2019 SUMMER STAFF FAQs

Pretty much all the great stuff you’d need to know about the hiring process and a little bit about what working at SON-Life this summer might look like. We know it’s a lot of information, but we want you to feel confident that you know what this Summer could look like, and what the expectations are of all of our staff.

 
Our campers love to be out on the lake. That’s why we have waterfront time every afternoon! Swimming, boating, blobbing, and speedboat tubing are some of the daily water activities we have on our camp schedule.

Our campers love to be out on the lake. That’s why we have waterfront time every afternoon! Swimming, boating, blobbing, and speedboat tubing are some of the daily water activities we have on our camp schedule.

Our Day Campers hang out with us each day, which includes circle games, snack time, worship & dancing, bible time, lunch, swim time, and more! Here they are headed to Bible time at the Outdoor Chapel.

Our Day Campers hang out with us each day, which includes circle games, snack time, worship & dancing, bible time, lunch, swim time, and more! Here they are headed to Bible time at the Outdoor Chapel.

IMPORTANT DATES

Staff Bash — May 3-4

Staff Training — June 4-15 (Support Staff arrive June 4, all else June 6)

Summerfest Fundraiser — June 15 (we are usually free by 8:30pm, after the event concludes)

Junior Escape 1 & Day Camp 1 (First week with campers) — June 16-21

Outpost Expedition (Senior Staff Only) — June 23-28

Week off - 4th of July week

Junior Escape 2 & Day Camp 2 — July 7-12

Teen Extreme (Senior Staff only) — July 14-19

Junior Escape 3 & Primary Experience — July 21-26

Junior Escape 4 & Day Camp 3 — July 28-Aug 2

End of Camp Celebration Day - August 3

Post-Camp (Support Staff Only) — Aug 5-7

For more info on the different camp sessions we run during the summer, click here:

Please Note:

1) Summerfest is a fundraiser for the camp. We invite the community, family, and friends to come to camp for a pig roast, auction, games, and use of the waterfront. It is required of all team members to be present for that day to help with activities.

2) Outpost Expedition includes two nights at SON-Life and two nights camping in tents away from camp, typically up north near the Cadillac area.

3) Generally, only 18+yo staff (Senior Staff) are hired for Outpost Expedition & Teen Extreme. Exceptions are made sometimes, for media team roles, like Videographer and Photographer.

 

GET TO KNOW US A LITTLE BETTER

SON-LIFE CAMP IN A NUTSHELL
SON-Life Camp is a non-denominational camp located in Wayland, Michigan – about halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. We are set on 40 beautiful acres with plenty of room to have fun and enjoy God’s creation.

Our facilities include cabins, a retreat center (meeting space, bathrooms and showers, offices, game room), dining hall, recreation fields, a variety of outdoor activity areas (archery, tomahawks, gaga, moleball, volleyball, low initiatives, and more) and a waterfront area (beach, shallow and deep swim areas, blob, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, paddleboats, & speed boat tubing) set on a beautiful lake. We can host up to 74 campers per week, and generally hire a summer staff of around 18 individuals.

With SON-Life Camp being smaller in size, we are able to give campers a more personal touch during their week of camp where no one has to worry about getting lost in the shuffle. Our summer ministry team becomes an intimate and cohesive group building friendships that last long beyond summer camp.

SON-Life Camp’s goal is to give campers a week of fun through memory-making activities while also challenging them to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Each year, almost every camper leaves SON-Life Camp saying they have grown spiritually — making a first-time commitment to Christ, renewing a relationship that has drifted, or coming to know Him in a deeper way. SON-Life Camp’s summer camp program offers a wide variety of experiences for children as young as 6 to teens as old as 17. We strive to creatively design our summer camp programs to be relevant and reach today’s young people where they are, and help take them to where God wants them to be!

MISSION STATEMENT
SON-Life Camp & Retreat Center exists to provide a setting where people can enter or enhance a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

CORE VALUES
We are a Christian organization, Biblically-based, promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ, acknowledging the work of the Holy Spirit, and giving God the Father all praise and glory.

We believe in a camp setting, with an outdoor emphasis on God’s creation. We focus on spiritually impacting people for Jesus Christ.

We believe in relational ministry, where people are valued and personally cared for.

We uphold prayer as a vital tool in ministry, praying for each team member and camper.

We maintain that youth are an important focus in ministry.

We will remain fiscally responsible, being good stewards of all God has entrusted to us.

VISION STATEMENT
To see ministry happening at camp everyday in multiple ways, leading people to Christ or bringing them to a deeper relationship with Him.

See more about our vision, dreams, and goals here:

We worship twice a day — once in the morning, and once in the evening, as part of our daily activities at camp. Our campers love the worship culture we have at SON-Life and often comment that it is their favorite thing we do!

We worship twice a day — once in the morning, and once in the evening, as part of our daily activities at camp. Our campers love the worship culture we have at SON-Life and often comment that it is their favorite thing we do!

In The Word time is part of every morning at camp. It’s awesome to see these young people actually taking time to read scripture and ask big questions about what they read!

In The Word time is part of every morning at camp. It’s awesome to see these young people actually taking time to read scripture and ask big questions about what they read!

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Our staff need to have a heart to love and serve our campers, stemming from a love for Christ. Our best staff are those that search out and engage in teachable moments. Whether that’s diving into a simple Bible question brought up in the cabin, or helping young people grow in a life skill, or activity we run, we want our staff to have eyes ready to see opportunities, and a willingness to embrace moments like these.

Our staff need to have a heart to love and serve our campers, stemming from a love for Christ. Our best staff are those that search out and engage in teachable moments. Whether that’s diving into a simple Bible question brought up in the cabin, or helping young people grow in a life skill, or activity we run, we want our staff to have eyes ready to see opportunities, and a willingness to embrace moments like these.

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Throwing Tomahawks is just one of the great activities we do at SON-Life for our Junior Escape camps and above.

Throwing Tomahawks is just one of the great activities we do at SON-Life for our Junior Escape camps and above.

WHAT WE EXPECT OF OUR STAFF

QUALITIES OF A SON-LIFE SUMMER STAFF MEMBER
Working at a camp is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. Think you’re up for it?

This is what we look for in team members: Team members should be energetic, enthusiastic followers of Jesus Christ, desiring to work with kids and make a difference in campers’ lives. They should be role models who strive to live out their faith in a way that shows integrity and maturity. Attributes of patience, responsibility, flexibility, cooperativeness, creativity, thoughtfulness, being fun-loving, selflessness, possessing energy, enthusiasm, and endurance are all needed by team members.

Because campers look up to and imitate team members, we expect our team members to be exemplary Christian role models.

We ask that all team members be committed to growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ and actively seeking to live out His will for them daily. Our campers need to see real examples of people living out their faith. Advocating things like premarital sex, homosexuality, or the use of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol in words or actions – either on or off duty – is not acceptable. We desire to support parents in raising their children and also ask that all team members take a modest approach in their appearance while at camp.

WHAT WE WANT OUR SUMMER STAFF TO LOOK LIKE

  • Demonstrate a sincere, authentic faith walk

  • Maintain a Christ-like attitude

  • Possess a sincere desire to work with children

  • Be team players, seeking unity and understanding in working with groups

  • Seek ways to grow as an employee, in faith, and in character

WHAT’S EXPECTED OF ALL SUMMER STAFF

  1. As a representative of SON-Life Camp and Retreat Center, do everything to the best of your ability to promote the growth and development of the Kingdom of God through this ministry.

  2. Assist in maintaining the general security, cleanliness, and attractiveness of the camp at all times.

  3. Follow the daily routine and guide the campers in that routine, including participation in all planned activities.

  4. Make every effort to build a sense of community and understanding among all team members.

  5. Be aware of the spiritual atmosphere of camp and work toward the camp’s goals.

  6. Be able to lead a young person to Christ and seek opportunities to do so.

  7. Attend all required team meetings

  8. Be flexible when scheduling issues arise and work alongside staff to accommodate those unexpected changes.

  9. Assist with camper check-in, be friendly and greet any guests or campers, and seek to answer any questions or give directions when needed.

  10. Do everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all campers.

  11. Assist in tidying up camp after each weekly camp session ends.

  12. Fill out a mid-summer self-evaluation, a post-camp evaluation, and a simple staff blog write-up as directed by the camp directors.

  13. Perform any other duties as assigned by supervisor. Note: we never ask our staff to do anything we wouldn’t do ourselves!


    Combine all of the above with whatever specific role you desire below, and that’s what’s expected.


JOB DESCRIPTIONS

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Senior Counselor

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Must be at least 18 years old, preferably with one year of college experience.

Must be teachable, willing to grow and learn from others on staff.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Every week, Senior Counselors are in charge of approximately 5-10 campers (occasionally more, but in that instance, working with a co-counselor or another senior counselor), and lead their cabin in activities, keeping them on the camp schedule. Senior Counselors are the primary guardian of the campers, and need to ensure safety of the campers as well as keeping a watchful eye on any health concerns that may arise. Counselors also facilitate small group discussions with the campers after each bible study session. These last for about 10-15 minutes. Senior Counselors must love kids, desire to teach the bible, share their life, participate in games and activities, make camp fun, and work well with other summer staff.

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Co-Counselor

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Must be at least 15 years old and/or finished Junior year of high school.

Must be teachable, willing to grow and learn from others on staff.

Must be able to serve a minimum of 3 weeks during the summer.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Every week, Co-Counselors assist Senior Counselors in leading cabins through games and activities, keeping them on the camp schedule. CCs assist Senior Counselors in ensuring health and safety of the campers. They also assist in leading small group sessions after the large group bible studies every day. We desire for the Co-Counselor role to be one of both learning and leading and we seek to find opportunities for our CCs to step into leading thing as they feel comfortable.

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Waterfront Director

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Must be decent swimmer.

Possess or be willing to acquire a current ARC Lifeguard Management certificate.

Possess or be willing to acquire current CPR for the Professional Rescuer & Standard First Aid certificates.

Must be at least 18 years old, however 20+ preferred.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Every week, the Waterfront Director is responsible for supervising all beach and water activities each afternoon. They are in charge of all lifeguards and aquatic observers, making lifeguard and AO assignments, calling buddy checks, communicating directions and changes to both campers and summer staff, teaching campers waterfront protocol (buddy checks, blobbing, tubing, boating, etc.), and facilitating swim tests on Mondays.When the Waterfront Director is not at waterfront, they are responsible for proactively seeking out ways to assist Program Assistants run their camps by checking in, setting up games, hanging out with campers, leading activities, striking up spiritual conversations, and more.

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Lifeguard

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Must be a decent swimmer.

Possess or be willing to acquire a current American Red Cross lifeguard certification.

Possess or be willing to acquire current CPR for the Professional Rescuer & Standard First Aid certificates.

Must be at least 16 years old and carry yourself with maturity. 18+ is preferred, however.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, summer staff members hired as lifeguards are responsible for monitoring assigned waterfront activities, such as swimming, blobbing, boating, and speedboat tubing, under the supervision and leadership of camp’s Waterfront Director. Waterfront activities happen daily from approximately 1:30-3:30. Lifeguards ensure safety of all waterfront activities, enforce rules and policies, and perform assists and rescues when needed. Often the lifeguard role is paired with another position, such as Senior Counselor, Co-Counselor, or Program Assistant.

Note: we can help assist in finding a lifeguard certification course for you to take prior to staff training.

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Program Assistant

(Day Camp or Overnight Camp)

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above)

Possess a sincere desire to lead, encourage, and support fellow summer staffers

Be able to work well with a variety of personality and behavioral types

Be an effective communicator

Possess noticeable leadership abilities

Be committed to the development of a Christ-centered camp community

Have experience working at SON-Life or similar program

Prefer them to be at least 20 years old

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, Program Assistants are the supervisor in charge of their respective camp session. Each Program Assistant will lead anywhere from 5-10 counselors and CCs in accomplishing a successful week of camp. Their job is to make changes to the camp schedule, communicate changes and expectations throughout the week, support and encourage their session’s summer staff, set up and lead games and activities, be energetic and enthusiastic about camp – especially around campers, facilitate dining hall programming, suggest and implement new ideas, share tips and experiences in effort to help counselors find success, and work hand-in-hand with the Director of Ministries to carry out a fun, safe, biblical camp – all in efforts to create an atmosphere of faith where campers can discover and grow towards God.

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Health Officer

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Must be at least 18 years old.

At least 1 year of college preferred.

Must have a genuine concern for others wellbeing.

Must possess or be willing to acquire American Red Cross or equivalent American Heart Association certifications in Responding to Emergencies and CPR and First Aid for the Professional rescuer OR be a certified CNA, RN, EMT, or a 4th year Nursing Student.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, the camp Health Officer reviews all health needs of both staff and campers, making note of any special concerns for the week. They often contribute tips and tricks for helping campers with extra needs have an excellent week at camp. The Health Officer is also part of check-in on Monday mornings, taking medication of campers, and asking each of current or potential health issues. During the week, the Health Officer is in charge of administering medication at all mealtimes and at bedtime. They are also on call if any accidents or injuries occur, being the first responder if possible, and are summoned by two-way radio to the site of the incident. All Support Staff and year-round staff are equipped with a radio for communications of this sort. The Health Officer also keeps track of all routine and necessary health implementations, documenting them in the summer camp health log book. When not assisting campers or staff in health needs, the Health Officer gets involved with programming – helping lead games, activities, setting things up, putting things away, keeping things organized, etc.

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Teaching Team Speaker

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Possess a working knowledge of God, the Bible, the gospel message, Christ, and salvation, and can articulate general points of theology.

Excellent & creative communication skills.

A general love for public speaking and/or leading discussion.

A desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ to young people.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, the Teaching Team Speakers, a small team of about 3 or 4 staff members, are in charge of leading devotions and FUSION (bible study) sessions for overnight camp. They may be given time to prepare and practice delivering messages during the day, prior to their message time-slot in our camp schedule. Devotions and FUSION messages each happen once daily – Devos in the morning, FUSIONs in the evening. Devos are generally 15-20 minutes. FUSION messages range from 20-25 minutes. The Teaching Team Speakers will work hand-in-hand with the Director Of Ministries to craft relevant, meaningful messages that point campers to Christ, based around the camp’s theme for the summer. Often, the Teaching Team Speaker role is paired up with another role on summer staff, such as Senior Counselor, Waterfront Director, or Program Assistant.

Kitchen Assistant

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Preferably 16 years old and/or finished Junior year of high school.

Demonstrate a growing Christian commitment, a Christ-like attitude, and live an exemplary Christian life.

Possess a sincere desire to work with children and staff, and a genuine concern for others.

Must be available to work all weeks of camp, and attend summer orientation.

Must be a self-starter, able to motivate self individually, and must operate with a servant’s heart, as modeled by Christ.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, Kitchen Assistants help the head cook in preparing meals, washing dishes, serving food, and cleaning the dining hall. At times where they are not helping in the kitchen, they join the rest of camp by jumping in on small groups, helping facilitate games, getting to know campers, and proactively finding ways to help other staff members.

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Videographer

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Possess a working knowledge of both filming and editing shot videos.

Possess a working knowledge or be willing to learn Adobe Premiere.

Must be inclined towards using and developing artistic creativity.

Must be at least 15 and display maturity.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, the camp Videographer is responsible for filming all the activities of all camp sessions. They must be creative in capturing exciting, engaging shots in efforts to gain the interest of potential campers, parents, church organizations, etc.

Throughout the week, the Videographer will compile footage into short videos set to music (3-5 mins, 1 video per camp session) to be shown each week at Closing Rally on Friday afternoon.

The camp Videographer is responsible for camp’s GoPro and its accessories, and MacBook Pro used to edit videos, ensuring safety of all equipment.

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Photographer

QUALIFICATIONS

Possess qualifications for all team members (as described above).

Possess a working knowledge shooting photos on a DSLR or a willingness to learn.

Must be inclined towards using and developing artistic creativity.

Must be at least 15 and display maturity.

OVERVIEW OF POSITION

Each week, the camp photographer is responsible for taking quality photos of all the activities of all camp sessions. They must be creative in capturing exciting, engaging shots in efforts to gain the interest of potential campers, parents, church organizations, etc. Throughout the week, the photographer will use iPhoto & and external hard drive to organize and edit shots taken, setting aside the best shots daily for social media uploads. The camp Photographer is responsible for all of camp’s photography equipment (camera, cards, tripod, cables, etc), including camp’s MacBook Pro, ensuring safety of all equipment.


 
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NEW:

Counselor-In-Training

(C.I.T.)

For campers who have attended Teen Extreme (but also preferably been on Outpost Expedition), and are at least 15 years old, who would like to serve 1-3 weeks of Summer following their own camp experience.

Interested?

Contact Drew for the C.I.T. application.

 

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COMPENSATION &
MISSION SUPPORT

Nobody likes it when you’re applying for a job, and it seems pretty good, but they haven’t brought up pay, and you have to awkwardly ask. How uncomfortable!

We want to be up front with you on how pay works at SON-Life Camp & Retreat Center.

We believe summer staff members serve as local missionaries to those who attend camp, yet we recognize that many of our team members have financial obligations such as college tuition, rent, and other various expenses. So, in an effort to both provide staff with an adequate salary and be good stewards SON-Life Camp’s finances, we ask that staff raise a portion (one third) of their compensation through contacting your home church, friends, family, and other individuals. In that light, the following policy has been adopted:

1. A set amount is designated for each paid summer staff position.

2. Each staff member would agree to contact his or her church’s mission committee for financial support. If needed, staff members should make additional contacts to family, friends, businesses and others. The following items are available in assisting you with raising your support: Mission Support Letters, promotional videos, brochures/flyers/handouts explaining the ministry of the camp, and digital newsletters.

3. The Executive Director and/or Director of Ministries are available to visit each staff member’s church to provide a presentation on the ministry of SON-Life Camp to assist you with securing financial support.

4. SON-Life Camp & Retreat Center agrees to pay two-thirds of the designated compensation for each staff member. Additional compensation given by SON-Life comes from support raised, up to 100% of full compensation. Excess funds raised could go to other staff members who attempted to raise their full share of the compensation but were unable to do so. The Executive Director will determine the use of excess funds.


COMPENSATION SCALE

Co-Counselor -$100 per week

Kitchen Assistant - $100 per week

Photographer - $100 per week

Videographer - $150 per week

Senior Counselor - $225 per week

Health Officer - $280 per week

Waterfront Director - $280 week

Program Assistant - $300 week

Staff who also serve as a Lifeguard - additional $35 per week

Teaching Team Speaker – Position often coupled with another role/compensation to be determined based on previous speaking experience

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APPLYING AS RETURNING STAFF? PLEASE NOTE:

1) Returning Senior Staff (Senior Counselor, Program Assistant, Waterfront Director, Health Officer) may receive additional $20 from base rate for first returning year in the same role.

2) Returning Senior staff may receive an additional $10 for third+ year in same role.

3) If a Senior Staff member returns to a new role, their pay would be the base rate of the new position or the same as last year’s pay, whichever is greater.

 

AWESOME!
YOU’VE JUST COMPLETED STEP ONE!

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO FINISH APPLYING:

Step 2)

fill out the ONLINE APPLICATION. We use a online site called CampBrain to accomplish this. You will need to create a log-in, and you can save your info at any time and return to it at a later time, if need be.

Step 3)

Have your 3 references each fill out a Reference Form. These are available online, so you can just email them the URL link, and they can fill it out at their convenience. It’s 10 questions and should probably take less than 15 minutes to complete.

THAT’S IT! It's as easy as that!

Thanks for your interest in becoming part of an awesome summer team. We look forward to receiving your application! Applications will be taken at any time, however our hiring process varies each year. We usually start seeing applications anytime after New Years and strive to have our team completely hired by late March or early April.

If any questions arise from reading this FAQs document, or otherwise, feel free to email Drew for more information!

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Whew! We know. That’s a lot of text!

And maybe still a tad difficult to envision exactly what the job actually really looks like.

If you have questions and want clarifications, lets connect!

There is no such thing as a silly question if you haven’t worked at SON-Life before. We want you to feel confident and prepared as you enter into this hiring season.

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