What is your past experience at the Herm? How did you hear about us? What inspired you to come and work on staff?
My past experience at Mount Hermon has been being a counselor at Redwood. I heard about Mount Hermon through my best friend and a desire to be around kids and learn more about myself, as well as learn more about God motivated me to work on staff.
A lot of staffers mention that it’s the “people” that make camp as special as it is. In your experience, what about the people make camp so impactful? Do you have any short anecdotes about specific campers or staff members you would like to share?
The people totally make camp special! Sure, I have good memories with campers; however, my favorite memories involve my fellow staff members. It is an AMAZING community that is there for you at every high and more importantly every low. You literally don’t have to go through anything alone, the vulnerability is contagious. I had the opportunity to bond with so many amazing people over fun, difficult, and hilarious memories. I had the opportunities to share parts of my life I had never before and learned new things about myself. There is nothing like a camp setting. Being a camp counselor is not always easy, but being surrounded by so many amazing people makes it 110% worth it.
One week during the summer I heavily emphasized the feeling God gives us. My campers didn’t quite understand what I meant by this until the last night. One of my campers told me he was able to feel God in a way he had never experienced before and what I had been talking about all week long now made sense. I still get chills reflecting on that story.
If you could encourage anyone to join our staff, what would you tell them?
COME TO MOUNT HERMON, specifically Redwood (I might be a bit biased). You will literally, and I mean literally, have the best summer of your life, and you will grow in so many different ways. God is present here, and it can be felt. You will feel so loved, and so special. The friendships you develop with your fellow staff members are totally unique, and cannot be put into words; you will just have to experience it all for yourself to fully understand.
Has your time on summer staff provided you with any tools (professionally or personally) that have been applicable post camp life?
Summer staff taught me the importance of vulnerability. It was something that I had always had trouble with, and now I understand why it is so important. The opportunity to be vulnerable with people in my life arises very frequently and without my summer at Mount Hermon I would still shy away from it. Spending a summer at Mount Hermon has taught me how to love people better and what it means to be loved by God.
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You would be hard-pressed to find a family more in love with Redwood Camp than the Martins! Susan and Lee met while on summer staff in the 1980’s, their daughters Grace and Hannah counseled for several years each, and their son Kendall was a Camper in Leadership Training (CILT) in 2010.
They told us, “Redwood Camp has given us an avenue to experience God’s grace. In that process, He put in our path some of the most amazing Christians we have ever met. To this day many of them remain very close friends.”
For years, Susan and Lee have wanted to bring their “camp friends” together for a Redwood Camp reunion, to reconnect, share stories, and relive the wonderful memories of a summer spent at camp. When they approached Mount Hermon about doing a reunion this year we were thrilled, and we quickly began working together. What transpired this August was a truly amazing experience, with former directors Dick Dosker and Ron Taylor, as well as more than 80 former Mount Hermon summer staff spanning 60 years of ministry, attending the event.
“What we experienced at the reunion was what makes Redwood Camp unique,” the Martins reflected. “A common purpose of changing kids’ lives for Christ, within an intentional, vibrant community. Even after many years, that characteristic was evident as we gathered together.”
If you have participated on the Mount Hermon staff and would like information about future Staff Alumni reunions, please let us know. We’d love to have you join us!
Andrew Summers is the Program Administrator, whose life was forever changed at Ponderosa. As an alum, he revels in how God continues to reveal Himself at Mount Hermon throughout the years.
This is a guest post by Sydney Boral, a senior in high school who has attended numerous youth camps at Mount Hermon.
Mount Hermon will always be near and dear to my heart because it is where Christ pursued me to be His disciple. This past summer, I experienced Ponderosa Lodge from an entirely new perspective; I was a CILT. CILT, or Campers in Leadership Training, is a two week program in which high school students are trained to share the love of God with junior highers. As amazing as being a leader for younger girls was for me, CILT also provided me with the opportunity to dive deeper into my own faith, and to create bonds with other Christians in high school who truly love Jesus. When you’re a CILT, the entire Ponderosa staff pours their love into you constantly. Then, you are blessed with the chance to pour your own love into campers. CILT taught me a lot about what it looks like to not just be a follower, but a disciple. Serving God and others is so fulfilling, and at the same time you’re having so much FUN!
One of the most noticeable characteristics about being in a leadership role is the challenges you face. I’ve been a camper for seven summers now, and have always been terrified of the leap of faith. One day when I was with my campers at the ropes course, one asked me to be her partner for the jump, and without hesitation I accepted. I’m not sure why her request was so easy to answer, but I know that God was working through me. God really gave me countless ways to be a leader during CILT, and every boundary I grew past brought me closer to being a true disciple.
Another challenge brought on by CILT was knocking down your walls. The entire first week of CILT is spent training to be a leader, and bonding with your fellow CILTs because they are your family. We all had to open up about the tough stuff, but being able to admit your struggles brings you so much closer to God and shows you how much your “family” cares about you.
CILT was undoubtedly the best adventure I’ve ever experienced.