My first experience with Camp Crossroads was at my family’s Christmas gatherings. My relatives and I would stay in The Center and create memories spending time together, having family worship sessions, eating together, cleaning up in the dish pit, and enjoying the property. And then one year, in a passing conversation with Andrew Hiebert, I learned that camp had a summer horse program and was looking to fill their Horse Program Director role. I had no idea that a summer at camp could hold just as much connection, fun, and growth as my weekend family retreats. In 2012 I was accepted for a co-directorship with Courtleigh Reimer, and that first summer sealed the experience for me. I’ve been back every year since, and the dream is to one day work exclusively for Christian camps, creating faith-based horsemanship curriculums and promoting wilderness horseback adventures.
Being a part of changing lives is why I love to work at Camp Crossroads. It can be as simple as working with a camper who is afraid to touch horses on day 1, to witnessing them brush and pet a horse on day 5, or hearing at a Thursday night campfire how a chapel lesson was made real for them that week while they worked with their horse during an activity. For me personally, I have yet to have a summer that God doesn’t work on me, but perhaps one of the most memorable life changes was during my first couple years at camp. Back then I struggled with some pretty heavy social anxieties and working at camp was a huge test of trust. There was one week my anxiety peaked and I found it hard to keep my focus on doing my job well, which only fed my insecurities. On Saturday when the campers were getting on the buses and being picked up by their parents, a mom approached me with a hand written note and tears in her eyes thanking me for how I had invested in her kids that week. Her words broke through all the guilt and condemnation I had been putting on myself for falling short, and that wasn’t even the whole of it. I found out that because of the love and encouragement I had shown, one of her children had gotten over their own anxiety and had matured so much during the week. That was a pivotal moment for me; God used it to make 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 real to me. “Praise be to God…who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Now that I am free from that social anxiety, I have more capacity to connect with and serve other people that share similar struggles.