Sometime, when people are considering multiple camp options they will ask us a question like “what makes you unique?” or “how are you different from other camps?”.
For us that is a very difficult question to answer. For one, we really appreciate the work that is done by all the Christian summer camps in the Christian Camp and Conference Association. We are all trying to accomplish the same purposes and to say we are unique, sometimes sounds like we think we’re better than others…and we don’t think we are. But another reason is that there isn’t necessarily one thing that makes Miracle Camp unique.
Rather, it’s a combination of things that makes us unique.
We think that the most unique thing about us isn’t a thing at all…but rather an atmosphere that’s created by four strategies that we employ as we create each event and train our staff. We think of it kind of like a recipe. There are many recipes to make chocolate chip cookies, but my wife’s chocolate chip cookies are unique and, for me, are the perfect combination. We think that our “recipe” of how to do camps and retreats is kind of like that.
We believe that it is every single person’s job to serve the guests that come to Miracle Camp. We don’t view people as our customers, in fact, we try to never say the word “customer”. We believe that everyone is our guest and we hope to treat them like that. We want to smile, go the extra mile to serve others, listen to requests, respond quickly to any problems, anticipate needs, and much more. We think that our staff is consistently one of the most friendly, hospitable staff teams around. My favorite story is from a few years ago when a group arrived at 1am and realized that they had forgotten some of their supplies. One of our staff at the time, Kyle, told them to give him a list of what they needed and he made a trip to Walmart (at 1am!!!!) to get what they needed so they could get rest. Our stories aren’t always this out of the ordinary, but we do think that you’ll get a big smile when you check in and that our staff will take your needs seriously.
This is a very difficult strategy to define, because to each person it is different. But in general, we try to reach a balance between what is quality and what is affordable. There are many places that are quality, but are expensive and many places that are affordable, but lack quality. So we try to be as nice as possible, while still remaining affordable for the average person. We think we’ve done a pretty good job at this. All of our buildings are air conditioned, heated, and have bathrooms with each room (rather than walking outside). We received a donation of mattresses from Tempurpedic which gives us affordable, yet quality beds. In all areas, food, lodging, activities, meeting space, etc, we seek to find this balance of functionality, cost, and excellence.
We have found that creativity isn’t as complicated as it sounds. And often, creativity is simply improving something that already exists. Take Apple for instance, they weren’t the first company to think of a tablet, a smartphone, a smart watch, or a device that plays digital music. But they were the most creative. We like to take things that we see or things that we already have an improve them in creative ways and turn them into something that people love. This is why our waterfront (in our opinion) has structures that have been creatively designed with a large floating blob tower that also includes a waterslide. It’s why our zip line and tower have been designed to cut down on waiting times and walking distances. It’s why our high ropes course has stairs to get in rather than a system that takes 45 minutes for everyone to reach the course. And it’s why we install sound systems, fire rings, and benches in so many places…they’re all creative improvements.
This, of course, is the most important thing to us. Without this, we feel that the first three strategies have gone to waste. We believe that God’s word (the Bible) must be preached and preached with authority. When we look for speakers we don’t necessarily look for excellent speakers (though that is important)…we look for people who have a commitment to preaching the Bible. We believe that God speaks to people’s hearts through his word, and that his word speaks powerfully. And so we carefully make sure there are times for people to listen to God through his word in multiple settings.
So there you have it…we’re not unique at all. Many places do things like this. But we do think that you’ll find our special combination of ingredients to be quite unique, special, and will leave you wanting to taste more!