What It's Like to Work at NaCoMe

We've got a guest post today! Hopps, a member of the 2017 Summer Staff shares about her experience serving. 

 

This was my first year working at a summer camp, and it was a dream. The mission statement of Camp NaCoMe is to engage all people to build community, connect with God, and renew spirits. I can truthfully say that I experienced all of these in the time I worked there this summer. The very first day of staff training I realized that Camp NaCoMe has one of the best communities I have ever been a part of. Everyone is so welcoming. The staff made intentional conversations with me and included me in the group as if they had known me for years. The atmosphere of NaCoMe is so uplifting and encouraging. Instead of one of competition or drama, NaCoMe has an atmosphere of helping and prioritizing group goals.

As a staff member at camp, it’s not just us giving to the kids, it's also the kids giving to us. I didn’t know that was going to happen at first. The Lord told me to pay attention, listen, and to keep an open mind. Going in with that mindset, the kids that were placed in my cabin throughout the weeks of summer taught me so much about loving others. The children showed me that the most important thing is showing and receiving the Father's love. Working at camp renewed my spirit in the simplest, but most impactful way—through love.

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Not only are there wonderful people at NaCoMe, but the camp itself is beautiful. It is perfectly engineered to let one experience new things, such as human foosball, the rock wall, and zip lining. As wonderful as all of those man-made attractions are, they pale in comparison to the beauty of God's creation found at NaCoMe. We are still surrounded by gorgeous trees, trickling streams, and the refreshingly cool swimming hole.

On Tuesday nights during summer camp, we did something called "home in the woods" where we would go into the woods with our campers and camp out. This was by far the most memorable thing about camp for me. During the campout, we have the opportunity to get away from the distractions of the world, have community with each other, and get to be more in touch with God by being surrounded by His creation.

 I am super thankful for NaCoMe. Working there this summer gave me new friendships, fond memories, and growth in the Lord.

- Hopps

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The success of our summer camp is dependent upon our summer staff. We were extremely lucky to have people like Hopps with us this past summer. Camp doesn't happen without our counselors, worship leaders, and the rest of our summer staff.

A New Trail Gives Us A Reason To Thank Our Volunteers

If you've been to NaCoMe recently, you know that we've had a surge of renovations and additions to our program and facilities. And while we say it a lot, we can't stress enough how important volunteers have been to the whole process. There is no way we could have done it all ourselves. NaCoMe is beyond grateful for every individual that volunteers to help. Rachel Barnes was one of the volunteers that NaCoMe was fortunate to have volunteer her time working with us this past summer. Rachel is a girl scout, and she chose NaCoMe as the location for her Gold Award project. Rachel, her father, and her friends spent over eighty hours constructing a new trail that NaCoMe is thrilled to have. Here’s what Rachel had to say about building the trail she named Sunnyside Up.

“To build Sunnyside Up, I first laid out the design then hiked the area with a few people to scope out an appropriate place to put a trail. Next, I convinced a group of friends to come and help build the trail with me. We started by working on what would be the beginning and end of the trail first. We weed whacked, sprayed round-up, raked, and moved logs. It took over eighty hours of hard work, but we were able to create a trail that will be easy for families to hike and is surrounded by gorgeous scenes of nature.

Sunnyside Up starts by the upper lake and loops around to end at the Rec Field. It is a moderate level trail that goes for about 2 miles and took me 45 minutes to walk. The trail is steep in the beginning, levels out at the top, and then goes back down at the end. We put in foot holds as well as wooden planks for guidance in the steeper parts to help hikers easily walk up and down the hills. The trail is marked with bright orange spray paint on trees and rocks along the way. Sunnyside Up was a wonderful experience to build and I cannot wait to see people using it. Plus, you can get cell-phone service when you are at the top of the trail!”

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Sunnyside Up is a fun new trail that helps us make use of the beautiful scenery to be found at NaCoMe. We are excited that this trail allows people to experience and explore even more of the amazing 600 acres of which NaCoMe is composed. Thank you again to Rachel and to everyone who has volunteered here. We would not be what we are without your help.

Summer Camp 2017 By The Numbers

One of the most important things we do at NaCoMe is measure our results. Like any company or organization, we want to know if we’re meeting our goals. One of our primary tools in evaluating and measuring our summer camp program is the camper survey. Every camper completes one on the last day of camp. And here are some of the most notable results from this summer.

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The Foundation:
98.46% Felt accepted by their counselor and their group.
97.95% Made new friends at camp.
99.49% Felt closer to God at camp.

These questions are the bedrock of a NaCoMe camp experience. We build a community of acceptance for all campers, fostering dynamics that encourage making new friends. In doing so, we’re inviting campers to explore the nature of God and his desire to be in relationship with us.

The Program:
99.49% Enjoyed the activities at camp.
95.90% Tried something new at camp.
89.74% Liked getting away from technology while at camp.

These questions tell us about the nuts and bolts of our schedule, and are pretty straightforward except for that last one. This year, we included a technology question honestly expecting to get low scores. As technology becomes ever more integrated into our daily lives, we hold a firm belief in the magic and simplicity of a tech-free experience, and we’re pleasantly surprised to see a strong majority of our campers agree.

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Taking It Home:
96.92% Said camp is the best or one of the best weeks of their summer.
98.46% Grew in their faith at camp.
96.41% Said they want to grow closer to God at home because of their camp experience.

The camp experience is not designed to be an insular, one-time thing. We want the sparks of camp to inspire change in campers’ lives back home. These questions are- to us- the most important. The power of camp is that it’s sticky- it lasts long after the week of camp is over.

Perhaps the most incredible thing about these results is that they are more than numbers. Each of these statistics is a story; a real, human story being written right now. We’re humbled by these results and thankful that we got to be a small part of the story of these campers this summer.

Until the next chapter at NaCoMe,

Ryan “Flash” Moore
Director

Donors Fund The Dreams, Everything Else Just Pays the Bills

Donors Fund The Dreams, Everything Else Just Pays the Bills

A few days ago, I was (regrettably) fortunately dragged into a Facebook discussion by a pastor that I knew from college. We’ve maintained a fairly minimal connection, but he knows I’m in the camp and retreat world. He had originally posted that ministry camps should lower their rates because it’s too expensive for families to send their kids. He messaged me and invited me to join the discussion that was occurring on the post because I would be approaching it from a different angle. I did, and it taught me a lot.

Summer Camp By The Numbers

Summer Camp By The Numbers

There’s a reason it’s called ‘feedback’; it’s because we’re hungry for it. No other source of information is used more significantly to enhance and improve our summer camp programs than our camper and parent surveys. Speaking of which… are you a camp parent? Have you filled out the parent survey? Click HERE to complete it!

The Sounds Campers Make

The Sounds Campers Make

Spend a few hours around a group of NaCoMe campers, and you’ll hear an odd collection of phrases, noises, and seemingly otherworldly communications. It happens every year, and it’s what we know as “camper noises.” But these noises do more than interrupt the trickling water of the creek; they’re signs of communities being formed.

The Best Way To Support NaCoMe

The Best Way To Support NaCoMe

I got a call from a parent yesterday. She’s never sent her son to an overnight camp before, and heard about NaCoMe from a friend. I spent about 15 minutes on the phone with her answering her questions about activities and specifics of camp, but it was clear that she already had positive feelings about NaCoMe from the start. And that’s half the battle.

Reclaiming Conversation: An Interview with Sherry Turkle

Reclaiming Conversation: An Interview with Sherry Turkle

The following is a story from the March issue of the American Camp Association’s Camping Magazine. It communicates just one of the many benefits that summer camp experiences can have on youth today:

Sherry Turkle, PhD, is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT; and the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. She teaches about the psychology and sociology of how computers and cell phones change the way we learn, how we feel, and how they affect not just what we do but who we are. The author of a number of books, her most recent, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, was released in 2015 and investigates how a departure from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity — and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us recover lost and valuable skills.

Enrolled Is Not Registered: a guide to our new registration software

Enrolled Is Not Registered: a guide to our new registration software

We are happy to announce that we are using a new registration software for summer camp this year. After evaluating our needs in the fall of last year, we decided a switch would allow us to serve you better. It should make the registration process easier for you as a parent, especially when you come back to register next year or if you are registering multiple campers. However, as with all new things, there are a few changes and features that we would like you to be aware of. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Why Camp? Part 2

Why Camp? Part 2

I hear great stories about camp experiences all the time. When I visit churches, talk with staff, or spend time with retreat groups, a great story is never far away. As I’ve progressed as a camp professional, adding stories to my collection, it’s become clear that great camp stories usually involve a few of the same elements: adversity, challenge, and community. Rarely is a good story told that doesn’t involve those, and the reason is simple. A great story is only told about a great camp experience, and a great camp experience, believe it or not, needs a healthy dose of adversity, challenge, and community. The fact that we tell stories years or decades after the camp experience is not just because they’re good stories, but because they are stories about how we became who we are.

Why Camp? Part 1

Why Camp? Part 1

There were only so many things my 6th grade backpack could hold.

Having already loaded down our individual packs with personal items, we quickly realized we had underestimated the remaining supplies needed for the group. Even with our packs nearly full, we still needed members of our group to carry jugs of water, cooking pots, a flat skillet, 5 tarps, a cooler for cold food, another container of food and cooking utensils, and a few pieces of dry firewood protected from the elements with saran wrap. Did I mention it was raining?