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Faculty Profiles

Melissa Hougas

Equestrian Program Manager

On Staff since 2022



I grew up in Palos Heights, Illinois, but have a deep connection to the Northwoods.  My grandparents owned a cottage in Three Lakes, and we enjoyed summer vacations and family time on the lakes. My parents fostered a love for Jesus specifically through creation and love for animals. We had many outdoor adventures growing up and all three sisters have careers involving animals. My riding experience started with trail rides in Wisconsin each summer and grew into leasing a horse and participating in 4H during my teenage years. My family moved to a farm in Kentucky, and I began my education at Murray State University. I majored in Education and Minored in Equine Science. Upon graduation, I worked for a year at an outdoor education program in Indiana and followed that program with the Leadership in Camp Ministry Internship at Timber-Lee. I met my husband, Seth during the internship. We got married in 2014 and have two incredible boys: Philip and Aaron. 

In 2013, I began working as a riding instructor at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a herd of 94 horses and participate in two Presidential Inaugural parades. The Lord used that time to for me to grow professionally and personally in such a large program. One of my favorite aspects of the position was connecting with the students and utilizing the horse to teach leadership.

We discovered the position at HoneyRock and were drawn to the opportunity to be in camp ministry.  I love working with the students and showing them parallels of how working with a horse connects to our walk with Christ. 

Murray State University
B.S. Education, 2011
Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)
Level 3 Instructor in English and Western