While Camp MiVoden is known locally for its engaging summer camp programs and year-round retreats, that recognition became national this year after Newsweek named it among the top summer camps in the United States. But what makes Camp MiVoden different? If you asked around, the universal answer would be: the staff.
Camp could not happen without the ardent efforts of all Camp MiVoden staff members. Summer is an especially busy time and takes a lot of preparation and dedication to run. Before opening the camp to the youth, seasonal Camp MiVoden staff arrive one to two weeks earlier than the campers to train and acquire any necessary certification.
“I always dreamed about working at camp when I was a camper,” said Alyssa Brown, equestrian camp director. As a long-time camper of six years, Brown graduated to staff member last year. This is her second summer working at Camp MiVoden. “I love the mission of camp and the ability to spend my summer connecting campers to Christ and creating a loving community with Christ at the center.”
There are many reasons why summer staff choose to work at Camp MiVoden. Zachary Damm, Disciple Trek and Abba’s Child counselor, said MiVoden is the only place he’s truly been able to do what his heart desires and he plans to let God take the reins this summer.
Micalyn Haugsted, who works in the same position, said her goals this summer are to show campers the love of Christ and to bring them joy. She wants to give them the same fond memories she has of camp.
Wilderness Trekking staff member Branden Ermshar said his goal this summer is to bring others to Jesus and make sure every kid feels loved and cared for. He emphasized how every child comes from a different walk of life and that a simple hug can make a big difference.
“Camp is one of the coolest ministries because it not only creates an environment for our campers to commit their lives to Jesus, but for our staff to do the same, deepening their relationship with Him,” said Megan Olfert, wakeboard girls’ counselor and boat driver.
There are many things which drive Camp MiVoden, but a fundamental piece is the staff’s desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus and allowing Him to lead them. According to staff members Makenna Shirinzadeh and Hailey Fischer, Camp MiVoden is where they feel closest to God.
Camp MiVoden staff come from all different backgrounds and experiences, but the one thing they all have in common is a desire to share God’s love with campers in whatever way — be it big or small — they can.