If you’ve ever wondered why so many young people spend their summer serving at Camp Mini-Yo-We instead of working other jobs for more money and time off, you are not alone. After years of attending and working at camps and learning about the experiences of others, I’ve found the secret lies in the development and intersection of three things: community, faith, and leadership.
The people you surround yourself with matter. We see that in 1 Corinthians 15:33 where Paul warns the people of Corinth that “bad company corrupts good character”. A good community is one that encourages you and wants you to succeed. According to Annalisa (two summers on staff), Mini-Yo-We is “a close community of people who will hold you accountable but will also recognize your achievements”. You might be thinking that many jobs can cultivate that kind of community, but as Gavin (two summers on staff) points out, “making real friends and engaging in fun activities while leading kids to Christ is an experience that no other job can replicate”.
Faith development at Camp translates to life beyond the summer. Serving at Mini-Yo-We allows staff to gain independence and individually choose to learn about Jesus and apply it to their lives. This past summer was rejuvenating for Annalisa: “I never felt so encouraged in my faith to the point where I made serious changes to how much I was reading the Bible and praying”. Another staff member, Ben, first served in 2023 and is already signed up for next summer. He values Camp because “it gave me the motivation to prioritize my spiritual growth not only at Camp, but at home as well”. This fall, he returned to his high school and started a Bible study with other LITs and summer staff. Now it’s an official school club reaching beyond their friend group and into their community.
Working at a summer camp helps you understand your impact, which is a huge asset for navigating school and the workplace. The more time spent on staff, the more opportunity there is for understanding your impact. Avery (four summers on staff) notes that “if you stick around for a while, you get to see a camper you had become a leader”. This process is rare outside of a camp setting. In addition to impact, working at Mini-Yo-We develops both soft and practical skills. Jocelyn (three summers on staff) is currently in school to be a teacher. She believes that her time on staff is “very valuable and will be so beneficial in the future, especially working with kids”.
What Does This Mean?
So why should you encourage young leaders to apply to work at Camp Mini-Yo-We? As Gaby (two summers on staff) puts it, Camp gives “the experience of working in a community where you can also learn so much and grow in your faith at the same time”. Kya (two summers on staff) echoes this: “There is no other space like serving at Camp where…young people [are] dedicated to serving Jesus and learning about Jesus. All the experiences tend to point you to God and to the people He has placed around Camp”.