Posts Categorized: Staff News

Laura Sampson: Mount Hermon Bookshop Manager

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

I have had the joy of attending Santa Cruz Bible Church with Laura and Paul Sampson (where Paul is the Worship Pastor) for over 25 years. However, for the last several years, I have also had the joy of serving with Laura at Mount Hermon. In case you haven’t met Laura I asked her to share a little of her story.

How did the Lord bring you to Mount Hermon?

God brought me back to Mount Hermon about ten years ago, after being away for several years. I spent much of my teenage years with Mount Hermon as my stomping ground, hanging out with local Mount Hermon kids, having all sorts of fun in this community. I worked on staff in high school and college. I made many great friendships here as well as getting to know my husband better (he served on staff during high school and college as well); this is where our romance started! After my daughters were more independent, I decided to go back to work. When I heard of the position in the Bookshop, I jumped on it.

How is the God using you and your gifts at Mount Hermon?

I am amazed at how God uses this ministry! It is honoring to be part of all the incredible things that go on here. It was exciting to be a part of the team that created and designed the new look and feel of the Bookshop a couple of years back. I have a heart for people to be in a place that is calm and peaceful, where they can be refreshed, but also where they are challenged in their faith. Taking something home that solidifies a decision or a commitment is key for some, and for others, their favorite Mount Hermon sweatshirt fits the bill.

What is your favorite part about working at Mount Hermon?

I love the people I get to work with, my Bookshop team and the entire Mount Hermon staff. I also love to see the impact of Mount Hermon’s reach locally and across the world, along with the stories of families who have been coming to Mount Hermon for years.

How can we pray for you?

Please pray for a strong, healthy staff. In addition, as we hire our summer staff, we ask God to bring the right people to fill the positions in the Bookshop.

Just like many of you, I love going over to our Bookshop, so next time you are at Mount Hermon, make sure to stop by and say “Hi” to Laura and the Bookshop team.

Shop the Mount Hermon Online Shop

Staff Matters

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

Did you know that Mount Hermon …

  • …Employs over 300 staff members year-round, the majority of those being part-time?

  • …Adds another 280 staff, predominately college students, that invade our camps
    each summer?

  • …Sees it as a privilege and sacred responsibility to grow and care
    for each staff member?

Staff care is a passion of mine, and I believe that one of my callings from God is to shepherd our staff. During our many years as attendees at Family Camp, Jane and I were tremendously blessed by the staff of Mount Hermon. The care and service they gave to us and our children were tangible expressions of God’s love to us, and we’ll be forever grateful.

Each staff member plays an important role to help us fulfill our mission of lives being refreshed, renewed, and transformed by God in this special place. If it’s clearing a dish from the Dining Hall or harnessing a guest for the ropes course, setting up a microphone in the auditorium or cleaning a room in Laurel, changing a baby’s diaper in Child Care or registering a guest at the Williams Welcome Center, every staff role and person matters.

There are many ways in which we show care for our staff, including providing training, health and retirement benefits, staff gatherings, and retreats. But what we find as our greatest staff challenge is housing. Santa Cruz is one of the least affordable places to live in America, and therefore it is important for us to be able to provide housing for as many staff as possible.

Our staff minister to literally some 85,000 campers and guests per year who come through Mount Hermon. Providing staff housing is a great way to show that we care for them and their needs. It is also essential to enabling them to continue serving long-term at Mount Hermon.

To help with these challenges we have recently taken nine guest cabins off-line and turned them into staff housing. Although this means having less cabins available for campers (and our campers love their cabins!), it is an essential component of maintaining a healthy and thriving staff that can continue loving and serving our campers. We are also working on upgrading our more “rustic” staff housing units over the next four years.

If I could dream for a moment … I would love for us to one day build a “staff village” that would provide adequate housing for all Mount Hermon staff that need it. Maybe someday God will allow that dream to become a reality. I’m hopeful and prayerful.

To sum it up I want to simply say, “STAFF MATTERS.” Indeed they do!

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Summer Staff Testimony: Amy Kral

Posted by & filed under General, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

I learned so much this summer about what it means to walk daily with God…

As I spent time with Him I realized I could get everything I needed and more from Him, and that freed up my hands to be able to GIVE to people. To serve them and see them the way He does.

Camp wears you out, and you still experience hurt and grief and insecurity, but the Lord works best when we are at our weakest. The thing He told me over and over again was that I could boast in my weakness. I don’t have to have it all together! I don’t have to feel like it. But I get to call on Him.

He blessed me with a 4-year-old telling me she loved me or listening to a group of 30-something preschoolers shout, “MY HOPE IS IN JESUS.” Thank God that I don’t have to rely on my own strength to bring Him glory. My first summer in 2016 was just the beginning of discovering these beautiful truths about my Jesus, and this past summer was incredible. But He is not finished with me– and praise God for that.

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Summer Staff Testimony: Justin Whelpley

Posted by & filed under General, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

  

Hi my name is Justin Whelpley and this summer I had the amazing privilege of working at Mount Hermon Kidder Creek as a Timberline Counselor/River Guide.

This summer was by far the best I have had in years. With the many adventures I embarked on with my campers and staff and just how God was able to show himself to me every single day and week was phenomenal. It was truly something special and it was every prayer I had for this summer answered and then some.

Now this summer wasn’t always perfect. Like any summer position you feel drained and feel like you are not doing enough. You sometimes feel and begin to question your purpose at camp and why you are in the position in you are in. I remember I found myself in these shoes towards the middle end of summer. It was a classic week at Kidder, meaning we had younger kids in our cabins ranging from 9-11. So as you can imagine it is a lot of work tangling 8 kids on your own who all come from different places and have an extreme amount of energy. You gotta be on your A game on those weeks. Now it was about on a Wednesday on this week and I had just about it with my kids. They refused to listen to me and I was always having to tell them to come back to me or to listen up or there will be consequences, Usually resulting  in limited pond time. However they ended up listening and getting the lost time back. However I was just exhausted and I personally felt as if I was not teaching them anything about God or that they even liked me. I was just so negative and very hard on myself and I remember asking God: Why me? Why am I here this summer and am I even fit for this position?

So on this Wednesday during my one hour break I went into the staff house where we hang out, eat, etc. I decided to check my mail box and see if I got mail, in my mind I had doubts of receiving anything but still it wouldn’t hurt. So as I looked I had three letters and they were from previous campers I had that summer earlier in the weeks. Shocked I opened up the letters and they were filled with encouragement and words of gratitude. They wrote about how first amazing Kidder was and how much it was missed and also how I was a great counselor and taught them so much that they wanted to come back in the summer of 2018. These letters changed my entire view of myself but not only that God was showing me that I am at Kidder for a reason and that I am doing a great job and he has me there because he wants me to be there. It was the most humbling experience but also the most meaningful all summer because everyday from then on I knew no matter what I did or said was because God placed me at Kidder in that position for a reason.

That moment this summer taught me that when you are at camp or anywhere just remember God has blessed you to be there so be present in those moments and do not doubt what you are doing or saying because regardless God is at work. I will always carry that moment with me forever.

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Summer Staff Testimony: Abi Auer

Posted by & filed under General, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

JOY. That is what God showed me this summer at Mount Hermon’s Kidder Creek.

I grew up in the church and knew who God was but nothing compared to how I know him now. Kidder brought me close to God in ways I didn’t even know were possible! Getting to connect with campers and other staff members and have real meaningful conversations about life and how we see God moving is something I had always craved but never knew.

Through those conversations and prayers, I soon realized camp ministry was something I wanted to pursue. The only thing standing in my way was the fact that I was already going to school and studying something else. With the help and prayer from mentors and friends at camp I decided to take some time off of school and move out to Bend Oregon where I am now a part of an amazing church and work community. God is even opening doors for me to go study outdoor leadership at a school in Colorado. So who knows, maybe my adventure will continue!

I left something so normal and comfortable back at home and my old school. It hasn’t been the easiest transition but knowing that God is with me everywhere I go makes anything worth it! I have given my life to him and I cannot wait to see where he takes me!

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Summer Staff Testimony: Sydney Sheppard

Posted by & filed under General, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

Week 7 at Redwood Camp this last summer, I had my first cabin of 6th graders.

I was excited to see how the Lord would work through them since they were at a more mature age than the 4th graders that I normally had. I couldn’t wait to have my one-on-ones and hear more in depth about their lives and their relationships with Jesus.

I had one camper named Alexa, and she was so smart and mature for only being 11 years old. During our one-on-one, she told me about how her and her family had been searching for a new church for the past few years, and because they didn’t have a home church, it caused her to fall away from the Lord. She told me that during this week at camp, she wanted to work her way back to God’s side. She asked me countless questions about what it meant and what it looked like to follow Jesus, and how to pray to Him. She told me that she loved Huddles (our cabin Bible study time), and that they just got better and better each day. Hearing her say that lifted my spirits, because I knew God was at work inside of her.

On Friday night, the last night of camp, we have something called Luminaria, where we all worship together, and then break out into our cabins across the meadow with just a candle in a jar in the middle of our circle. Alexa and a few of my other girls were crying. I could tell it was a good cry, but I wanted to hear from them what this night and week meant to them, so I asked them. Alexa couldn’t stop smiling through the midst of her tears as she explained how God had truly revealed Himself to her throughout the week. She said again how she came to camp to get closer to the Lord, and said how that happened. [She] and my other girls couldn’t stop smiling and crying and saying how God blessed them with each other as friends, as well as showed them how much He loves them each that week.

Week 7 was a special week to me. The Lord clearly showed me that He was at work in my campers this summer. Sometimes it’s can be hard to truly know how much of an impact you had on them, but this week, God reminded me that I was doing His work and that there was an impact being made. The day after they left, the mother of another girl in my cabin, Colette, contacted me to tell me how much of an impact the week of Redwood Camp had on her daughter. While God worked through these sweet girls, He also was reminding me that He was working through me to help lead them to Him, and that it was in fact working.

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Using Summer to Serve

Posted by & filed under General, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

Lives Transformed is not just limited to guests and campers who come to these sacred grounds. Staff, particularly summer staff, experience ten weeks of their lives being transformed from biblical teaching, serving long and selfless hours and being in a community unlike any other. We’ve heard countless stories that serving at Mount Hermon for a summer helps set faith journeys in stone and sets a life-long trajectory of relentlessly pursuing Jesus.

Is it a sacrifice to give ten weeks of a coveted college summer? You bet. Worth it? Victoria Whitcomb, a counselor at Ponderosa Lodge this summer thought so.

Victoria was a familiar face to the staff at Ponderosa Lodge. As a long time camper and Super Senior, she was in love with camp and had a deep desire to one day work at Mount Hermon.

As a student at Southern Methodist University in Texas, she knew that taking a summer to serve at Mount Hermon would require a financial sacrifice. However, that did not deter her from making a childhood dream come true.

“Last summer God was calling me to serve at the place that had been so influential for my faith. Responding to that call required some planning, but I am so glad God provided a way for me to counsel at Ponderosa.”

In the summer of 2016, Victoria took a corporate job for one purpose: make enough money to cover her financial responsibilities so that she could serve in the summer of 2017 at Mount Hermon.

 

“This summer I walked away with a more tangible experience of what it’s like to serve. As a counselor, you are constantly serving. Reliance on God is essential, and when you realize that He is the one doing all the work, it is so freeing. Using my summer to serve and lead campers one step closer to Jesus made this past summer the best summer of my life!”

This summer had been a long-time coming for her; that she had been preparing and anticipating serving in this place one day, and took steps far in advance to be available for it.

So Victoria, was it all worth it? “Absolutely. It was an unforgettable experience that I will truly cherish forever.”

Summer Staff 2018 Positions

Meet the Newest Members of Our Year Round Kidder Creek Camp Team

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

Danna Ayers

What an amazing opportunity I’ve been given to work at Kidder Creek Camp! I was born and raised in Siskiyou County and our boys went to day camp at Kidder Creek. I’ve been married to Bob Ayers for 30 years and we have two adult boys, Chris & Caleb. The last 13 years I have studied Natural Horsemanship in addition to working 10 years at Jackson Street Middle school in Yreka. Now I will use my love for Jesus, kids and horses at Kidder Creek Camp. Somebody pinch me – I finally found my dream job!

 

Danielle Smith

Born in the bay area and raised in Tracy, I started my family in the Redding area. My work history includes everything from being a server to a stockbroker. I have learned demanding skills as well as life lessons along the way. I am excited to be the new office manager at Kidder Creek.

Keith is a wonderful father to my five children. Alexis 16, Joey 13, Trenten 12, Devin 10 and Elijah 8. They definitely keep me looking to the Lord for answers. We moved to Scott Valley, because we wanted to be closer to his family. While in Redding, we were a part of a large church community. With the move, we are looking forward to a smaller church family and home at Kidder Creek.

We have such an amazing team of people that serve year round preparing for camp and then overseeing our amazing summer staff during the summer! Welcome to the team, Danna and Danielle!

Summer Events at Kidder Creek

Illuminate the Darkness

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

For a handful of years I taught Outdoor Education at Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz.  We would hike kids around outside, and stop to learn about nature.  The great thing about using an outdoor setting to teach is that it readily lends itself to turning those nature lessons into life lessons.  Jesus understood this: seeds on different soils was really about the condition of our hearts.

As part of our week with students, we would do a night hike.  The redwood forest is shaded and dark during the day due to the thick canopy, but at night, it is near pitch black.  For many students that came to us from larger cities, this was usually the deepest dark they have ever seen.  That plus being in the woods often made these hikes an exercise in trust (in me) and perseverance.

At one point in our night hike I would gather the kids into a circle and stand in the middle.  Then I would light a small candle and hold it above my head.  Every time (and still to this day) it would blow my mind just how much light that little candle would emit.  That tiny flame, barely an inch high, would cast a net of light 40 ft across!  After a half an hour of stumbling through the dark, you could feel the warmth and comfort that little light brought to our circle.

This summer at Kidder Creek we will be looking at the power of Jesus working through us to “Illuminate” the darkness around us.  The light of Jesus changes everything in our own lives, in our communities and in our world!

Summer Events at Kidder Creek