Welp, with one week left I’m looking back at the lessons I have learned throughout the summer. One that slaps me in the face every day is we cannot go it alone. Before this job, I did not have a Christian community. I didn’t have a church family. I didn’t have those people my age I could really connect with over my faith. Now I do and will be eternally grateful. But the one person I had through all the “not having” was Jesus. He never left me through my times of struggle or sin. He was there. All I had to do was reach out and take his hand.
The most recent parallel I have is high ropes. An old family friend (Seth McClure) came with one of the groups this week. While taking pictures, I got the bright idea to attempt the “Dangling Duo” with him as my other half. We start on the bottom step of a ladder that gets farther and farther apart. I would get up to the next one while he helped me, then he would get up. Eventually, we got to the final step, and I just could not do it by myself. I had to put him up first in order for him to pull me. You see, it’s a great example for life. If you put God second things are going to be a lot harder, but if you put Him first life is so much easier. Not to say it still wasn’t difficult for me, because everyone goes through trials, yet when you have the strength of the Lord pulling you upward those trials become less scary.
The second example I have is about a young girl who came to camp this week. She went through the high ropes course and came to me afterwards saying, “I knew it (the tether) would catch me because I fell a million times and didn’t die.” Out of the mouths of children come the most beautiful messages. We fall “a million times” when trying to walk the Christian wire. It’s narrow and tough at times, but we can never fall out of His grace…
When God assembles a team for the work He desires, His purposes are deeper than we can fathom! Who He assembles may surprise us, but we are delighted as we begin to see glimpses of the why tagging along with each one.
The Summer 2021 Staff Team feels a little unexpected this summer, but exactly right for such a time as this. The “big” personalities that normally make a home on our team are absent this summer. When we consider what teens are coming out of (Covid, isolation, etc) to come to camp this summer, it feels appropriate and good. Our staff is fun and full of personality, but not too much for those who may still be warming up to socializing! God is thoughtful and caring and good. We would have never known to account for that! Doesn’t He just blow you away?
We are always so grateful for each staff member who chooses to give up something to come and serve alongside us. Each one comes with open arms and hearts tender for the things of God. Each one comes to use his/her own gifts and talents to Proclaim Christ to teens. The full time staff always look forward to see how God surprises them with His work in their own lives while they serve. There’s nothing quite like God’s economy!
So here they are — the chosen ones for our summer staff team. Each story divinely intertwining with purpose in our camp family and with those coming to camp this summer. God’s orchestration is beautiful, don’t you think? Stay tuned as we share more about each individual throughout the summer! For now, pray for these to be vessels of God’s glory as they work their little tail ends off!
Jessie has got the sweetest nature about her! She’s never imposing and always sincere!
She’s got such a willing heart to do whatever needs to be done. Being on staff at Whisper Mountain is not for the faint of heart. The exhaustion is a real struggle. No joke! Jessie has been keeping up with all the things and smiling through it all!
Jessie has a great love for music! We’ve loved having her help lead worship with the teens each week.
Her humility, willingness to really listen to others and her love for Jesus have made her a great asset to our team this summer! She’s a friend to all on staff and we are stronger for that!
Thanks for all you’ve given up to come and serve with us this summer, Jessie! We’ve seen God use you and work in your life and we are grateful for your heart for Him!
Micah is a gentleman with a side of quiet hilarity! He’s got this way of throwing lines out at the last second in a conversation that are so funny, but you’d miss it if you weren’t paying attention. They come quick and quiet!
He’s got a love for adventure and fun. He’s one of the guys who races around campus on their mountain bikes! Downhill, on a bike, on graveled mountain roads — yikes! No big deal for him! Can you see that boyhood ornery sparkle in his eye?! It’s what keeps things fun!
His leadership is quiet but strong. He works hard. He plays hard. He’s faithful and reliable. Micah is an all around fantastic fellow!
Thank you for being here this summer, Micah! We love getting to be a small piece of your faith journey! Thank you for being the kind of man that is worth these teens emulating! Keep at it!
She’s a delight. She’s fun. She’s got some moves. She’s in love with Jesus. She’s ELLIE! Welcome her to the Awesomeness Takes the Stage today, will you?!
We were so thankful when we heard Ellie wanted to come back as a Guide this summer! We loved having her last year! She’s got the sweetest demeanor about her. I haven’t met a person yet that doesn’t love her!
Her excitement to serve is contagious and she never displays an attitude other than, “I’d love to!” She bubbles with joy — she’s refreshing to all who are around her!
And she’s pretty great about making people feel at home that might not otherwise feel that! Which is perfect for campers getting to spend the week with her. Ellie makes people feel special because she has the filter of Christ for all things in life.
Ellie, thank you for coming back and for spending your life pointing people to Jesus! We are all encouraged by your living!
Have you ever been walking along with your arms so full you’re about to drop everything AND you have to get a door open? You’re struggling, struggling and then — praise the Lord — someone shows up just as your arms are about to give out and drop it all; and that someone not only opens the door for you but takes the heaviest load out of your arms too. The biggest wave of relief and ginormous amounts of gratitude wash over you and bubble out of you and you get reminded that everything’s going to be okay! Do you know what I’m talking about? That’s Adrienne Brand for me (Cassi)! Let’s welcome her to the Awesomeness Takes the Stage today!
Adrienne is our camp’s photographer this summer, although she also wears a partial guide hat as well! Have you been seeing some of her pictures on Instagram or Facebook?! She’s capturing the story of camp so so well! Ahh, I’m just so thankful!
Adrienne brings much more to the proverbial table than her camera though! She’s a willing servant, a listening friend, and an encouraging role model to these campers coming through the gates and the staff she’s living with all summer!
She is quiet in her approach to connection but gives the touch of sincerity and kindness that really makes people feel seen and heard. And she likes to laugh! Getting to see God use Adrienne’s gifts and grow her in new ways — it’s a privilege to see!
Thank you, Adrienne, for giving your summer to serve and capture the power of camp with your lens and for being here with us! We are all pretty thankful to have you on the team this year! (But I don’t think anyone appreciates you as much as I do 😉 !)
Maybe it’s because God gives us just who we need each summer, but every year we find ourselves saying how great our staff is. This year is no different — we have a GREAT team working with us this summer!
I look forward to introducing you to each of the staff through the summer months, but for now you need to know we have the strongest worship band we’ve probably ever had, each is capable even if still learning their gift set, and all are sincere and caring people who love Jesus and are pretty pumped to help others know Him too! Aren’t they beautiful humans?!
We hope you’ll enjoy “getting to know” each staff as we share about them individually all summer long! For now — off to train a bunch more so they are even more prepared to work with all these teens coming our way! To God be the Glory!
We thought it might be appropriate to greet today with another spotlight on our Awesomeness Takes the Stage! Kinsley is all smiles around Whisper Mountain Camp so let’s start this Tuesday with a smile, shall we?!
Kinsley is also one of our Guides in Training (GIT) this summer. Before you go romanticizing about how amazing it must be for a person to come to Whisper Mountain Camp and be a GIT, it should be known that the GITs do all the grunt work for the team! And they all have done a great job keeping a positive attitude in the midst of the grunt! Kinsley included!
Kinsley laughs about nothing, laughs when it’s awkward, laughs when there’s jokes — she just generally laughs a lot! Which as you can imagine is pretty fun to be around.
Beyond all the laughing, however, is a girl with a heart to make Jesus famous! She has been brave in facing uncomfortable things and pushed herself to grow through challenging circumstances. Having her for this second year on our summer staff team has only made us stronger!
When we talk about having a caring staff, it’s people like Kinsley who help make that claim true! We have loved seeing her grow as a person and a disciple of Christ! We can’t wait to see how He continues to lead her as she heads to college!
Kinsley, thank you for spending your summer doing hard things like serving with us at camp! Your light and love are changing the world!
You guys, we only have a short of time left to put all the staff on the Awesomeness Takes the Stage this summer! So let’s keep it rolling with Morgan Goodson!
Morgs (previously spotlighted here and here!), like many others before her, was first a camper! This is her third summer serving with us as a Guide!
Seeing Morgan grow through the years has been a beautiful thing! Growth is hard, people, but she is faithful to following hard after Jesus and He’s weaving a beautiful story with her! We are thankful for the front row seat and for the inspiration she is!
Morgan is the girl who’s quietly in the middle of the action, but very good at seeing those people who might be getting missed in the crowd, at offering her peanut gallery commentary and making those she’s with feel seen and heard! If she’s not hugging someone, she’s listening. If she’s not listening she’s making them laugh!
Morgs, we look forward to seeing how God molds and shapes you as you keep following Him in this next step of your journey! We are thankful to have you on the team this summer!
Labor Day weekend was quite the weekend as we celebrated ten years of ministry! We were thankful to share the day with a few locals, a few board members and spouses and about half of our over-the-years summer staff! I’m not sure how the others felt, but remembering God’s faithfulness — His big and sometimes quiet work in, around and for us — goes a long ways to encourage our walking right now!
Sharing laughter with our staff over the memories and retelling of favorite camp stories was completely delightful! Hearing Shaun’s well composed “poem” of all the campisms from over the years was perfectly hilarious and memorable! Reconnecting, though it wasn’t enough time, was refreshing as we caught a glimpse of how far God has brought each of us on our journeys, as varied and different as they all are!
I’m amazed how something like summer camp can gather such different people together to walk in the same direction in ways that benefit all of us but glorify God above all! The Whisper Mountain Family is made up of some pretty stellar people, and it just keeps growing as we welcome in special someones of past staff and as we continue to be faithful to Proclaiming Christ through camp ministry in the years to come!
Summer Staff, keep proclaiming Christ where you are! You are beautiful people that have helped make Whisper Mountain effective on any level! We love you and can’t wait for next time!
Thank you to all of you who have been a part of our ministry in some way over this past decade! We have seen God together, haven’t we? May He continue to be real and in our midst, for His glory alone!