The Next Season of the Mini-Yo-We Internship

Jez BellBlog

Having now been at Camp Mini-Yo-We in the role of Outdoor Centre Director for the last year and half, I have been privileged to work with two different groups of interns. To shed some light on the past couple of years, I have some reflections to share about these amazing young adults and the Mini-Yo-We Internship program.

The internship is the fourth step of leadership programming at Camp Mini-Yo-We following Enterprise, Leaders In Training (LIT), and joining the camp team as a Summer Staff member. The internship program is designed to challenge young adults by focusing on life skills, work experience, and leadership development within the context of a tightly knit Christian community. Interns must demonstrate strong Christian character, have graduated high school, and be eager to grow as individuals.

I would like to take a moment to share the story of one of the interns from a few years ago. He has been back at camp a number of times since completing the internship and he often comments on how he loved having time during the internship to develop skills that he didn’t know he had or was hesitant to use. The skills he learnt during the internship have helped him in a secular workforce environment. The internship also helped this individual grow in and take ownership of his faith. Having grown up in a Christian home, he told me he was able to combine his textbook knowledge with the questions and discussions he engaged in during the internship to deepen his personal relationship with Jesus. Our goal is to help our interns understand that their faith is lived out through their work, whether at camp or outside of it, and their character will dictate their actions and attitudes in all areas of life.

Throughout the year at camp, our interns are provided with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and skills in a variety of areas. Our interns work alongside experienced full-time staff to care for and maintain our facilities, prepare and serve meals for guest groups, assist with administrative duties, prepare for and host guest groups, and instruct and oversee a wide range of outdoor activities including rock climbing, biking, canoeing, archery, and cross-country skiing. Interns are trained, equipped, and supported by the full-time staff team as they take on and perform these responsibilities.

We also long to see our interns mature in their faith through daily devotions, weekly Bible studies, service opportunities with local churches, and participation in the overall ministry of Camp. To assist in this spiritual growth, guest speakers are invited to come and encourage the interns in different aspects of their faith and maturity. We discuss topics such as of goal setting, prayer ministry, personal finance, godly character, and team building, to name a few.

In the 2016/2017 internship season we introduced the Community Life Director role at Camp. These two full-time team members live and work alongside our interns as supervisors and mentors, and they help guide the process of navigating the joys and challenges of living together. Taking time to talk to the interns and offer them encouragement, the Community Life Directors often use their life experience coupled with the interns’ own self-evaluation to help the interns grow and mature both individually and as camp team members.

Time and time again, the interns tell me the reason they love the Mini-Yo-We Internship is because of the relationships they develop with each other. It is hard to leave Camp after an amazing summer together with great friends, but it is even harder to say goodbye to people you spend a whole year serving with. It is through these friendships that the interns experience the most growth as individuals and as a group. They learn to serve and trust one another and form a team that places others before the self.

During their year at Camp, the interns have lots of fun on site and off site using our outdoor education equipment. It could be a canoe trip down the Muskoka River or a cross-country ski trip in one of the provincial parks. It could be a day out skating the ice trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park or a mountain bike trip into Huntsville. If I have learned anything about the internship program, it’s this: if you are standing near or close to interns, then you are never too far away from FUN!

Our mission at Camp Mini-Yo-We is to “develop tomorrow’s leaders through life-changing adventures in God’s creation.” The internship is designed to be an intensive training ground that facilitates the interns’ development as strong leaders. Servant leadership is at the heart of our program, and as a community we spur each other on to living and leading as Jesus did.

When I reflect on my short time here at Camp Mini-Yo-We and my role leading the internship program, I get excited! I remember the fun times we have had together as well as the tough times. The growth that I see throughout the year is such an encouragement to both myself and the full-time staff here at camp. I can only be excited for the future of this amazing leadership program and for the young people that will one day become a part of the Camp Mini-Yo-We Internship team.

The Mini-Yo-We Internship

The Mini-Yo-We Internship is a 12-month leadership experience for young adults who have graduated high school. Each season begins in mid-August with team training and ends the next year with two months of summer camp programs. The internship focuses on developing the whole person with a particular focus on spiritual growth and community living.

 Find out more about the internship here. Applications for the 2018/2019 season are now available online!