Category

Summer Camp

Present in the Details

By | Staff, Summer Camp | No Comments

The newest t-shirt arrivals hang at the front of the room. Everything from drawstring bags to stuffed animals to jogger sweatpants and hats line the shelves. The freezer is stocked with chipwiches – a Miracle Camp classic. Assistant Cabin Leader Emma Zenz places the finishing touch on the merchandise before turning the sign to “OPEN” as kids gather at the door. She runs the Trading Post, our camp store, which is an especially popular place during Summer Camp.

Emma can’t contain her excitement as she beams: “I LOVE my job.” She’s one of our 18 Assistant Cabin Leaders for the summer and is from Northwest Ohio. Emma’s involvement with Miracle Camp began over ten years ago, ever since she was old enough to attend: first as a camper, then a Camp Aide; simultaneously, her family has been a part of Family Camp for eight years. Her roots at Miracle Camp shaped her love for ministry, which she wants to pursue vocationally. When Summer Camp ends, she will begin her Freshman year at Moody Bible Institute studying Youth Ministry. Therefore, this summer job aligned perfectly with her hopes for the future.

The essence of being an Assistant Cabin Leader is to serve alongside the Cabin Leader so that they can lead the campers well. This means helping facilitate conversations, allowing the Cabin Leader to have one-on-one time with each camper, leading devotions on the Cabin Leader’s night off, and much more. Intentionality is huge regarding interacting with the campers because they are only with the cabins at specific times, such as meals and certain activities.

Each Assistant Cabin Leader has a specific job in addition to helping lead. Some are assigned roles in areas such as Hospitality, Outdoor Adventure, Lifeguarding, Health Office, and Shake Up Kalamazoo. In Emma’s job at the Trading Post, she oversees inventory, preorders, stocking, and opens during free time for campers to visit. “Specifically in my Trading Post job, I get to connect with a lot of campers,” Emma says. “I like to make it a safe and inviting place. Campers can come in knowing their company is wanted if they don’t have friends to hang out with.”

While Cabin Leaders see a more obvious side of spiritual growth in campers, Emma offers a unique perspective of Assistant Cabin Leaders. “We get to see God cultivate conversations not only in devos, but even in free time.” She goes on to describe that even though something may not be seen as “spiritual,” God is still present. “I’ve seen God unite cabins through games and dance parties,” she explains. “He can initiate conversations over ice cream; you don’t have to only be in chapel or small groups to talk about Him.”

The Assistant Cabin Leader role balances out the Cabin Leader role as each position focuses on different aspects, yet both put Christ at the center. Assistant Cabin Leaders are able to step in and bring a new energy or support their Cabin Leaders in the most helpful way, even through simple details. Emma notes that even the details are important when it comes to the bigger picture of the gospel. She loves getting excited about “the little things that help campers get excited. When we make the gospel something we get excited about as well, it’s contagious.”

To find out more about becoming a future Assistant Cabin Leader, click the button below!

Leading by Following

By | Staff, Summer Camp | No Comments

Meal-time chants. Dodgeball. Team-building. Afternoons on the water. Reading and reflection time. Worship and soaking in speaker messages. All these contribute to the familiarities of Summer Camp. The general structure sets the rhythm even though every week looks different from the next. “So much can happen inside each week,” Cabin Leader Kendall Miyakawa says. He enjoys the balance of an incredibly fun week while also leading the kids spiritually.

This summer is Kendall’s first experience with Miracle Camp. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he also spent seven years in Thailand, and considers both places his home. One of his high school teachers grew up coming to Miracle Camp and told him about the opportunity. Kendall is currently a sophomore at Taylor University, which is where he met several people who spent their summers at Miracle Camp. He discovered more details about working here from a friend and applied to be a Cabin Leader.

Now he’s about to wrap up a full summer of camp, reflecting on his time here and recognizing how God has been working: “I’ve had to learn a lot about finishing up one week, having expectations for how the next week is going to go, and learning to drop those.” Realizing that each camper comes with a different background and worldview, a large part of being a Cabin Leader has meant discovering what each camper needs and learning to connect in the best way, rather than walking into a week with a set plan. “You never know what direction a camper’s heart will go,” he notes. As a Cabin Leader, you need to “be sensitive to how the Lord is working inside each of your campers and do your best to meet their needs.”

The Cabin Leader role encompasses many aspects with one focus: pointing campers to Jesus. Miracle Camp trains each Cabin Leader to share Jesus, and weekly meetings occur to aid in that training and pray for opportunities to utilize it. This not only directly impacts the campers, but the Cabin Leaders get to carry that training over to relationships outside of Camp. As Cabin Leaders interact with campers, they are reminded to model the hospitality of Jesus. They embody this by connecting through one-on-ones, which are intentional times spent with each camper. This time is built into the schedule to listen to individual needs of the campers and speak the truth of Jesus over their lives. For Kendall, this involves asking questions and getting some perspective. He looks for relevant ways to share the Gospel as he listens to the Spirit for what each kid needs to hear.

Cabin Leaders begin their day with team prayer and personal devotional time. They implement their training as they pour into their campers by reflecting on chapel sessions, playing hard in games and activities, laughing together at meals, and meeting for one-on-ones. Sharing the gospel directly may not always happen, and Cabin Leaders may not see campers meet Jesus for the first time, but the training helps them prepare for those moments and glorify Christ through their actions. Kendall enjoys facilitating cabin discussions and seeing the campers invest in and encourage each other. One of his favorite parts of Summer Camp is seeing how campers arrive on Sunday and where they are when they leave on Saturday – the transformation that takes place. Cabin leaders have a unique front seat to the work God is doing in each of the campers. Miracle Camp is grateful for each Cabin Leader and their energy, intentionality, and servanthood as they exemplify Christ.

To find out more about becoming a future Cabin Leader, click the button below!

The Framework of Summer Camp

By | Staff, Summer Camp | No Comments

Planning details is both necessary and important, but when you work in an environment like Summer Camp, flexibility is a key part of the job description, especially for Olivia Gramling. She is one of two Assistant Program Directors for Summer Camp, serving alongside 11 other Program Office (PO) staff members. Her role is difficult to describe because essentially her job is to make everyone else’s job easier. She works to pick up the pieces to make sure the other staff can accomplish their jobs.

The PO is responsible for running Summer Camp. With this team, leadership is the focus as they plan Summer Camp along with Eric Rupp, the Program Director. Additionally, they serve by helping other staff members, coming up with ideas, and more.

Planning Summer Camp is no easy undertaking, and while the groundwork begins months in advance, much of the preparation takes place onsite. Officially, the PO members spend a week of intensive training before the rest of Summer Staff arrives for two weeks of training. Orientation is a large part of this time, as well as getting familiar with the team and the flow of camp. During this week, the brainstorming begins to form the big picture. “It all comes together when you’re together,” Olivia says. “You work off of each other.”

A typical day for the PO varies depending on the circumstances, but there is a general structure. They meet every morning to get on the same page and determine who needs help with what activities. The day is a mix of planning schedules for the next week, facilitating the current week, setting up and tearing down, and being available for any changes that arise. These regular assignments create a routine for the PO.

Olivia describes Miracle Camp as her “second home”; she began attending as a second grader and never missed a year. She heard about Camp through her friends and her church that is affiliated with the FEC. After participating as a camper, she became a Camp Aide, then a Summer Staff member before joining PO, making this her second year serving as Assistant Program Director. Olivia’s position fits her well because she enjoys the behind-the-scenes work and her love language is acts of service: “I get to minister to the staff, who ministers to the kids, and that’s what I want to do in life.” After this summer, Olivia will begin a year-long fellowship at Sky Ranch in Texas.

“When you’re hired at Miracle Camp,” Olivia goes on to say, “you know that everyone is here for the same reasons, especially on PO. We’re all in similar walks of life, figuring out our faith together, and I value that a lot.”

The other Program Office staff members are:

Tanner Young – Activities Coordinator
Gabe Short & Olivia Gramling – Assistant Program Directors
Natalie Hoffmire & Jason Kimball – Head Male & Female Cabin Leaders
Lyndsey Rupp – Videographer
Jacie Smeltzer – Photographer
Annie Niedeck & Brett Holder – Camp Aide Coordinators
Mallory Tyree – Chapel Coordinator
Ellie Rupp – Health Assistant
Sarah Faivre – Head Lifeguard

If you would like to find out more about Summer Camp employment, click the button below!

A Taste of Miracle Camp

By | Life at Camp, Summer Camp | No Comments

Kids shout with echoes of delight. Boats hum with ecstatic tubers on the lake. The zipline whirs in the distance. Birds chatter in the trees near the archery, paintball station, and high ropes course. Worship music floats out the chapel door. What do these sounds have in common? They are all heard at Miracle Camp!

In today’s non-stop society running on caffeine and jam-packed schedules, you could describe Miracle Camp as an oasis. The camp’s layout perfectly complements the surrounding nature, resulting in a pleasant place of respite. The waterfront view, winding trails, and myriad of activities provide high-quality adventure. An aura of wonder fills the air, allowing space to slow down and enjoy life. What could be better than the small-town feel with the 100+ acres of land offering opportunities to play, relax, and wander?

Adding to the beauty, the sense of community at Miracle Camp is prominent. Joy radiates from the staff as you pass them within the comfort of Bankson Lodge. Their inclusiveness embodies the love of Jesus, and you will smile as the housekeepers greet you by name on your way to breakfast. The 45 Summer Staff and 11 Program Office leaders serve with a genuine sense of caring, leaving no one a stranger for long. One of the seven interns runs from one activity to the next, waving as you head to the beach for some kayaking. The top-notch hospitality creates a home away from home.

Prior to your arrival, each staff member is equipped with proper training, provided with opportunities for discipleship, and encouraged to employ a component of personal retreat. These elements are necessary as the teams prepare for a busy season hosting campers and guest groups. Organization is key, and arrangements for comfortable lodging, delicious food, and an exciting itinerary are drawn up to ensure the success of your stay.

While many roles of the staff are obvious, the behind-the-scenes people and work are just as important to the most efficient and successful functions of this camp. You may notice the cleanliness, but miss the woman diligently sweeping the room or the man power-washing the windows. You may observe the beautiful landscape, but not see the ones spending hours on their hands and knees planting flowers. Behind your enjoyable stay were hours spent on the phone and in the office in preparation. Frequently, the Friends of Camp, the regular volunteers, are onsite contributing to the work that plays a powerful role in the daily operations.

The whiff of a campfire drifts through the evening breeze, mixing with a hint of freshly mowed grass. From the interactions with the staff to pleasant accommodations to activity preparations, bringing glory to God is evident throughout every detail. The safe and relaxing atmosphere at Miracle Camp offers loads of laughter, stretches of rest, and opportunities to encounter Jesus. As you pass the lake on your way out, you will glance back at Miracle Camp in your rearview mirror with a renewed spirit, happy memories, and the anticipation of planning your return trip.

If you would like to find out more information about Miracle Camp, click the button below!

Summer Camp is Finally Here!!

By | Summer Camp | No Comments

Summer Camp is one of our favorite programmed events that we put on here at Miracle Camp. Every year, we love seeing the hundreds of kids that come to camp and hear the message of Jesus Christ preached.

We are just finishing up our first week of camp with over 120 middle school campers who have been busy ziplining, enjoying the waterfront, making lots of new friends, and diving into the book of Philippians during our chapel sessions. Our staff has had a blast putting everything they’ve learned in training over the past couple weeks into action as they care for and encourage the campers who are in their cabins.

This year we will have over 1,300 campers come through our doors and 46 summer staff who oversee everything that has to do with Summer Camp. Our ministry here at camp isn’t all about numbers, but we are always excited to have the opportunity to see the Gospel preached to more and more kids every year!

What We Teach Our Summer Staff: Fun!

By | Staff, Summer Camp | No Comments

With our staff all here and campers coming in just a few short days we are so excited to share with you how our staff is preparing for Summer Camp and how much we long for your camper to have the best week ever!

FUN!

It might sound shallow, but we truly hope that every camper has one of the best weeks of their life while they are at Miracle Camp. We truly do believe that campers have as much fun here as at Disney World!

CREATIVE PROGRAMMING

Our summer staff makes it a priority to put in the extra effort to plan creative activities for Summer Camp. Our all camp games, like Gold Rush, are some of our favorite activities that we program. Every year, we love using our creativity to provide new and excited games and activities for our campers.

THINGS YOU CAN’T DO AT HOME

We have be blessed with lots of awesome things that provide an experience that is way different from anything that our campers could do at home over the summer. Some of our favorites include our zipline, climbing wall, tubing, the blob, paintball, and so much more!

MEANINGFUL FRIENDSHIPS

Camp wouldn’t be the same without the other campers and staff members that your child will meet while they are here at camp. It always brings a smile to our faces to see the friendships that campers can make after just a week of being together.

It is such a joy to us to see campers having one of the best weeks of their lives here at Summer Camp. If you would like to check out more about Summer Camp, or if you would like to register, click on the button below!

What We Teach Our Summer Staff: Spiritual Growth

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Our Program Office staff has been here for almost a week now preparing for Summer Camp this year! We are so excited for the rest of our summer staff to arrive this upcoming Tuesday and begin training for this summer. As we touched on last week, safety is our number one priority. Right along with it, though, spiritual growth is one of the main reasons we exist and put so much effort into our Summer Camps.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Right behind safety, our second priority at summer camp is to make sure that each camper grows closer to God while they are here. We want to make sure that the Bible is preached clearly and relevantly to every camper and that each counselor challenges campers to apply God’s word to their life. Our desire is to see you son or daughter learn more about Jesus Christ and grow in their walk with Him.

ONE ON ONES

Another way that we encourage and challenge your child in their walk with the Lord is through one on one conversations they have with their cabin leader. These discussions are put into place so that each cabin leader can help each camper grow closer to God personally. Our staff is trained to challenge students to read and apply God’s word and to spend time in prayer.

CHAPEL SESSIONS

Campers get to experience 2 chapel sessions each day that include worship and a Bible teacher who will communicate God’s word on a level relevant to the age of the campers. We believe that the Bible is powerful and changes lives and we want campers to experience this each week.

DAILY DEVOTIONS

After the morning chapel session, campers will spend some time outside with their Bible and daily devotional. Our desire is to see campers reading and studying God’s Word both here at camp and continue these habits as they go home. Each cabin will also come together after each evening chapel session for cabin devotions. These times provide a space for cabin leaders to lead discussions on what the speaker talked about during the session and allow campers to see how this topic applies to their life now.

Our staff is focused on helping people know God in a deeper way. We believe that relationships are the heart of ministry and each summer, our Summer Staff will pour their hearts and lives into the campers in their care. If you want to see more about what Summer Camp is like, click on the button below!

What We Teach Our Summer Staff: Safety

By | Staff, Summer Camp | No Comments

Our Summer Staff starts arriving to camp in just a few short days! As we prepare for this summer, we want to give you a little insight on some of the things we teach our Summer Staff!

SAFETY

Our first summer camp priority is safety and we take it very seriously. We have safety training, policies and background checks in place to ensure your camper will have a safe week of camp. But the most important thing we do for safety is take hiring seriously. We believe that our staff is one of the safest summer camp teams in the nation.

During our staff training, we spend numerous sessions preparing our staff for a myriad of issues that could arise during a week of Summer Camp, including topics such as homesickness, bullying, and what to do in an emergency situation. We prepare our staff to always value safety over any other aspect of camp. Each week of summer camp, we have trained medical staff who are qualified to handle a potential emergency situation. We take every precaution to make sure everything we do is as safe as possible and we make sure we are prepared if an injury or emergency should arise. We also hire 8 lifeguards to be at the waterfront during free time, which is 6 more than is required by law.

Safety is the most important aspect of our Summer Camp and we do everything that we can to make sure you child is safe while they are here at camp. If you would like more information about our Summer Camps, click on the button below!

SUMMER CAMP!!!

By | Summer Camp | No Comments

Summer Camp begins in just under 40 days!!! We couldn’t be more excited for the many staff, camp aides, and the hundreds of campers that will be here this summer! One of our favorite parts of Summer Camp is seeing campers learn more about the Gospel, make lots of new friends and watching them have one of the most incredible weeks of their life. Here are the dates for this year’s summer camp!

Middle School 1: June 10 – 16
Junior High 1: June 17 – 23
Senior High 1: June 24 – 30
Grade School 1: July 1 – 4
Junior High 2: July 8 – 14
Senior High 2: July 22 – 28
Grade School 2: July 29 – August 4
Grade School 3: July 29 – August 1
Middle School 2: August 5 – 11

Space for Summer Camp always fills up quick so make sure you register while there are still spots available! Click on the button below to register or learn more!!

Grade School Summer Camp April Discount!

By | Summer Camp | No Comments

For the whole month of April, we will be offering a discount for any Grade School Summer Camp registrations! Starting this Sunday, if you register your son or daughter, enter the code below and receive $25 off the cost of Summer Camp for Grade School 1 or Grade School 3 (half week) or $50 dollars off for Grade School or 2 (full week).

DISCOUNT CODES

Grade School 1 – “25OFFGS1”
Grade School 2 – “50OFFGS2”
Grade School 3 – “25OFFGS3”

Our mission to facilitate life change by helping others grow closer to God and to glorify Jesus Christ. We exist as a camp to share the Good News of Jesus to everyone who comes on our campus, no matter how old or young they are.

Every year, we love have new kids here at camp. One part of Summer Camp that we have potential to grow is our Grade School weeks. We hope that this discount will help bring more Grade Schoolers to camp and be impacted by hearing the message of Jesus preached through the chapel sessions and through one on one conversations they have with their counselors. Check out more of what a week of Grade School camp looks like by clicking here.

If you would like to register your child for camp this summer, head to www.miraclecamp.com/gradeschool.