Celebrating Love & Leadership: Navigating Romantic Relationships at Camp Mini-Yo-We

Rich BirchBlog

Valentine’s Day Special

Greetings, Camp Mini-Yo-We community! This Valentine’s Day, we’re addressing a unique aspect of the camp experience—navigating romantic relationships among our summer staff. At Mini-Yo-We, our mission is to develop tomorrow’s leaders through life-changing adventures in God’s creation. Our primary workforce is aged 17 to 25, so a significant part of this journey involves managing the natural tension of romantic interests. It’s a time in life when many are looking for long-term romantic partners!

Embracing Tensions With Wisdom

Our approach is not to eliminate romantic relationships but instead to manage them with wisdom and care. While we acknowledge the challenges, like potential heartbreaks and distractions, we also celebrate the numerous positive, long-lasting relationships that have blossomed here—some even leading to marriages. These experiences, when navigated responsibly, can significantly contribute to personal growth and leadership development.

Our Three Guiding Principles

At Mini-Yo-We, we guide our young staff with three foundational principles around romantic relationships at Camp:

Many Over Few: Build a Friendship Crew

Emphasizing broad social connections, we encourage our staff to form diverse friendships. This approach enriches their Mini-Yo-We experience and boosts emotional and mental well-being, offering a foundation for future career and personal relationships.

Connect But Don’t Neglect

Our primary focus remains on serving the next generation. Upholding our mission while forming new relationships is part of the journey. Inspired by Acts 1:8, we remind our staff that serving campers and sharing the message of Jesus takes precedence.

In the Light, Keep It Right

We advocate for transparency and trustworthiness in relationships. Any inclination to hide a relationship should be a prompt for introspection. We foster an environment where relationships can thrive in an open and honest community setting.

Living These Values

Our approach is practical and deeply rooted in real-world experiences. Camp Mini-Yo-We has been the backdrop for numerous enduring relationships, including that of our new board chair, Steve Gibson, and his wife, Alli, as well as our Summer Programs Director, Mike Reimer, and his wife, Danielle. These heartwarming stories stand as a testament to how relationships can blossom and positively influence the community when they are in harmony with our values.

Christine (my wife) and I didn’t meet at Mini-Yo-We, but God used this place and community to form our marriage nearly 30 years ago. I’m thankful for the leaders at the time who gave us the space and support to develop a healthy foundation for our marriage.

In the formative years spent at Camp, countless lifelong relationships (romantic and otherwise) have taken root, a remarkable testament to the enduring power of love cultivated in our community. While we cherish these commitments that have blossomed over time, it’s equally important to acknowledge the ephemeral nature of many “summer camp romances”. As the fall leaves begin their colourful transformation, so too do these fleeting summer connections often gently fade, leaving behind valuable experiences and memories. This balance of enduring love and transient summer romance is part of the tension we manage working with so many exceptional young leaders.

Balancing Relationships With Mission

We recognize the excitement and intensity of summer romances, especially in the vibrant atmosphere at Mini-Yo-We. However, we always circle back to our core purpose—developing young leaders and serving campers. The fast-paced nature of camp life is a reminder that while romantic relationships may begin here, they are best nurtured beyond summer’s timeframe.

A Celebration of Love & Leadership

This Valentine’s Day, we celebrate not only the romantic relationships that have emerged from Camp Mini-Yo-We but also the profound personal growth and leadership development we have fostered. Our approach to managing romantic relationships is designed to reinforce our mission and enhance the overall experience.

We invite you to reflect on these principles and how they resonate with your experiences and aspirations. May this day be a reminder of the beautiful blend of love, leadership and community that makes Camp Mini-Yo-We a special place.

Want to dig into how we discuss these issues with our summer staff team? Here are some downloadable resources that can help you sneak behind the scenes: