The Life of a Camp Staff Kid

staffkidsThere's a group of Northland staff members that have a bond deeper and different than any department. Despite varying ages, backgrounds, and being separated for nine months of the year, their reunion each summer is sweet and seamless. If you want to meet with them, you should come to the campsite shortly after a mealtime. You'll usually find the majority of this influential group gathered in Center Court, holding strategy meetings about the rest of their day. They're typically experts at evaluating Camp activities, food, Children's and Teen groups, and even Funny Time, and at times, can be the toughest critics. Of course I'm talking about Staff Kids.

This year's class of full-time staff and evangelistic team members' children is 22 strong, ranging in ages from 16 years to one week. They spend the two weeks of staff training getting reacquainted, and the next eight weeks of summer attending Pioneer Village, Teen Camp, Children's and Teen Groups (during Family Camps), volunteering in the Camp office, playing in the orchestra, or hanging out with the Camp babysitter. The younger children enjoy the playground and sidewalks in Center Court as their summer "front yard" and a ten week home for their bikes, scooters, big wheels and strollers.

"My favorite part about being a Camp staff kid is the privileges you get," said Anna Grace Galkin (10). "Like sometimes I don't have to wear shoes at the climbing wall. But I also like helping out in the office by emptying the trash."

"Children's groups are what I like the most," said Madeline Fipps (6). "The preaching is really good. I also have lots of friends at camp like Ella (Coffey)."

"My favorite thing about Camp is getting to see all of my friends again, like Wesley (Keith) and Jack-Jack (Whitt)," said Tommy Frazor (6). "I really like PV too."

"I love working in the Camp Office because I get to know all of the secrets," said Emily Whitt (16). "Like how things work behind the scenes, the best strategy for games, and some really funny things about the Leadership Team. But most of all, there are a lot of Godly people for me to look up to."

Of course with their parents actively involved in every facet of Camp, the younger Staff Kids couldn't make it without a babysitter. For the second year, Katie Sanders (Lake Orion, MI) has had the opportunity to watch over and care for the younger group. It's a task that some would view as a major undertaking, but one she views from a unique perspective.

"I have such a love for the younger kids and got really attached to them last year," Katie said. "I've actually always wanted to be a counselor, but unsure if some health issues would allow me to do it. So for the past two summers I've looked at the Staff Kids as my campers. We go on trips to the Snack Shop and Daily Grind, and talk about what God has been teaching them in classes. I really love what I do."

So while most of the thousands of teens and juniors that come on the campsite wish they could stay all summer long, there is a special group of "campers" that get that privilege. And if you stick close to them, you may actually learn a few of the Camp "secrets!"

-Northland Camp

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