Summer Role: Program Director
What do you do as a Program Director, Leslie?
I plan everything from the beginning of Summer camp to the execution and all that needs to come together. That includes making camp schedules, setting deadlines, creating a staff training plan, etc. At camp I make sure everything comes together as planned as I equip and empower the staff to do their job well. I have realized that you can plan and organize things really well but you need to be able to problem solve, think on your feet and make it work in reality. I also help with challenging camper situations like discipline and homesickness in an effort to support our leaders and campers. I really enjoy that time of helping campers because it gives me the opportunity to walk with our cabin leaders and connect with campers. What I really appreciate about my role is that I get to see the bigger picture of camp - asking the why and then figuring out the how.
What is your Charis Camp Story?
I have come here with my own Church since I was in grade 8 as a camper and then a leader. How I was led to become a cabin leader here at Charis camp was an answer to prayer two years ago. I felt God called me back to be the summer camp Program Director at this place for this season. It has been a faith stretching journey to be here, never had I imagined I would be working at a camp, let alone in Chilliwack. Life is cray cray when you’re on a journey with Jesus. It has been an incredible journey as God has transformed me, worked in and through me to impact lives and be part of this discipleship model through Marty and the staff here. The vision of this camp resonates with me. It is a training ground of impacting leaders so they can be equipped to go where God is calling them.
What has God been teaching you in this season?
The biggest lesson for me this year has been about how I have valued planning and foresight, time and productivity. I don’t like interruptions, especially setbacks! However, those moments taught me to pause - Be Still - in the hustle and bustle of life and work, and know that He is God. God is teaching me to submit and surrender. A verse that has been meaningful through this is Isaiah 55:8-9 where God says His ways and thoughts are higher than mine. I want to live this life unsafe and unsure, but not afraid. It’s been all about stepping out in faith, having my desire be Jesus and have everything be a loving sacrifice to God. This hasn’t always been the case...I grew up as a Chrisitian, knowing all these things but it has moved from head to heart knowledge in a whole new way here. I love being able to share that growth with other Leaders. We all have a story to tell.
What has been a highlight so far this Summer?
I love camp ministry and how it impacts kids. Witnessing kids being transformed by the power of the gospel and the love of Christ through camp is always exciting. Being in my role this year I get to equip and empower leaders to do the same by inviting young leaders to follow me as they follow Christ. Working with the program staff also means I get to encourage and challenge them to tap into their gifts and talents. They make camp ten times better than it would’ve been if I were to do everything myself. I love watching God work through their lives through their roles and am excited for what God will call them onto next! It has been amazing to celebrate with the leaders about what is happening in their campers lives. Even the challenges have been amazing as I watch the leaders grow and change - leaning into Jesus - to love and serve in a way that is only possible because of Christ in their lives.
If you could tell everyone anything about Charis, what would it be?
I love this place. My life has been changed here!
It is the people that are here, not the program or structure of camp. I have witnessed so many kids and leaders, young and old -changed. I love everything I get to witness God doing here. Wherever you are in life and your walk with God, I would highly recommend coming here to experience God and witness his work in such a unique setting and ministry. It’s an amazing place!
It is a great place to experience what Christian community can look like. The verse that comes to mind is John 13: 34-35 “As I have loved you, so you must love one another...:” We live this at Charis. This is what really stood out to me when I first came - a community of people who love Jesus and love kids.
I hear you have had a major life changing event happen at camp with a special someone...a bit of Camp Romance, perhaps???
I came to camp because I really wanted to be here for the kids and be part of what God was doing here but another individual came back last summer for the same reasons and we met! It all started with appreciating one another but didn’t think too much about it during summer months. We kept in touch after, our fondness for each other grew, His love for Christ was evident. Eventually we started dating! We both really appreciate this place, this ministry is so precious. The annual staff knew us really well and were super excited to see this relationship unfold. It was funny to watch but also means a lot to have our “camp family’” be involved! It has been fun coming back this year, serving together and discovering how we compliment one another.
Aside from that can I just say how much I love our Staff this summer?
I love the silly goofiness of the Program staff. We have started talking like each other and laugh a lot about it. I catch myself using different vocabulary than I came in with at times. I love the energy. Plus they are highly capable and everyone works together in their gifts as the Body of Christ. I love watching it all come together. Love this amazing group of people … like I mentioned earlier, it’s not the program or facility, but the people who made Charis Summer Camp 2019 what it is. I love the high energy, fun, and relational part of camp but honestly there’s so many moving parts at camp. There’s a place for everyone; including a city girl like me ;)
Thank you, Leslie! You have been a gift from God to Charis this Summer. It has been a privilege to be your family and get a front row seat to God's hand in your life and your transformation!