Twelve students are spending eight weeks of their summer at camps spanning the West Coast—without pay. Their compensation will be the benefits of serving and loving campers and staff in eleven different camps from Alaska to California.
“For these students, it is one of the most challenging, demanding, and rewarding summers of their lives,” says Camp Teams Director, Heidi Stowman.
“The high school week at Elkanah was incredible,” says team member Cassandra Dickson in an email from La Grande, Oregon. She and three other students worked as camp counselors there . “God worked in significant ways in several of the campers’ lives. It is awesome to be used by Him in that process.”
Dickson, along with Katrina Kennedy, Eli Conlee, and Peter Randall, began the summer with a work week at a camp near Lyons, Oregon. From June 11-13, the team concentrated on work projects at Upward Bound, a camp for people over the age of 12 with mental and physical disabilities.
“This stop was helpful for our team because it gave us a chance to bond before we had campers. We learned to work together, and we came up with some friendly jokes that carried on even through our first week as counselors. I know for me it has been great to be able to laugh with my team, even during the few minutes we have together during the day.”
“When we arrived, we were put straight to work,” said Kennedy. “We stacked multiple piles of firewood. We also did a LOT of painting, including a stage, benches, picnic tables, and beds.”
“Painting doesn't seem like much, but for people with special needs, that color can be what draws their attention,” Dickson explained.
Kennedy said the team also folded t-shirts, scraped moss, swept a basketball court, mended a basketball hoop, cleaned three paddleboats, and cleaned out a cabin infested with mice.
“Our time at Upward Bound was a great opportunity for our team to learn about ministry to special needs individuals, as well as a chance for us to use our abilities to minister to them,” Kennedy added.
“Those four men and women did as much work as ten people,” commended Jerry Pierce, co-director of Upward Bound with his wife, Laura. “They did everything and anything they could, and then asked, ‘Is there anything else I can do?’ As the Bible says, they ran the race here at Upward Bound, they didn’t look back, and they continued on the course. All that they did took a load off Laura and me.”
“To the campers, they were definitely a witness of God’s love and leadership in their lives,” Pierce added. “It was a privilege to have them in the lives of Upward Bound campers and in the lives of Laura and me.”
After leaving Upward Bound, the team traveled on to Camp Elkanah. Further destinations this summer are Camp Tapawingo in Falls City, Oregon and Triumphant Life Camp in Bridgeville, California.
Students on the other two teams serving in camps this summer are Erik Fry, Alexis Berdeaux, Kenneth Mabry, Tera Stegner, David Collett, Stephanie Garrick, Beau St.Peter and Leesha Maracek.
Fry listed his prayer requests for the summer.
“Pray that I’ll have wisdom in decisions as a team leader; motivation in times when going further is the last thing on my mind; unity for our team, my cabin, our camps; rest when I need rest, energy when I need energy; and health for me and the whole team.”
Stowman, also Corban’s Director of Admissions, said reports coming back indicate the teams are doing well in their camp experiences. The first group to go out returned safely from Alaska and went on to Trout Creek Bible Camp (Corbett, Oregon). The third team has begun ministry at Mount Gilead Bible Camp (Sebastopol, California).
Corban’s Camp Team ministry began in the late eighties under the direction of Don Nagle. Leadership passed from Nagle to the late Doug West and now Stowman. With up to five teams going out each summer, the goals have been to assist camps in their ministry as well as recruitment for the College.
“Camp Teams have been one of the most influential recruiting tools for the College due to the relationships that have formed between campers and their counselors,” said Daren Milionis, Director of Career and Academic Services. He indicated that he came to Corban as a student due to the influence of Nagle, who continues to have a real heart for ministry.
Involvement in Camp Team ministry is just one of the ways Corban strives to educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.