2018 SUMMER STAFF BLOG!

Hear about all the stuff going on at SON-Life this Summer
right from our very own summer staff!

 
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DREW TIMMER
DIRECTOR OF MINISTRIES

Our Summer Staff are some of the greatest people I know! They give up their entire summer, to come bunk in cabins, stay up way too late, eat a lot of the same food all summer, play the same games, and sing the same songs each week -- just to joyfully and enthusiastically spread the Good News of Jesus to these young people each and every day.

Sometimes when I tell people what we do here, they respond with "I don't know how you guys do it!" -- and it's kinda true. It takes a special person to give what my staff do! What a commendable group of kingdom-minded high school and college age kids. It's pretty wild that I get to lead this team, and I can assure you, we're all giving our very best to create an excellent experience for these campers. So many of the kids say they love tubing on the lake, shouting out loud in worship, and many of our crazy camp games. We even have campers who are so upset to leave camp at the end of the week that they convince their parents to send them for a second one!!

WE LOVE THAT!

There are so many amazing things that happen here. God is working! And we LOVE that we get to be a part of the legacy of the faith He has been building at this awesome little 40-acre slice of heaven that is SON-LIFE CAMP!

Anyways, you gotta hear it all from the staff! They have the best stories, they were right on the front lines during an amazing God moment, and they get to see some of the powerful things He is doing in the campers' lives here.

Please continue to pray for us! I remind my staff always that the days are long, but the weeks go SO fast! So, we have to make the most of our limited time with these younsters -- helping them grow, trying out new things, and discovering more about Jesus and the incredible works He has done! And we can't do this successfully without communing with God who gives us the strength and endurance to make each day incredible for these kids!

 
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EMILY GORMAN
SENIOR COUNSELOR

The summer season has had a great start!  We've had one Junior Escape/Day Camp and Outpost.  I love having the kiddos here because their laughter brings happiness to camp.  Our theme this year is Crush It!  We are teaching the kids how to crush the idols in their lives that separate them from God.  It's my favorite night of camp when my girls start to identify what those idols are.  I've had some good conversations with the girls on how to get rid of those idols and put God first.  My favorite moment from the summer so far is all the questions my girls have been asking.  I had a camper a couple weeks ago ask me what the world would be like if Jesus had never died on the cross.  It is amazing to see how deep she was thinking at age 12.  I didn't start to ask a question like that until I was in high school.  Camp is my favorite way to spend the summer.  I can't wait to see how God will move in the coming weeks.

 
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TIM BRINKS
SENIOR COUNSELOR

Summer camp is a fun place be for the three-month vacation as a college student. The fun kids and counselors get to have includes backyard games, swimming, and a night game during the week. Besides these fun activities, the true desire at SON-Life is being a counselor that walks alongside these kids and help them grow in Lord Jesus Christ more.

Therefore, the great moments are during FUSION lessons, small groups, and In The Word time. These are the best moments at SON-Life because, as a counselor, I am entering into God's plan to help the kids to know and love the Lord. Therefore, what can be more satisfying than knowing that I am working alongside God in building His kingdom here on Earth.  

 
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STEPHANIE SMITH
PROGRAM ASSISTANT

The work that God does at this camp continues to amaze me! This is my fifth year on staff and I have seen God move through campers of almost every age but this last week He stirred in the heart of one of our Primary Campers to the point where she had a hard time sleeping because of the questions she had about our creator. I was blessed with the opportunity to join in on this conversation with a counselor as I went to check in with the staff at porch time. This camper was wondering “If God is so big, how God would save someone from getting hurt?” A very profound question from such a young camper!

We talked though this question and it led to even more wonder of God and his power. She wanted to know how God created the world and specifically what God created first. To answer this question, I said let’s check and see so we opened up the Word and read all of Genesis Ch. 1-3. I paused along the way to see if she wanted me to keep reading and she did! I was impressed with her curiosity, engagement, awe, and wonder of God and his creation!

She asked excellent questions along the way about if God created space? How he came up with the names? We ended the conversation with an explanation of what Jesus did for us so that we could live with God in perfect harmony again one day! To which the campers said, I think I am ready for bed now! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to share God’s amazing creation, fall, and restoration plan. God is so great and He is at work in this place! 

 
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BEN BARTELS
SENIOR COUNSELOR

I have the best job ever! I've been told this, week after week. "You get paid to have fun!" My campers are right. It is the best job ever and I do get paid to have fun! But that isn't why I do what I do. I think the reason I come back to camp year after year is because of how evident God is at this camp. I've seen campers come to Christ, I've seen burdens of individuals be dropped here. I've seen campers surround individuals with love when they get that nowhere else.

SON-Life camp has consistently reminded me the joy it is to be a kid and what it means to have child-like faith. Week after week I'll see campers unashamed to raise their hands in worship and praise God, they yearn for His presence. I think what also makes my job so cool is with the campers that have consistently come year after year, have told me "Ben, I want to be on staff. I want to do what you do."

Hearing this is so humbling. These campers want to give back what they have received. They know there is something different about this place, and they want to be a part of it. This is no ordinary Christian camp. God is doing amazing things in everyone that comes in contact with this place. 

 
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CHELSEA VELDKAMP
SENIOR COUNSELOR

One of my favorite things I get to do at camp is help Drew lead worship. I've had this unique perspective for all my four years working on summer staff at SON-Life. Not only do I get to lead by example while singing praises to our Lord, I also get to watch as our campers pour all their hearts into loving and worshiping Him.

I want to say thank you for all your support of the staff here at SON-Life. We could not do it without you! It's because of your support of this ministry that we get to do awesome things like lead our campers in worship.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers! Specifically as we finish out the last few weeks of Summer, to give these campers the best week ever! Thank you again for all you do for this place! It means so much to us!

 
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ALLIE BARTELS
CO-COUNSELOR

Last summer I had the opportunity to be the photographer at SON-Life. With the camera I was able to capture precious moments with counselors and campers. This summer I’m a Co-Counselor experiencing these moments for myself.

One moment that continuously sticks out to me is a time with one of my Primary Experience aged girls. She was nine years old. She wondered where she should start reading in the Bible. I suggested the beginning and creation. We read Genesis 1-3 together. It opened a new spark of faith in her and my life. Re-reading how creation started allowed me to remember how Great God is.

Knowing God called me to camp, and he has this wonderful plan in my life allows me to teach these campers the same thing. We are loved by the creator of this world. He made every little thing and decided the earth needed us to. We are His people. God pursues us, so we should worship him.

SON-Life is doing incredible things in my life, and is impacting so many young kids. This is one of the many reasons SON-Life has so many returning staff and campers. I love SON-Life and you will too.

 
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HOPE VAN SOLKEMA
SENIOR COUNSELOR

I love being a counselor because I get to see God working in the camper's lives. The most rewarding part of being a counselor is seeing campers give their lives to Christ for the first time, or returning back to God after falling away. I have seen this happen multiple times this summer, and every time I do, my heart is full.

Being a counselor this summer has been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. God is doing incredible things here this summer and I am honored to be a part of it.

 
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ELLA SALMI
PHOTOGRAPHER

Wow, this camp is truly amazing! Being the photographer, I don't get to interact with the kids as often. but when I do, I see God in each and every one of them!

One example of this is one night in worship almost every camper had their arms raised praising God! I felt His presence very strongly that night!

Another example is through prayer walk. At the last station we are all together. When Gibby was talking I felt God there, but when I looked at the campers faces. I saw Him! When I'm walking around camp, seeing these campers digging into God's Word, it makes my heart smile.

This summer has helped me grow in multiple ways. One is being comfortable to interact with the kids. I couldn't imagine this Summer being any other way and I hope to be back next Summer!

 
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HALEY MEYERING
WATERFRONT DIRECTOR

SON-Life has had such an amazing Summer! God has been stirring in so many young people's hearts & lives. One way I have seen God move is in prayer walk. After telling a group of campers about Elijah & after praying with the, a camper stopped, turned around, and said to me "I think I felt His presence."

The fact that God revealed Himself to that camper and they were willing to share it with me shows how God uses this camp to grow His relationships with young people, and bring them closer to Him.

Please be praying that the young people who come to camp have open minds, hearts, and ears to receive God and His Word, so He can reveal Himself more.

 
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Ashley Veldkamp
CIT (Counselor-In-Training)

SON-Life Camp brought back the Counselor-In-Training program this summer. I have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program. Ever since I was a day camper, I have dreamed of being on staff. Not only because of how welcoming the staff continued to make me feel, but also because I could see the way God moved in my life here at SON-Life. I was so blessed to be able to watch God move in the campers lives as He did in mine through worship and time set aside to talk to Him and the staff He worked through. 

 
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Cameron Pikaart
CIT (Counselor-In-Training)

Hey everyone! My name is Cam and I have had the awesome opportunity of going to SON-Life as a camper on Outpost this summer. I then came on staff as a Counselor-In-Training! I have had an extremely unique experience as I have been learning on the job. One of the things that always crossed my mind was whether I was doing a good job or not. One night, during a Junior Escape week, I prayed to the Lord that He would tell me if I was making a positive impact. The next day, when I was hanging out with campers at the waterfront, one of them told me that I was their favorite counselor EVER! In that moment, I knew God had my back on this and would give me guidance. Guidance for our ministry, campers, and staff is always something that you can be praying for! Without such, camp would not be such an amazing experience as it is today!

 
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Seth Verburg
Co-Counselor

It has been such a blessing working at SON-Life this summer. This has been my second year at camp and I have seen so many of my campers last year come back. I am amazed by the questions my campers had about God and the Bible. From my 6-year-old Day Campers to my 13-year-old Junior Escapers. They had questions about “The Flood”, the book of Job, what does God look like, and many about the lessons on Moses and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. This summer has been so blessed and I ask that you pray that next summer will be the same!