Monday, June 22, 2009

Being Camp Directors

Some random pics of the kids so you can see their faces as you read the blog :)
So some of you have wondered about what we do here at camp. My favorite myth is - "What do you do all year?" Kind of like asking a pastor what he/she does during the week- I know those of you who are pastors or husbands and wives of pastors are laughing right now because you have heard this too!!!!

So we have between 30-40 retreats during the year...since we rarely if ever do retreats in the summer, and usually not on Christmas or can do the math. We stay pretty busy. More during different parts of the year. Sometimes we have multiple retreats in a week or on a weekend. We have women's groups, men's groups, youth groups, whole church groups, boy scouts, girl scouts, school groups, college groups, you get the picture.

So we host them - which means sometimes we cook for them...check that Jason cooks for them (in the best interest of our guests!), sometimes they cook for themselves, sometimes they do activities that we lead like low/high ropes course (all about the teamwork!!), climbing tower, swimming, etc. So we have summer staff come out and help us lead those things (as well as sometimes Dawn- since these are my areas of expertise.)

We have a young lady who works with us and she is amazing. She gets paid a little, but free housing, and she helps do lots from driving the tractor, to using power tools, to painting, to keeping up the pool, to archery, and pretty much everything in between. Did I also mention she helps us keep our sanity!!!!! She is the only single person I know that can handle ALL 7 of our children on her own for more than 24 hours!!!! A lifesaver for us many times over. We are definitely Blessed to have her around. We rarely go out, and when we do it's usually because she hints to us like this.. "So when do I get to play with the kids?" Which means when are we leaving?

So in addition to hosting retreats which sometimes we can work 40-60 hours in a weekend....we also do maintenance (that would be Jason & Sarah...usually not Dawn unless it's the pool), we do the books (oh yeah, that would be Dawn), we contact groups and vendors (that is usually Dawn or Sarah), we prepare Bible Studies for weekend camps, summer camps, and staff times (that is usually Dawn), we lead worship (which is Dawn & Jason 2 times a week, and our staff a few times a week- during the summer), Dawn does the preaching - filling the pulpit for pastors (as a lay speaker), and preaching at least 2 times a week in the summer, Jason keeps up the website ( and does all the newletters, mailings, and makes slideshows & videos for the camp....of course there are a lot of other things I know I am missing here, but you get the idea of some of what we do.

In the summer we of course work much more...and we do try our best to take it easier the rest of the year because of this. We actually share our job. That way (Dawn) we can homeschool our children as well. Something we just feel very called to do & LOVE to do as well. We love having our children with us, spending time with them, and seeing them grow in God, knowledge, and in all the other ways too. Although the pay isn't high compared to most people's standards- we get free housing on site, electrics, and water- so actually our pay is wonderful!!!!

We have been at Camp URC for over 5 years now and we love it in the South!!! Except the crazy humidity year round- mosquitos in January...other than that it is great! Before coming here - Dawn was the director at another camp in IA as well for 4 years. So Dawn has been either a summer counselor, camp counselor leader, or director for over 15 years worth! Oh yeah, camp ministry is a big part of my heart. Jason and I met at camp...I will save that for another posting. Jason has been in camping for 11 years as well!!! So together...we just really love the ministry.

So for us our pre- summer is very crazy. This usually starts in March/April time....and doesn't end until August sometime. But the rewards....are amazing!!! We are able to provide a stable family life role model for our staff (some of them have no idea what "real" family can be like!). We are able to lead worship for campers. We are able to give scholarships to all those in foster care!!!! A huge part of our passion! (if you would like to help us you can donate online-

So just to give you an idea....we have campers that are healing from alcohol abuse, cutting, broken homes, friends committing suicide, abuse of all kinds, being scoffed at school for being a Christian, homelessness, those that have no family at all. Here are some examples of prayer cards we have recieved so far this year....."Help me to forgive my father for what he did to me" "Help my friend who keeps cutting" "Please forgive me for my addictions" "Help others to really see me for who I am" "Help me as I go to yet another foster home" These are just a few! We get anywhere from 80-200+ prayer cards every week! These kids are aching to have someone to pray for them, to help them out! My heart is moved with compassion for this generation that God is lifting up for HIM!

For any of you who have doubts about today's children.....I just want to say our staff members (college students) are amazing! They work all summer in the hot sun with cranky kids that fuss, fight, ignore them, and generally give them a hard time- why? Because they love God! They clean toilets, cook meals, counsel, lifeguard, fix things, take out trash, do dishes, all because they want to make sure these Children of God are able to have fun and grow in their faith! I praise God everytime I even think about it!

Well, as you can tell I could go on for a loooonnnnggg time about camping ministry. We would value each and every prayer for our camp or any camp near you! As an extension of the church it is valuable to bring the churches closer to GOD!


  1. Help I did strange things in my idea what I did...sorry???

  2. I love your blog! I love the adoption part, but also the camp part. I am a fellow camp worker. Not any more, but I grew up at Horn Creek Conference Center. My mom started going there when she was a kid. We are great friends with the founders (I'm named after Jean Zeller). I went there every year growing up for family camp, then my mom got a job there and we lived there for a few years and she actually met her husband and got married at the camp. Later, after high school i worked there on and off for quite a while as well as at another camp down the range. (Hermit Basin Conference Center). It's so awesome! I love camp ministry and it is fun to read about someone else in the same place. I am no longer working at camp, but it is definitely something my husband and I have talked about on and off over the years. Who knows what the Lord has in store, but I just wanted to say thank you for your encouragment. It really means a lot! And, that I love reading your adoption and camp stories! T

  3. What a ministry you provide! Thank you for what you do, I know God is blessing this ministry and those that you touch. I will certainly pray for you all and for those that are involved.

  4. You guys never stop amazing me! Seriously cool about the camp- I would love to do something like that one day! Whawt an amazing ministry you have!! And if you ever need any staff members I know my older kids would totally love that!! :0)

  5. The camp sounds amazing! Our family hears the same question all of the time too!

    Your ministry is such a blessing! This generation needs a voice and advocates that believe in them!

    Thank you for being another voice!