracle Camp, a position involving many aspects. With a main objective of ensuring the health and sustainability of the staff that lives and works year-round, he ministers to the staff while working with the Experience Team in responsibility for the guest experience.

In 2009, he finished his Biblical Studies degree while working with a janitorial business and helping church plant where he would eventually join full time staff as an Executive Pastor. He says that “through my years serving and learning at Christ the King Church, I was able to see a bigger vision for ministry than I previously held.”

When Miracle Camp created the new Ministry Lead position, this seemed like a job right down his alley. He was already familiar with the camp as a guest and FEC pastor, and he knew of Miracle Camp’s reputation of quality and hospitality to guests. As another facet of his role, Doug is building the intern program – recruiting, training, and equipping the interns to prepare them for the direction God has for them.

Vision
The purpose of the internship is to give students who aspire to do ministry a year to set a course for their life’s work. Most of the training experienced in college or the field is useful and specific. Many times, students need time to practice, get feedback, learn some basic 21st century life skills and set a course for work and ministry that will sustain them for the long term, which is where the internship comes in. This means discovering gifts and developing a life plan, but it also involves practical aspects like budgeting and calendaring.

In a sense, the internship philosophy is to learn by doing, which means plenty of opportunities for growth, feedback, and discovery. Doug acknowledges that camping ministry is extremely broad, so “we have a huge ministry sandbox to play in here,” offering students who are pursuing vocational ministry the chance to develop their gifts and translate those into a role with experience under their belts. Gaining confidence planning events, working behind the scenes, and working with our wide range of guests here is the perfect environment to learn and grow. In turn, Miracle Camp hopes to be a resource to local churches and ministries who are looking for qualified interns ready to transition into positions of leadership.

The MCRC Summer Camp Staff Alumni include more church leaders across the Midwest than we can keep track of—our Executive Director being one of the many. Our internship, similarly, has a lineage of people who are in cross-cultural missions, local church leadership and para-church ministries. We want to see God grow leaders through our ministry pipeline here at Miracle Camp, and building the internship is a huge part of that happening.

Miracle Camp and Beyond
Each of the intern roles involve some common opportunities such as emceeing an event, coordinating the young adult weekend, taking out trash, cutting grass, snow removal, cleaning, organizing, and completing administrative tasks. Additionally, each internship has an area of focus where they will spend their time working within one of the three teams on the Miracle Camp staff.

Do you or does someone you know have a desire to gain experience in camping ministry? Check out the positions below to see if one of these areas may be a good fit for you!

  • Guest Service & Administration
  • Digital Design
  • Camping & Hospitality

Check back to our website in mid-late March for more information about the intern program!

Doug Shell is a former summer camp prankster like any good church kid. God called him to ministry in high school and he proceeded to spend a decade attending three Bible colleges, earning one degree and a lot of stories to tell as a result. Some of the more fun ones involve being on a team that started a coffee shop and planted a church. He and his wife Melissa have three boys and their family moved to Michigan about a year ago from their hometown of Cincinnati.

A Recipe for Discovery

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They both came to Miracle Camp with a desire to learn about culinary arts, hope for direction for their next steps, and with the same name. While they share these qualities, Katie and Kaity ended up here in unique ways, each bringing their own strengths and abilities to the team.

The Details
Although Katie Rice is from Idaho, Miracle Camp was a large part of her history because her family lived in Paw Paw for eight years when her father was the Youth Pastor at Lawton Evangelical Church. Because she came to Miracle Camp for youth group retreats and her family’s close connection to the FEC, her mother discovered the internship from a Facebook post.

Kaity Renzema, on the other hand, grew up 20 minutes away from Miracle Camp in Vicksburg, MI. She came to summer camp as a camper in 2009, and some friends told her about the internship opportunity. At the time she applied, she was looking to obtain culinary skills to use in an overseas mission setting.

The Draw
Katie was finishing high school when she knew she wanted to pursue cooking and baking. As she neared her graduation date, she decided to apply for the internship. Besides the draw to the Christian aspect and positive environment of camp, she knew this internship would be a great opportunity to determine if she truly wanted to pursue cooking and baking.

Due to Kaity’s interest in culinary arts, she prayed about the Miracle Camp internship opportunity after some prior plans did not transpire. Believing the Lord provided this opening, she applied to gain more of a culinary perspective. She knew she needed basic culinary skills, and especially wanted to discover the behind-the-scenes of cooking for large groups of people.

The Discovery
The culinary arts internship has been a beneficial opportunity for these two. Under the direction of the Dining Services Director, Katie says she “increased her knowledge of culinary arts and learned a lot from Beau.” For example, Kaity mentioned gaining knife skills and realizing its necessity to being in the kitchen. Their main responsibilities included but were not limited to preparing and serving guest meals and learning how to lead meal shifts.

Beyond culinary skills, this internship focuses on areas of personal and spiritual growth. As part of the team, the interns learn together in a weekly morning meeting to discuss biblical content, life application to current and future roles, and the status of personal and work-related growth. These conversations enable good dialogue and provide positive challenges in a multitude of areas. Additionally, Katie and Kaity’s participation in a women’s discipleship time brings much value to weekly studies. Kaity notes, “I’ve learned a lot not just about culinary, but about myself and my relationship with God. Plus, I’ve made some really good friends.”

The people at camp play a large role in the internship experience. Guest interaction as well as the staff who are like family have impacted both Katie and Kaity, making the people and the atmosphere of Miracle Camp their favorite parts of the internship. “It’s a joyful and powerful place,” Katie emphasizes.

As the end of their internship nears, Katie and Kaity are in the process of applying to other camps. Kaity always knew she wanted to be involved in ministry, but this program helped her discover her excitement for camping ministry. In addition to camp possibilities, Katie hopes to find a position at a bakery.

Check back here in mid-late March for more details about our 2019 intern program!

Katie Rice is from Nampa, Idaho, and graduated high school just 17 days before moving to Miracle Camp for the internship program. She plans to pursue other camp opportunities or find a position at a bakery closer to home. Katie finds joy in coloring books, reading, baking, and experimenting with new recipes.

Kaity Renzema grew up in Vicksburg, Michigan. Prior to interning, she finished high school and worked in the custodial department at her local library. She plans to pursue other camp ministry opportunities or a job in the area. Kaity loves everything involving musical theatre, playing instruments, reading, board games, and knitting.

The Right Timing

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What may have seemed like a delay in plans turned into a perfectly timed adventure. Margaret had eagerly just begun her first summer on Summer Staff in 2017 when three days after arriving to training, she broke her leg. Though she assumed her chance to serve at camp had come to an end, the Lord had different plans. As He continued to place thoughts of camp on her heart, some friends strongly encouraged her to look into the intern program.

Passion

Growing up in an FEC church, Margaret has been coming to camp since 3rd grade. Her love for Miracle Camp and its mission was rooted in her since she first attended and grew deeper through her years as a camper and then Camp Aide. Now, “the intern program has given me the opportunity to serve a place I deeply love,” she says. Most importantly she loves being “a part of the mission of furthering the gospel at camp throughout all seasons.”

Growth

The intern program was the next right step for Margaret in a variety of ways. After graduating from Taylor in 2017 with degrees in Christian Ministry and Biblical Literature and working at Upland Community Church for a year, she was not sure of her next steps. The opportunity to join the intern program supplied possibilities to explore different potential career areas while also working a job that she loved. Gaining experience in various areas is a significant component of the program. Specifically, Margaret has grown in her hospitality skills through working in the office, with guest groups, programmed events, and running activities. She loves “being able to help further the overall mission of Miracle Camp by taking care of the smaller, behind the scenes things.”

The Right Timing

Breaking her leg appeared to be a devastating turn of events; little did she know what awaited her only a year later. Margaret stepping into the intern program was a matter of God’s timing. In this setting, she is gaining experience in ministry with people and various kinds of work. In addition, she says, “I’m learning more about myself and my Savior. I’m surrounded by people who truly care about me and how I’m growing, both as a person and in my faith.” Growing in these ways aided her in the decision to stay for a second year in the internship. Staying for a second year is beneficial for multiple reasons. She adds, “Rather than facing another learning curve, knowing how things already work frees you up to grow deeper in the skill sets you’ve already started developing.”

Margaret’s story is a testament to how God works despite circumstances and uses them in ways even better than we can imagine.

Check back here in mid-late March for more details about our 2019 intern program!

Margaret Gruendyke is from Upland, IN, though her family currently lives in Whittier, CA. She graduated in 2017 from Taylor University with degrees in Christian Ministry and Biblical Literature. Before beginning the internship program, she worked as the Youth Ministry Associate at Upland Community Church. Margaret plans to complete a second-year internship at Miracle Camp. She is passionate about American History, all things British, books, baseball, and baking.