Camp Mini-Yo-We From a Newcomer’s Perspective: Why You Should Take the Leap!

Riley BurrowsSummer Staff

Riley “Hibou” Burrows is in her third year of Concurrent Education at Queen’s University. She joined our summer staff team as the Land Activity Head in 2023 and we look forward to her returning as a Site Director at Junior Camp this summer!

My Introduction to Mini-Yo-We

This past summer was my first time working at Camp Mini-Yo-We. As a university student, I knew my opportunity to do so was getting shorter, prompting me to talk with friends who had worked at camps before about their experiences. They connected me with some of the full-time staff from Mini-Yo-We. After meeting some of them and hearing about Camp’s core values, I began the hiring process. They asked intentional questions in a low-pressure environment while prioritizing prayer and thoughtfulness. I immediately felt connected and valued.

First-Day Nerves

I was nervous about arriving at Camp. I had never been to Mini-Yo-We, so I was unfamiliar with the traditions, other staff members, and grounds. However, as soon as I got there, people introduced themselves, guided me, and connected me with others. Overall, everyone was so open to getting to know new people. Plus, I discovered that Mini-Yo-We values a newcomer’s perspective, as it provides a new vantage point for feedback on how to improve.

Exceptionally Welcoming Community

Staff training helped me to feel prepared for my role as Land Activity Head while also providing an opportunity to get to know other staff members through team-building games and intentional conversations. It can be challenging to meet so many people at once, but Mini-Yo-We understands this difficulty. Staff members are purposeful about checking in, providing reassurance, and getting to know you.

Once I learned to be okay with some discomfort and put myself out there, I connected with others. This experience helped me grow in my ability to get to know new people in new environments and such amazing friendships with like-minded people formed over the summer. It also allowed me to understand how young first-time campers feel when they arrive at Mini-Yo-We!

Jaime was also new to Camp and was a Section Head. He said, “Upon arriving, I didn’t know anyone and didn’t even know what my job position fully entailed! I was nervous and doubtful, but I was met with people who were SO welcoming, encouraging, and kind, showing me the ropes yet also letting me create my own vision. I couldn’t have asked for a more legendary team to work with every day, making this the best summer of my life.”

Why You Should Join the MYW Team

Camp allows leaders to try new things in a fun, flexible, supportive environment, which takes some of the pressure off. Stepping into the unknown grows confidence and oftentimes leads to some of our favourite memories. For example, I was asked to go on a canoe trip for the first time. It was physically challenging but allowed me to develop bonds with campers and friends while making unforgettable memories together. At Camp, I also learned how to better manage a team, encourage giftings in others, live out my faith by displaying God’s love daily, and be intentional about checking in on people. Being surrounded by others who were aiming to grow in their faith and their skills helped each of us to do the same.

Emily, another newcomer, was an Activity Leader and Cabin Leader. She said, “Mini-Yo-We provided an environment that allowed me to challenge myself with new experiences, grow in amazing ways, and have so much fun. I felt embraced and welcomed into the camp culture. I’m so grateful that God led me to Mini-Yo-We this past summer!”

I look forward to being back at Mini-Yo-We this summer at Junior Camp and hope to see you there!