Posted March 26, 2015 by
Tags: Leadership Partners
by Anne Eppler, wife of Program Maintenance and Grounds Manager, Scott Eppler
Every summer for as long as I can remember, I have gone to camp. And every time I arrived at camp, I felt huge excitement about all that lay ahead of me: meeting cabin mates, singing around campfires, sailing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, laughing, learning, growing. But one thing excited me more than all other aspects of camp. It was what drew me back summer after summer.
It was the staff.
They knew me. I knew that when I climbed out of that cramped station wagon or off of that bus, I would see familiar faces smiling, feel an arm around my shoulders, look into the eyes of people who remembered my name among many, my story among hundreds. It was these people—not the buildings or programs or activities—that made camp more than a place. These fun, hard-working, Jesus-loving people gave camp a soul.
Some of these same staff people and many more from Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska gathered at HoneyRock March 9-12 for the annual Christian Camp and Conference Association (3CA) Conference. Hosted each spring at a different Wisconsin camp, the conference connects, trains and encourages camp and conference professionals. It is a week for camp people to go to camp--to be served instead of serving, to be taught instead of teaching, to do activities instead of leading them.
Near the end of winter retreat ministry and before the summer, the 3CA conference gives camp staff a time to refresh and refocus before another season of intense ministry. Over 250 camp staff from 30 camps spent time connecting with old friends and getting to know new ones over cups of coffee and conversation around Chrouser Center tables. HoneyRock became a place apart for camp staff, whether they needed time alone on a walk, a good laugh, or a climb on the ice wall.
Highlights from this year’s conference included great messages from Nate Oates, a long-time HoneyRock friend and pastor from California as well as high-quality seminars on a variety of topics. Attendees also enjoyed numerous outdoor activities around camp.
HoneyRock Ministry Service Team members, grad students and staff worked tirelessly to create a memorable conference for their partners in camp ministry. A highlight for HoneyRock staff was winning the inter-camp broomball tournament on home ice.
We at HoneyRock are thankful for the opportunity to have hosted the conference to encourage and equip camp leaders. After all, it is these staff who are the smiling faces, the poured-out servants who give camps a living, breathing heartbeat that draws people to the heart of God.