Located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, the HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development is an explicitly Christian leadership development center that creates space for youth and emerging adults to encounter God's creation, live in a Christ-centered community, discover their unique callings, and find their place in God's Kingdom. Here, people are equipped, empowered, and commissioned to live their callings for Christ and His kingdom.
HoneyRock was started by Coach Harve Chrouser, his wife, Dot, and a team of Wheaton College professors and coaches as a leadership and character formation laboratory for college students and youth. This group found the camp-like, outdoor environment to be an ideal place for building relationships, facing challenges, working hard, and playing well. In Coach’s own words:
“While Honey Rock is called a camp, it is essentially an educational project designed to be a leadership laboratory providing an internship experience where the student undertakes total leadership responsibility of the cabin group in a camp-living situation. The Honey Rock idea was to create for the student a new kind of teaching-learning environment, unlike the school model.”
- "We sought to deformalize teaching and make it more relational and discipling.”
- “We want to instill a desire for involvement which outweighs the desire to be entertained.”
- “It is our intentional plan to structure into everyone’s experience at HoneyRock a reasonable amount of stress and struggle compatible with the age group.”
- “To be involved in a work experience day after day is for most [youth and young adults] a new test…”
- “College should help the student make three discoveries… proof of learning, proof of self, and proof of God.”
Wheaton College, one of the leading Christian liberal arts colleges in the country, has owned and operated HoneyRock since 1951. Throughout its long history, HoneyRock has developed and trained young people and college students to impact the church and society worldwide for Christ.
HoneyRock has grown into a year-round leadership laboratory of Wheaton College with programs for youth, emerging adults, and outdoor adventure and ministry professionals alike.
In line with the mission of Wheaton College,
HoneyRock exists to build Christ’s church and benefit society worldwide by fostering the development of whole and effective people through transformational outdoor experiences.
Core Values are the constant, unchanging, passionate and Biblical beliefs that drive the ministry, depict our unique identity, inspire, galvanize, and determine priorities. We seek to insure that all programs and experiences at HoneyRock are characterized by these values in some way. We plan, implement and evaluate our programs based on these historic principles:
- Others-oriented Service
- Purposeful Challenge
- Experiences in Creation
- Rhythms of Rest & Reflection
- Authentic Community
- Truth-infused Programming
- Enthusiastic Engagement
Our desired outcomes for every participant at HoneyRock, from campers to graduate students:
- Personal Faith
- Critical Thinking
- Personal Responsibility
- Relational Maturity
- Facilitative Leadership
- Cultural Sensitivity
- Compassion for the World
What sets HoneyRock apart is summed up in these characteristics:
- A Powerful Learning Environment – This is articulated and embodied in our core values. HoneyRock specializes in temporary community and outdoor context for challenge and connection.
- An Engaging Learning Process – Deep thinking is pressed into practice throughout our camper and student programs. Learning at HoneyRock is experiential and goes through a cycle of truth, experience and reflection.
- Facilitated Holistic Discipleship – On-going discipleship is characterized by challenge, support, and vision. This is exemplified in our 1:1's, our small groups, and personal development plans.
- Leadership Development Progression – Multi-level experiences that challenge participants to the next level of maturity (spiritually, relationally, etc.). Our programs for campers and students follow a progression of Introduction > Immersion > Leading > Replicating.
- Global Impact and Respect – HoneyRock is known world-wide as a leader in leadership development in and through camp ministry.
A Place Set Apart
Here, creative innovators and brave risk-takers fostered an environment to disciple and develop leaders. At HoneyRock people have a chance to get away from the distractions, noise, and busyness of everyday life to a quiet place encompassed by God’s creation.
HoneyRock's founders reflected on ancient practices, those that Jesus embodied as he developed his disciples and used them to create a similar environment of discipleship. If you are a faithful disciple of Jesus, you lead others for and towards a greater good. By faithfully following Jesus in heart, mind, and body you are leading the way in God's kingdom.
We invite all people to encounter God through His creation through all he has created, both people and the natural world.This environment makes space for catalytic moments—transformational encounters—that lead us into deeper relationship with God and others.
An Unparalleled Journey
As a HoneyRocker, you are on a Christ-centered, God-honoring, Holy Spirit-led journey.
On this journey you can expect to live, lead, work, serve, adventure, and worship together as an educational community centered around Jesus. While you're doing so, you'll take meaningful moments to pause, reflect on God's Truth, and discern how they inform and grow your walk with Jesus. The shared experiences in this community challenge and teach us while extending an invitation to carry a story bigger than our own—to follow Jesus, to be transformed by Jesus, and to influence others for Jesus.
Here you will not be entertained, but called forward to engage. Along with other adventurous thinkers you will face challenges of all kinds, from wrestling with a new perspective to resolving conflict with a co-leader and friend to embarking on a 10-mile portage. While your journey will not always be comfortable, you will be safe and surrounded by faithful beleivers. Though you might not be sure of your callings yet, you'll be encouraged on by fellow ambitious dreamers.
This community of believers, partnered with our educational approach, will provide whole-person preparation for a whole life's journey.
A Called and Commissioned People
Your HoneyRock experience will prepare you to realize God's callings in your life and cultivate the talents you can offer and His name.
As you are on your journey at HoneyRock you can expect to find expert and likehearted guides—the staff and faculty of HoneyRock—who are passionate about fostering the development of whole and effective people for Christ and His kingdom.
We want to see whole people—those who are healthy, restored, and are unified with their brothers and sisters in Christ—living an effective—one who knows their unique callings and have found a place and purpose in the world to boldly live them out.
At HoneyRock, you can shape and strengthen your convictions and callings not only with like-hearted guides, but also life-long friends.
You and your friends—becoming resilient, caring, and competent contributors to Christ's mission—will leave HoneyRock commissioned with a clear purpose and bold resolve.
HoneyRockers live their callings in ways that might surprise you. Personally, we become leaders in our families and communities. Professionally, we become scientists, lawyers, theologians, doctors, CEOs, filmmakers, engineers, policy experts, pastor, teachers, investment bankers, musicians, entrepreneurs, and yes, outdoor educators, professors, and camp professionals.
You will leave equipped and empowered—commissioned—to live for Christ and His kingdom.
HoneyRock facilitiates programming for youth, emerging adults, and ministry professionals through summer camp programs, undergraduate leadership schools, and graduate degrees.
Led by Executive Director Rob Ribbe, HoneyRock employs 20 permanent year-round staff and faculty that work onsite and at Wheaton College.