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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

By | Internships, Life at Camp | No Comments

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.

Saying “Yes”

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“Say yes,” was a piece of advice I received from a friend, and it was the one thing that made all the difference as I moved from Texas to Michigan and adjusted to life at Miracle Camp. When transitioning into a new place, say yes to dinner or game night invitations, yes to meeting new people, yes to uncomfortable situations – because eventually, it will be worth it.

Through a series of events and God’s timing, I discovered Miracle Camp online and the opportunity to be a Guest Services intern. My undergraduate degree is in Christian Ministry, and I had just completed my master’s degree in Professional Writing. I was interested in camping ministry, and after setting foot on campus for my internship interview, God made it abundantly clear that this was my next step. As I said yes to living in a new area and taking on a new role, I formed lasting friendships, made great memories, grew in my relationship with God, and much more.

Yes to the New

I was drawn to the different facets of camping ministry this internship provided, but I knew this experience would prove useful whether I ended up in camping ministry or a different field. Saying yes to this internship did not simply mean gaining a new job. It meant being open to the new direction God was taking me, learning what it means to be fully present in a place, no matter how temporary. Through encouragement from others, I decided to dig in to everything this opportunity held, even if the newness was uncomfortable.

Yes to the Challenges

One of the hardest, yet best, challenges in this internship was getting out of my comfort zone. Before this, I would not have imagined being able to run every position on the zipline, lead groups through initiatives, host guests, and write blog posts for Miracle Camp on a weekly basis. For my internship experience to be the most effective, it was critical to step outside my box of familiarity. Even when I was uncertain, I said yes to being open to learn from expertly trained staff, and through specific training, critiques, and learning experiences, I gained a confidence I previously lacked.

Yes to the Rewards

Various challenges and these new experiences have led to a multitude of rewards. You not only build an amazing community amongst the staff, but you form friendships and connect with guests. This internship equips you with skills to prepare you for the future. The staff took my education and experience into consideration, and they gave me projects that fit my interests and abilities while simultaneously challenging me.

Following this internship, I will begin working at a women’s ministry called Revive Our Hearts, using my knowledge of writing and hosting events, as well as a multitude of other skills I gained during my time at Miracle Camp.

I’m glad I said yes. “Yes” opened the doors for friendships, opportunities, fun, and a new career. “Yes” gave me a passion for the ministry of Miracle Camp and they will be a forever family for me. More than anything, I said yes to following God’s lead, and that is the best kind of “yes.”

Be sure to check back here in mid-late March to find out details for our 2019 intern program!

Micayla Greathouse grew up in Hays, KS and lived in the panhandle of Texas before moving to Michigan for the intern program in Spring 2018. She graduated in 2014 with her bachelor’s in Christian Ministry and completed her master’s in Professional Writing through Liberty University’s online program in April 2018. This spring she will join Revive Our Hearts, a women’s ministry located in nearby Niles, MI as a Publishing & Events Project Manager. She has a deep love for all things Michigan, donuts, sunrises, and road trips.

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

By | Safety, Summer Camp | No Comments

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

Be Part of Something Bigger!

By | Giving, Life at Camp | No Comments
Oakwood Chapel. The heartbeat of Miracle Camp. The spiritual gathering space for each camper, be it youth during Summer Camps and Ice Camps, church groups throughout the year or families during retreats. Inside this sanctuary is where fun icebreakers introduce new friends with laughs of joy, fellowship occurs as groups grow closer to the Lord together and lives are changed as messages impact listening ears with His grace and unconditional love.
Much more than a building, the chapel is a space where God works and people respond. Our mission of facilitating life change by helping people grow closer to God is transmitted from the chapel stage. A critical tool for the each chapel session is our audio and visual technology. High quality audio and video elements are essential to providing the best experience for our guests. While we are thankful for our current setup, it has aged beyond a normal life cycle and is overdue for a replacement.
Thankfully our time of need has been met with a great end of year opportunity. The Lord has provided a matching gift opportunity for the end of 2018, enabling a contribution toward the chapel audio and video needs to go even further!
In today’s fast paced culture having adequate audio and video for a gathering space ensures that the message is prioritized and distractions are minimized. Giving our highly skilled guest speakers and bands the right tools to play their role allows us to continue bringing in gifted communicators. In our team’s effort to be good stewards of the prayer and planning invested in our chapel gatherings, we are convinced this is the single biggest replacement ask we could have to immediately impact ministry in 2019!
A new audio and video setup in Oakwood Chapel will provide our team with the tools needed to transport our guests from a world full of distractions and interruptions to a peaceful environment where they are free to focus, worship, and open their hearts and minds to God. Please give before the end of the year using the link below!

Get Ready for Ice Camp!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…Ice Camp!

The first snow of the winter has fallen, fireplaces crackle with cozy warmth, and mugs steam with hot chocolate. All these signal that Ice Camps are just around the corner!

In just a few weeks, students will fill campus, running to and from chapel sessions, and fueling themselves with delicious food in the dining hall. These retreats are the perfect time for students to bond with their youth groups over Gold Rush in the snow and other winter weather games, biblical messages, snow tubing, dodgeball competitions, and much more! Each weekend offers the same exciting activities, while featuring different speakers who proclaim the truth of God’s Word.

We don’t want your students to miss out on what God has in store for these weekends. Each Ice Camp will focus on who they are at their very core – what is identity? What does it mean for them to find their identity in Christ and practically live that out? Each person’s identity and relationship with Jesus are personal, but we are created to come together with other believers. We will be looking at how community plays a significant role in their identities and faith in Jesus, and much more. Our chapel sessions set up discussions, which is one highlight of each weekend. This is specific time dedicated for you and your students to talk about and apply what they are learning through the messages.

Spots are filling up quickly for youth groups to sign up! We have a few openings left for the following weekends, so don’t miss out on your chance to register:

JH/SH Combo 1: Dec. 30 – Jan 1

Junior High 1: Jan. 4 – 6

Senior High 1: Jan. 11 – 13

Senior High 3: Feb. 8 – 10

MS/JH Combo 1: Feb. 22 – 24

For more information or to register, click the button below!

Altars of Remembrance

By | Life at Camp | No Comments

“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” – John 1:16

Grace upon grace – the phrase that encapsulates our staff’s sentiments, particularly as we reflect on and give thanks for everything this past year.

Miracle Camp is like a winter wonderland this time of year. Walking along the paths, fresh snow crunches and buildings glisten. The stark white atmosphere emits an excitement in the air. Just a month ago, camp was flooded with color on the trees, and crisp days made for perfect campfire nights. Only a couple months prior, boats hummed across the lake and campers clustered in Center Circle, indicating summer in full swing.

The transformation of seasons and the bustle of people in and out of our facility provides us the prime opportunity to see God’s faithfulness remain constant.

Several changes have occurred this year that we celebrate with thanks. For the first time, we hired two culinary arts interns, which is a new addition to the internship program. Many upgrades have been made to our facilities, including a new roof that previously leaked for years and fixing the drywall damage as a result. Our maintenance intern, Wyatt, articulates his excitement about many projects in process, such as upgrading all the wi-fi access points, “adding additional ones for more coverage throughout camp,” and replacing the fluorescent lights in most buildings with LED lights.

Evidences of God’s grace are everywhere – in the changes implemented and events that transpire. In the meaningful conversations over coffee in the lodge. In the smiles of guests as they express their joy after “a wonderful weekend.” In the tears prompted by a heart-opening chapel message. In the friendships formed after running up and down the basketball court. In the blessing of camaraderie over delicious food. These seemingly small moments form the big picture of why Miracle Camp exists.

We are immensely grateful for the life-changing moments God facilitates here, and none of it is of our own doing. Our desire is that in every dish washed, in all the beds made, in each light fixed, in every detail planned and activities ran – may we glorify Him through it all.

As we give thanks, we are most thankful for Jesus Christ and the abundant life He gives. Because of Him, we are thankful for His church we serve, the ministry that happens here, and for the readers and people connected to Miracle Camp who help us give God the glory. It’s all grace upon grace.