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The Tech Effect: Summer Camp

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Here at Miracle Camp we are dedicated to being a learning-based Youth Service Organization that responds to and implements technology in appropriate ways, while also sharing what we learn with parents desiring to train a godly generation in a media saturated culture. Serving thousands of students each year, the Miracle Camp ministry team sees the need for balance and even boundaries that will protect and influence the next generation of Christ followers. In this three part blog series we hope to provide rationale behind implementing our device free policy for Summer Camps in 2019.

 

He waves goodbye to the other boys in his cabin as he gets into the car with his mom on the last day of Summer Camp. This high school sophomore spends the first 30 minutes on the drive home talking nonstop about his favorite games, the new friends he made, and the ways God changed him. He doesn’t think to ask for his phone until his mom tells him it is in the backseat. Glancing back at his phone, he shrugs and continues talking to his mother. To her surprise, he says, “I didn’t realize how much I wouldn’t miss it.”

When considering the place of technology in everyday life, there is a dichotomy between “the real world” and “the virtual world.” However, in the age of smartphones, social media, and a dependence on electronics, “we’re no longer in a time when we should be viewing digital communications as not being the “real world.”[1] Electronics have infiltrated nearly every part of life. Rather than trying to separate their influence, which would be nearly impossible, they need to be regulated. With this thought process, we believe that a device-free Summer Camp can deepen the awareness of the technology addiction and give insight to managing it a healthy way.

We are asking for campers to leave their devices at home for the week they attend Summer Camp. Our goal is to stimulate healthy conversations regarding technology use and motivate kids to change, resulting in impacting others in terms of phone use. While this is a big picture thought, there are many other benefits of no phones. In a study reported by the CCCA of camps who implemented a no-device policy, 80% of kids were less stressed and anxious without the expectation to keep up with social media.[2] Kids were astonished at how well they connected with others; 92% said they got to know people better because they did not have their phones.[3]

One camper said that with phones, “people would not talk to each other or try new things and just be in their cabin all day. No one would ever leave and everyone would just be zombies.”[4] Kids recognize the detriment that phones would have on their summer camp experience. 72% of campers said camp would have been worse with their phones.[5] When asked how camp would have been different if phones were allowed, one camper said, “I’d want to put everything on social media. No one would make new friends or learn anything.”[6]

A device free week allows students to be fully present in the camp experience without being torn between Summer Camp and their lives back home. This also leads to less drama, bullying, and gossip that comes through social media. Cabin leaders will be trained to facilitate discussions and strategically encourage campers to reflect on their screen use habits during cabin devotion time, natural conversations during activities, and waiting for meals or games to start.

While the device policy is changing, it will not negatively affect parent-child connectivity. Parent e-mails can still be sent through our website and will be delivered to campers each night at dinner. Homesickness calls to home are always available as well and dealt with through the camp nurse. Non-emergency calls can be made on a case-by-case basis—campers simply need to talk to their cabin leader to set up a time to use the office phone. In every case though, we hope that campers enjoy their week so much that calls home are hardly necessary. As always, parents can stay connected through viewing the daily photos (uploaded by 5:00pm the following day). This way, parents can see the fun their kids are having, and campers will be able to look back on their memories when they get home.

Our policy includes the following:

  • Campers cannot bring digital devices to camp. This includes cell phones, tablets, handheld video games, smart watches, mp3 players, laptops, drones.
  • Digital/disposable cameras are allowed.
  • If a camper brings a device, Miracle Camp will send it home with parents or retain possession of the device until the camper’s departure.

We want campers to know what it feels like to be device free. Eliminating devices eliminates the distractions and allows them to fully experience camp, make new friends, and most importantly grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus. After camp and looking to the future, they can make an informed choice as to how and when they utilize phones, social media, and more.

If you have any questions regarding the new policy, feel free to contact us at info@miraclecamp.com!


[1] Hunter, G. (2018, August/September). Make it work for you. InSite Magazine, 3. 22(4).
[2] CCCA conference. Miracle Camp is associated with Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) and has benefited tremendously from their network and resources on this topic. More information can be found at https://www.ccca.org/ccca/Vision,_Mission,_Values.asp
[3] CCCA
[4] CCCA
[5] CCCA
[6] CCCA

The Tech Effect: Finding Balance

By | Summer Camp | No Comments

Here at Miracle Camp we are dedicated to being a learning-based Youth Service Organization that responds to and implements technology in appropriate ways, while also sharing what we learn with parents desiring to train a godly generation in a media saturated culture. Serving thousands of students each year, the Miracle Camp ministry team sees the need for balance and even boundaries that will protect and influence the next generation of Christ followers. In this three part blog series we hope to provide rationale behind implementing our device free policy for Summer Camps in 2019.

 

At Miracle Camp, the following scenario is not an uncommon one.

A 7th grader steps off the church bus, taking in the sights around her: Summer Staff cheering, kids finding their cabins, and plan-scheming to get in all the best activities. Though a busy excitement fills the air, she can’t help but sense a loneliness. Instinctively she reaches to her jeans pocket, only to find the void is deeper than the space where her phone used to be; it comes from the disconnect from her world of “followers,” “likes,” and messages. She wonders how she is supposed to have “the best week of her life” at camp if she doesn’t have a way to “talk” to anyone.

This situation is not too different from what adults experience when accidentally leaving their phones at home when they go to the store or attend an event. Constant connectivity inevitably changes us, often in unseen ways. If not used properly, it leads to an addiction resulting in underlying consequences that are taking a toll on kids physically, socially, mentally, and more.

Technology is consuming cognitive capacity, therefore leaving huge gaps in the realm of development. Kids are not getting enough sleep or exercise and end up snacking more than necessary[1]. Their ability to interact with others socially is declining as they depend more on the virtual world for relationships while neglecting their family and friends in front of them. This can lead to feelings of isolation. According to CCCA, 69% of kids recognize that in-person interactions are more gratifying and wish they could spend more time socializing with friends face-to-face rather than online.[2]

Due to the stimulation kids are exposed to through technology, shorter attention spans lead to difficulties in many areas, but particularly academically. “The brain is trained at a young age to multitask to such a high degree that it is often incapable of focusing on one task or thought at a time.”[3] Children who spend a lot of time on electronics “have trained their brain to receive heightened stimulation and the accompanying dopamine boosts. They are therefore susceptible to similar symptoms as a child with ADHD—as he or she may also begin to have difficulty focusing on classroom instruction or chores.”[4]

With technology infiltrating nearly every aspect of life, it has created tremendous pressure on students. 41% of kids are overwhelmed by the notifications they receive online, and 58% feel they are expected to respond instantly[5]. The way it is marketed, kids are not able to say “no.” It is difficult to manage an addiction in the first place, but it is an entirely different battle when the addiction is something that kids want a break from, but is constantly in our faces thanks to marketing, media, and more. This requires an extra level of intentionality, for students, parents, and institutions like summer camps.

Rather than being a slave to technology, we need it in its rightful place. It is a tool to work for us, not the other way around. “While it is too simplistic to say that we are a product of our technologies or tools, it is indisputably true that in many ways our technologies do shape us,” Tim Challies of LifeWay Research says[6]. Because technology is a normal part of everyday life for most people, we don’t see the addiction and the ways it is changing us. To live wisely in this digital world, “it’s critical for us and for the next generation to be able to step back and see how technology is actually shaping us.”[7]

Setting limits on technology is not limiting us, like many view it, but rather freeing us from the grip of technology’s addiction. Monitoring screen time both for yourself and your kids is a way to gain balance in technology usage. Choose to participate in other screen-free activities, such as reading a book, taking a walk, playing a board game, etc. Taking televisions, computers, and phones out of your children’s rooms at night helps them improve their focus and attention spans, as well as help them relax for a good night’s sleep.[8] As part of the initiative to gain control over the technology addiction and to ensure the best week for kids, we have created a device free policy for Summer Camp 2019. Next week will wrap up our technology blog series with more about practically implementing the new policy and how it will benefit campers in a multitude of ways.

 

The Tech Effect

By | Summer Camp | No Comments

Here at Miracle Camp we are dedicated to being a learning-based Youth Service Organization that responds to and implements technology in appropriate ways, while also sharing what we learn with parents desiring to train a godly generation in a media saturated culture. Serving thousands of students each year, the Miracle Camp ministry team sees the need for balance and even boundaries that will protect and influence the next generation of Christ followers. In this three part blog series we hope to provide rationale behind implementing our device free policy for Summer Camps in 2019.

 

Recently in the Bankson Lodge lobby, a senior high boy boasts, “122 likes…Look!” after sharing his afternoon activities on Instagram. Meanwhile on the other side of the camp, another camper walks alone and retreats into their screen, deciding to try and steal away a few moments with friends “back home.”

Both are examples of how our tech offers us constant connectedness today. With voice command assistants at the ready as instant fact-checkers at our command or the temptation to snap a selfie and share a moment with friends far and wide, today’s campers, known as digital natives, thrive on Instagram likes or taking enviable snaps as everyday life activities.

The PC, tablet, and smartphone adoption rate in the last decade have topped out and now are giving way to even newer generations of wearable technology and smart devices. Intended to make life easier, technology manages tasks faster, more efficient, while simultaneously offering a new realm of creativity. While these optimizations may add simplicity to our lives, we also seem constantly distracted by them, if even dependent at times. Being connected is a powerful tool we must help our students steward well.

Technology provides a path that allows people to channel their human drives, such as connecting with others, portraying social status, competing and achieving objectives, learning and acquiring knowledge, and more. It is also highly customizable, engaging individuals through unique and personal interests (CCCA). Morally neutral, technology gives humans an entire world at the tips of our fingers, offering us an infinite capacity to use it for good or allowing it to expose the darkness of the heart.

In today’s world, “from the moment we get out of bed until we crash at night, life feels like a buzz of attention-grabbing technology and busyness.” (1) As technology has infiltrated nearly every aspect of society, dependency has given way to indulgence.

The underlying danger in our inability to limit use can be affirmed with data. For example, of people ages 18 – 24, 78% use Snapchat on a regular basis, and 95% of teens either have, or have access to a smartphone (Pew Research). 45% of teens indicate that they are online “almost constantly” (see chart). Still yet, the culture of busyness is starting at younger ages each year making it more challenging for summer campers to unplug and connect with God. (2)

What many find surprising to hear for the first time is that social media likes trigger the same brain activity as drug use. Social media platforms “leverage the very same neural circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to keep us using their products as much as possible.” (3)

Though the addiction can be subconscious, many kids are aware. According to CCCA, 50% of kids recognize they are addicted and 65% wish they had a better ability to self-limit the amount of time on their phones. 26% would even report they wish someone would impose limits on their screen time. Not only is the addiction a concern, but kids are finding technology to be emotionally burdensome, even anxiety inducing. (4)

We work for Summer Camp to be an intentional time away from what is familiar for a student to own their faith in Jesus; often times the constant presence of devices gets in the way. We want to help students find a balance of technology in life, using it as a tool for God’s glory, while living free from the grip of its constant allure. Without the constant buzz in pockets, even just for one week, this freedom allows students to focus on spiritual formation, relationship building, and being fully present in the life right in front of them. While screen time boundaries are nothing new to savvy parents, we find value in the practice of a regular detox that reinforces healthy boundaries and rhythms.

For the first time this summer, we are asking parents to help create a safe and undistracted environment by leaving devices at home. Having a conversation about why this policy is important with your students may help them prepare for any anxieties related to detaching from devices. Check back next week for the second installment of our tech series as we share more of the thought process behind making summer camp the best week ever!

1. Quote from article found at https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/july-web-only/how-to-witness-to-distracted-world-disruptive-witness-noble.html
2. Stats taken from sources at http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/
3. Quote from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/
4. MCRC is affiliated with CCCA and has benefited tremendously from their network and resources on the topic. More info can be found at https://www.ccca.org/ccca/Vision,_Mission,_Values.asp

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!

Summer Staff Applications!

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It’s hard to believe that while snow covers the ground and barren trees set the backdrop of the frozen lake, we are gearing up for Summer Camp 2019. As we prepare for the summer season, hiring Summer Staff members is a significant part of the process.

We are looking for college-age kingdom leaders who love discipling kids and are hungry to grow in their leadership ability. Whether or not you have any previous camp experience, a summer on staff at Miracle Camp will stretch you in your ability to communicate with others, work on a team, lead others, problem solve, and share the love of Jesus with others.

If this describes you, you would be a great fit for our summer staff team. Are you ready?

Each summer, we hire about 50 college students to teach God’s Word to kids in a variety of ways. As a Summer Staff member, you will build relationships with kids through doing activities together, leading devotion times, and having one on one conversations with each camper. Training at the beginning of the summer will not only equip you for a fruitful summer of ministry, but also will give you skills that transfer to any professional working environment.

Another benefit of serving in this capacity is the strong friendships you will form with your peers as you grow and serve together in community. While you invest in each camper’s life, you will also be challenged and grow spiritually as you are poured into by Miracle Camp full-time staff and your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Not only do you get to spend your summer hanging out with kids, seeing lives changed, and growing in the gospel, but you also get paid for this. In addition, your meals and lodging are all included for the summer. What are you waiting for?

Below is a list of positions we are looking to fill:

·        Cabin Leader

·        Hospitality

·        Lifeguard

·        Camp Store

·        Craft Shack

·        Photographer

·        Maintenance

·        Worship Team

·        Videographer

·        Program Staff

·        Health Assistant

·        Outdoor Adventure

The deadline to apply is February 1st, so be sure to get your application in today! To apply online or find out more information, click the button below! Are you ready to have the best summer of your life?

Band-Aids, Ice Packs, & Spiritual Growth

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Each summer the Miracle Camp team prays above all else for two things: physical safety and spiritual transformation. When triaging camper needs, keeping campers physically safe is first order. As a trusted and certified Youth Service Organization, the Miracle Camp staff strives to create a safety-first environment. This first priority allows the physical needs to not distract from the spiritual needs. In this way, we are excited to invite you to serve like Jesus, offering a cup of cold water to soothe physical needs.

Safety first is something you who are gifted and skilled in medical care are able to provide. While the seasonal staff strives to make growing in Christ fun for all ages, we also need you to come alongside and aide with basic camper health needs. Not only are we looking to provide outstanding, qualified nurses for the camp team, but we are offering an opportunity for you to participate in medical missions. Through this position, you get to actively invest in campers and our summer health office staff. While leading a team of seasonal staff, you will be the trusted hands to serve our campers with the support and credentialing of the Miracle Camp staff leading the way.

In 2018, Miracle Camp served 1900 summer campers between the ages of 8 – 18. Each year, campers who set foot here leave changed in some way. We get the opportunity to see God impact lives in amazing ways all summer. As a Health Officer here, you not only get a front row seat to the ways God works, but you can be a part of that impact.

When we prioritize the physical needs – taking care of homesickness, remedying loneliness, caring for bumps and scrapes – the spiritual needs can be met with full focus. Your expertise is crucial to keeping people from worrying about safety so they can hear the gospel. In caring for these students, you, too, are tangibly pointing them to Jesus at a point of critical need. In addition to the benefit of seeing hearts changed toward the gospel, you will also enjoy beautiful Bankson Lake, a private lodge room, dining services, and the opportunity to bring a spouse or a child along to enjoy down time.

Please consider partnering with us to make a week of summer camp the ‘best week ever’ for our campers in 2019. If you know of other friends of camp who may be interested, please feel free to share this post with them. Below are our 2019 Dates & Weeks available.

For more information and if you are interested in serving this summer, click the button below!

Summer 2019 Dates:

June 9-15 — Junior High 1

June 16-22 — Middle School 1

July 7-13 — Junior High 2

July 14-20 — Northwoods

July 21-27 — Senior High 2

July 28- Aug 3 — Grade School 1

July 28-31 — Grade School 2 — Note this is a half week

Aug 4-10 — Junior High/Middle School Combo

That’s a Wrap!

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It’s a happy kind of sad as the last campers turn the corner out of camp: happy because the past nine weeks have been filled with games, high-fives, deep conversations, new friends, old friends, and so much more. Sad because it is all coming to an end.

Summer has flown by, and this last Saturday we wrapped up our 2018 Summer Camp season. A few weeks of training combined with nine weeks of campers makes for a lifetime of memories. God worked in so many incredible ways this summer, and we were honored to have 1,345 campers in attendance. It is our prayer that each camper takes home what he or she learned and implements that into everyday life.

Our aim this summer and every summer is helping campers meet God or get to know Him better. Each aspect of Summer Camp pointed toward this and uniquely displayed it in different ways. Our Program Director, staff, and Program Office leaders ensured that camp ran smoothly through logistics so that campers would be safe and have the opportunity to see Jesus. Our Cabin Leaders modeled the love of Jesus as they connected one-on-one with each camper and led the cabins, creating a mentor relationship. Assistant Cabin Leaders helped Cabin Leaders facilitate discussions, worked different activities throughout camp, and modeled hospitality of Jesus as they connected with campers. Camp Aides stepped into their role of coming alongside the Summer Staff and reaching out to campers while developing leadership roles. These descriptions merely scratch the surface of the effort and energy put forth by each staff person involved.

Though the quieter campus now echoes a reminder of the absence of campers and Summer Staff, we are filled with gratitude. We at Miracle Camp are incredibly thankful for each camper who spent a week of their summer with us, and the parents and churches who made this possible. From blobbing to ziplining, campfires and meal times, high-energy games to stronger friendships and great cabin discussions, this has been one amazing summer. We hope the impact of this summer carries over into everyday life. Most importantly, we give thanks to God who has given us this place and the resources to share with you.

To find out more about Summer Camp, click the button below!

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

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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

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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!