Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Ozone! Thanks for trusting your precious kids to us this semester. We look forward to seeing you in January.
Still not involved? Contact us? It's not too late to get involved with Camp War Eagle 365.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Highlighting Bentonville Ozone

Bentonville Ozone, led by Ben Rediske and Ellie Chase, is a welcoming environment for fun and creativity! Let's take a deeper look at our northernmost Ozone city!

Ben Rediske

My name is Benjamin Michael Rediske or BRed3000. I was born in Tulsa but raised in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. I also elected to attend the great institution of John Brown University. I graduated in 2008 with a major in Outdoor Leadership Ministries with a minor in Youth Ministries. I don’t like camping. I love the Kansas Jayhawks and sports. I always feel like my hamstrings are very tight.
What is your favorite Camp or Ozone memory?
My favorite Camp War Eagle memory is really hard to put my finger on. There are so many to choose from. It could be Rocking Car 2010, being Caddo chief during Orientation 2006, Hand washing from 2009, Cabin 22 session 6 2006. If it can be outside of camp activity then I would say that getting engaged at Camp War Eagle then that is my favorite memory there.
What originally attracted you to working for Ozone?
Growing up I knew I wanted to work with youth and kids in some way and I knew I loved summer camp. Camp War Eagle gave me the opportunity to combine my two passions into a “job”.
If you could create any huge Ozone event, what would it be?
A Rave with no budget.

Ellie Chase

My real name is Eleanor. I grew up in south central Pennsylvania, second child in a family of seven. I loved anything (and still do) using my imagination- telling stories, making up and filming plays with my sisters and being silly. I went to college in Missouri at Evangel University, for Film production and intercultural studies, with the hopes of some day writing children’s movies. During college I applied to be a Videographer at Camp War Eagle upon prompting from two of my best friends. I was a Videographer for two full summers before I was hired to join with Bentonville Ozone. Making pies for people is my greatest happiness.
What is your favorite Camp War Eagle memory?
Cabin Initiations in the oldest girls’ cabins, telling bedtime stories as “Kevin” (my robot-warrior-dragon alter-ego) to the youngest girls' cabins, opening my eyes in the pool for the first time ever, all the moments of joy that come with growing close to kids in such a spectacular setting!
What originally attracted you to working for Ozone?
My love for the Camp War Eagle program and love for getting to know and encourage kids in who God’s created them to be
If you could create any huge Ozone event, what would it be?
A weeklong wilderness experience, with survival and endurance challenges. We would probably roast animals over a fire at some point.

Using only 5 words, describe Bentonville Ozone.
EC: Creative Chaos; Fun, Discipling Relationships BR: Fun, Creative, Chaos, Christ-Centered, Sugar

What's the best thing about Lifeline, Primetime, and Ozone in Bentonville?
Lifeline: The joy that comes from everyone involved. Learning the truth about Christ early and having a total blast doing it
Primetime: Being encouraged with the word of God through a difficult stage of life.
High School: The depth of conversation that grows every week. Making genuine relationships and discipleship with people who care.

Is there anything new happening in Bentonville Ozone this semester?
Small groups have added a heightened sense of magic to our meetings. Also, we have the BEST leaders! They make club what it is.
If someone wanted to become involved in Ozone, what would you tell them?
We want to get to know you. We love welcoming new kids in and seeing them make friends with other students and leaders and really finding a place at Ozone!

Check out some photos from Bentonville this year!

It's never too late to get involved with Bentonville Ozone! We start our spring semester on January 10th. For more information, check out our website at

Monday, November 28, 2011

Springdale Intern Spotlight: Rachel Oliver

The Ozone Intern program is purposed to develop college-age leaders who have a passion to positively impact the youth culture of Northwest Arkansas by providing them with opportunities to coordinate local peer volunteers and connect with Camp War Eagle campers. Former Camp War Eagle camper Rachel Oliver has joined with Springdale Ozone as an intern this year. 

"My name is Rachel Oliver. I am from Springdale, Arkansas. I attended Williams Baptist College and currently attend NWACC.  I plan to earn my degree in early childhood education. I enjoy reading, hiking, hanging out with friends, and science fiction movies!"

What originally attracted you to interning for CWE365/Ozone?
I was extremely into Ozone in high school. I grew so much as a Christian at that time and it was extremely good for me to be around strong Christian influences. When I was told about the internship, I knew it was something I would like to do because I love getting to know people and encouraging spiritual growth.

What's been your favorite part of the internship so far?
Fellowship with the campers and my fellow servants has been such a blessing and encouragement to me. Through this internship God has been challenging me in many areas of my life and I believe I am learning to lean on him a little more every day.

What's been your favorite camp or ozone memory?
Bonding with my Lisa West [former Springdale Ozone Director] was one of my favorite camp memories. I was timid when I first attended camp and she encouraged me to come out of my shell and get to know people and allow them to get to know me. She made a huge difference in my life by just sitting down and talking to me, generally interested in what I had to say. She made me feel really special.   

What do you hope to take away/learn from your time as an intern?
I hope to learn how to balance everything in my life. Since becoming an intern my life has been crazy.  Going to school full time, holding a job, and doing the internship is sometimes overwhelming. I’ve had to really depend on God’s strength this semester instead of my own because there is no way I wouldn’t have gone insane without giving  my worries and fears to God. 

Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day would begin with getting plenty of sleep the night before so that I am well rested. I would wake up in the morning and have biscuits and gravy (my favorite breakfast food!) and go for a walk with my dog, Sally. I think I would spend the rest of the day riding roller coasters. I love the adrenaline rush I get when I do something I am afraid of! Then I would head home and watch some TV and go to sleep early. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. : )

There's a ton happening with Springdale Ozone, as well as Ozone in all other cities. To learn more or to get involved, visit our website at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Springdale Lady Lifeliners: Operation Christmas Child, November 2011

The following is written by Erin Wiltse, Springdale Ozone Director.

WOW!  The experience began with a night of snacks, games, dance parties and movies until the girls fell asleep one by one tucked snugly into their own sleeping bags.
After sharing breakfast together, we got the girls rounded-up to watch a video from “Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child.”  The video outlined the vision, goal and hope of packing boxes to give & bless children in need all over the world.

 Leaders Hannah Posey and Kelsey Maynard, shared with the girls how we can do our part in serving girls like them all over the world.  Pointing them to John 3:16 & Matthew 28, they outlined the love God has for each of them individually and the love God has for people all over the world.  As girls who are aware of His love, we have a responsibility to take and share His love with others.  The message of Christ is too important to keep to ourselves, so we look for opportunities to share it.
Going through an assembly line, the girls were able to pick out gifts and items consisting of toys, candy, soap and school supplies for the boxes young girls would receive.  The girls wrote a Christmas card and “John 3:16” verse card to put in the boxes with the items.
A crazy sleepover and packing a box full of good, fun stuff is great to do together, but our hope is to allow our girls to see the greater vision, to understand the heart of God to know, to believe and to be compelled by the truth that:

"…God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

May each of us be motivated by this truth to love: with a box, with speech, with action.  May we never tire of doing good. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Great Pretenders 2011 Recap

The glam of the red carpet. The blinding flash of Paparazzi lights. Fans, yelling the names of superstars they can't believe they're seeing. VIP passes that make even the most intimidating bouncer step aside. And a show unlike any other.

On October 25th, the four cities of CWE365 came together for the biggest, most anticipated Ozone event ever. Great Pretenders, the annual lip-sync event, took on a fresh life with a red carpet theme and new energy. In it's fourth year of healthy musical competition, Great Pretenders has become a staple in the yearly calendar for Ozone students.

The evening began as attendees were greeted by voracious fans on the red carpet and Paparazzi just dying to take their photo, while bouncers blocked entrances and made the way for "VIPs" to enter. Students smiled for the camera and answered the questions of the red-carpet interviewer before heading in to the main event. The opening act took the stage as Ozone directors from all four cities performed a choreographed number to "Somebody to Love." Acts varying from heartfelt country songs to jazz tunes, pop hits to movie soundtrack favorites followed. The audience cheered as performers continued to wow the crowd!

In the end the victory went to Ashley, Wendy and Katie from Fayetteville. Their rendition of "Fireworks" was a total show stealer, complete with awesome outfits and complex choreography. Their recommendation for future Great Pretenders participants? "Go big or go home!"

We can't wait for next year's event!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mentoring Program Fall Match Retreat

On October 7th, the Camp War Eagle Mentoring Program broke into new territory with it's first ever Mentor-Mentee match retreat! Beautiful weather and the pristine grounds of Camp War Eagle hosted over 30 "matched" pairs for a day of camp activities and healthy competition.

The day of fun was an effort to continue to build and strengthen relationships between mentors and students. Groups split into teams (Aliens vs. Cowboys) to embark on something that Camp War Eagle does best: competition. Points were awarded for participating in numerous activities that gave kids a chance to introduce mentors to a few of their favorite aspects of camp. "It was really great for the adult mentors who had never been to camp before to go out and experience camp with students! They tried a lot of things and had so much energy," assistant director Hannah Cypert said of the competition.
After a great lunch, free time (or "Mish-Mash" as it's termed at camp) began and gave campers and mentors a time to have a blast together. The day ended with an awards ceremony, finding the Aliens victorious! Several other awards were given away for participation and enthusiasm. The male and female matches that garnered the greatest number of points during the competition were given a $15 Walmart gift card. The gift card will be used by winners to do something new and special together, or used by the matches to serve others.

It was a great opportunity for new matches to bond, for relationships to develop, and for the community of mentors to come together and be supported. We look forward to future Mentoring events as the program grows!

Check out some photos of the event!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rogers Intern Spotlight: Scott Bolton

The Ozone Intern program is purposed to develop college-age leaders who have a passion to positively impact the youth culture of Northwest Arkansas by providing them with opportunities to coordinate local peer volunteers and connect with Camp War Eagle campers.

Scott Bolton, a long time Camp War Eagle counselor, recently made the move from Springfield, MO to join Rogers Ozone as an intern. 

Write a brief bio about yourself-3-4 sentences about where you're from, what you like, where you went/go to school.
I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado but moved to a small northern Missouri town called Lawson when I was 2 and grew up there on a small farm.  My time in Lawson was spent playing percussion in the band, running track and cross country, and playing the drums for my youth group.  Music is probably my biggest interest, I've been playing the drums since I was in the 7th grade and I absolutely love it.  If playing in a band was a viable and responsible career path I would do it in a heartbeat.

How did you come to be part of Camp War Eagle?
A friend of mine, Dana Snyder(then Segal), made a facebook event about the video show at Missouri State, so I figured I'd give it a look.  Went to the video show, thought it looked awesome and signed up for an interview with Darrick Seaton [Camp War Eagle Associate Director], and here I am 4 years later.  Is it weird that I still remember the clothes I wore for the interview?

What originally attracted you to interning for CWE365/Ozone?
To be honest, I had no intentions of moving to NWA or interning for Ozone when I left Springfield for camp this past summer.  Towards the beginning of the summer God started laying it on my heart to move down here, at first I just dismissed it as me wanting to move down here to be with the awesome camp people, but the conviction kept growing until I felt I was being led to apply for the internship.  So I did, found out I had gotten the internship and started making plans to leave Springfield.  It was definitely an unexpected thing, but so obviously from the Lord and I'm so glad I followed the call instead of staying where I was comfortable.

What's been your favorite part of the internship so far?
Just hanging out with the Rogers kids has been awesome.  Our middle school kids are some of the funniest I've ever met, and the high school students are such a mixture of personalities that fit so well together and have fun, it's been a blast!

What's been your favorite camp or ozone memory?
I'm going to have to make two categories for this question, because both of these memories are too good not to mention.  My favorite memory with staff would definitely have to be being on SWAT [Servants Working All Together] 7th session of my 3rd summer.  We had such an awesome group, made a lot of great friendships, and strengthened some that were already there.  My favorite memory with campers would have to be my 4th session cabin, also my 3rd summer.  Almost half of that cabin was made up of kids that I had in cabins in the previous two summers.  It was just really awesome to be able to expand those relationships.  Plus getting to skip the awkward getting to know everyone phase on day one was great.

What do you hope to take away/learn from your time as an intern?
Deciding to do this internship so suddenly really gave me a chance to jump in with no expectations of what all of this was going to look like, which has been an awesome learning and growth experience, but I guess all I do hope to take away from this is a skill set for whatever God has in store for me on the next stage of my journey.

Describe your perfect day.
Every time I'm asked this question I have a hard time deciding between a handful of "perfect days" that I have dreamed up.  Spending the day hiking up a mountain would be awesome, or laying in a hammock on a cool fall day reading the Lord of the Rings.  Seeing the Red Sox beat the Yankees at Fenway park would be another awesome day.  I think the one I'm going to have to go with though would be spending the day playing or even writing music with some talented musicians and having a blast doing it with no goal for the day other than to play music.

There's a ton happening with Rogers Ozone, as well as Ozone in all other cities. To learn more or to get involved, visit our website at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Great Pretenders: Coming Soon!

Great Pretenders 2011 is slated to be the greatest event that Ozone has ever seen. The lipsyncing competition in it’s fourth year is an absolute favorite and a chance for students to be rockstars in front of a crowd of fans. As the event draws near, we have narrowed down our Primetime and High School acts that will advance.  
From each city:
Bentonville – Megan & Lucie performing “The Dog Days are over” and Nathan & Neal performing “I Want to be Like You.”
Rogers – Brianna performing “Friday” and Carlos, Pia & Hannah performing “Baby”
Springdale – Abby, Amy & Natalie performing “We’re All In This Together” and Kayla performing “Concrete Angel”
Fayetteville – Ashley, Wendy & Katie performing “Firework” and a boys group performing “Be a Man”

GREAT PRETENDERS.  An event full of talent, creativity, Hollywood excitement, and much more.

Who will take home the prize?  Who will win it all?  COME WATCH & FIND OUT! Wear your tacky red carpet-award show attire.

TUESDAY OCTOBER 25, 2011 @ First United Methodist in Springdale.  6-8pm.

For more information on transportation from your city, check out

Monday, October 17, 2011

Highlighting Fayetteville Ozone

Fayetteville Ozone, led by Ricky Shade and Emily Bankhead, is full of excitement, energy and great relationships! Let’s take a deeper look at our southernmost Ozone chapter.

Ricky Shade

I grew up in Gore, Oklahoma along with three brothers and my mom. I attended Gore Public Schools from Pre-K to my senior year, graduating with 54 students in my class.  Sports were a huge passion of mine, playing in every sport that was offered.  It’s hard not to be passionate about sports in a small town like Gore, population 973.  In college, it was this same passion that led me to apply for the Christian sports adventure camp you might know as Camp War Eagle.

Emily Bankhead

I was born in Nurenburg, Germany and moved many times as a young girl due to my dad being in the Army.  I have a younger brother named Chance and a younger sister named Abby.  I loved babysitting, playing sports and selling lemonade and Kool-Aid in my Boise, ID neighborhood as a kid.  I went onto college at Ouachita Baptist University where I got my business degree and then worked for Dillard’s Corporate in Little Rock for four years.  I moved to Fayetteville with my sweet pup, Jeb, in 2007 to do Fayetteville Ozone.  I met my soon-to-be hubs at Camp War Eagle in the summer of 2009.  We are getting married four days before I turn 30 and then moving away to start our adventure together!  We can’t wait!

What is your favorite Camp or Ozone memory?
RS: I was working at camp’s fishing pond, while Scott Richards was teaching kids his method of preparing the bait (worms) for catching fish.  He placed a live worm in his mouth to cool down the worm’s body temperature to “make them more lively.”  This was just the beginning.  Another form of bait we had at the fishing pond was stink bait (not worms).  So a kid, only following the camp director’s lead, put the whole piece of stink bait in his mouth.  This didn’t turn out well, as one would expect.
EB: So many great memories over these past four years!  It is really hard to narrow down to a favorite.  I have absolutely loved inviting the Ozone girls and Ozone leaders over to my house on a consistent basis.  I love cooking with the girls, painting nails, baking cookies, watching movies, doing crafts and allowing a safe and loving place for them to come and spend time.  I love it when girls randomly stop by my house because they are in the neighborhood or when they call and ask if we can make cookies together.  It’s awesome to know that these girls feel comfortable enough to come to me.  I love it!

What originally attracted you to working for Ozone?
RS: Before working with Ozone, I had been a part of camp for three summers as a counselor and on counselor leadership.  I love working with kids and teaching them about the importance of Jesus Christ in our lives.
EB: Getting to do what I’m passionate about – spending time with students and making them feel loved and cared for.  Making sure these beautiful students see how sweet a relationship with Christ is…and then walking alongside them in their new journey!

If you could create any huge Ozone event, what would it be?
RS: A huge water balloon fight! 
EB: A big mission trip to a very poor and underserved place for an entire week.  Our kids love to serve, but they need to get out of NWA and see that there are so many people in need in this world.

Using only 5 words, describe Fayetteville Ozone.
RS: Community, Relational, Inviting, Fun, Memorable!
EB: Intentional. Family. Loving. Consistent. Home.

What's the best thing about Lifeline, Primetime, and Ozone in Fayetteville?
The best thing about all of our programs in Fayetteville is that we are such a close-knit family that everyone who attends walks away knowing they are cared for…not only from the leaders and directors, but they hear about Jesus’ deep love for them as well.

Is there anything new happening in Fayetteville Ozone this semester?
Small groups are a new entity that we have created for Fayetteville this year.  We break the group by gender and grade and meet for about 20 minutes to discuss the talks and how the Lord is moving in our lives right now.  It has been so cool to connect with a smaller group of girls this year.  We’ve already had a little 7th grade small group slumber party and it was so fun! Some of the groups are even teaming up to perform in our Great Pretenders lip-sync competition where the winner will receive $100. The parent involvement this year is phenomenal.  We have seen that just by asking parents to help, they are more than willing.  Numerous parents have stepped up to help with snacks, transportation, construction work, speaking to our kids, etc. Very awesome stuff.

If someone wanted to become involved in Ozone, what would you tell them?
COME!  Do not be anxious or nervous or not show up because it’s the middle of the semester or you don’t know anyone.  We have new people coming all of the time and I guarantee that you will feel loved and cared for.  It is such a sweet and fun time!  Bring friends!  It really is like being a part of a family!! We hope to see you soon!

Check out some photos from this year at Fayetteville Ozone!

There are so many ways in which someone could get involved with Ozone.  Whether that’s for our students, parents, or college volunteers, we have something for everyone.  For more information about Ozone, go to our website

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Young Gun's: Fire Safety

Ever seen the Jaws of Life in action? On Saturday, October 1st, elementary boy CWE365 students and parents attended a free community event and saw firefighters demonstrating this impressive piece of equipment. The Rogers Fire Department methodically dismantled an automobile, starting with the windows, removing each door, then the roof, the trunk and finally rolling the entire dashboard forward! The car was left in so many pieces. The RFD also had a real firetruck for students to explore!

Our Young Guns program, specifically for boys in the Lifeline (grades 2-5) group had it's monthly meeting at the fire safety program. Our students had the opportunity to build and take home rescue chopper replicas and enjoy some delicious free hot dogs! Carroll Electric Company was on hand with a high voltage safety presentation. They exploded fuse cut-outs and arced electricity through a hot dog! How's that for exciting! CEC demonstrated proper safety procedures for kids to practice around downed power-lines, as well as sent students home with information on how to improve the efficiency of their lifestyles and their families' homes. Thanks to these great presentations, our boys are excited about safety, which is no small task!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Beaver Lake Clean Up 2011

What do you get when you combine old, dripping tires, a few hundred yards of fishing line, three buses full of students and chicken rings? The possibilities could be endless but we know it's one thing: our annual service project, the Beaver Lake Clean up!

On September 24th,  CWE 365 students from each city in Northwest Arkansas joined together to undertake the massive project of cleaning up our beautiful Beaver Lake. Beaver Lake encompasses almost 30,000 acres in Northwest Arkansas and is enjoyed by thousands throughout the year. However, with all of the enjoyment comes a lot of trash. Over 100 parents, staff and students scoured the shoreline of Beaver Lake in Rogers and Springdale, picking up waste. Bags were filled mostly with broken glass, cigarette butts and plastic bottles, but several "treasures" were found as well in the form of tires, derelict couches and even an oven. After a morning of collecting trash, participants were treated to a delicious meal of catfish and chicken rings!

The yearly Beaver Lake Clean Up is hosted by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is a huge service to the lake and those who enjoy its natural splendor. It was a wonderful opportunity to encourage students in taking care of our environment and being responsible to keep it that way.
Check out our video for a look into the clean up!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ozone Welcomes a New Director in Rogers, Christine Janssens

The end of the summer season marked the beginning of a new season with Rogers Ozone as former Camp War Eagle counselor and Caddo Chieftess Christine Janssens stepped into the position of female Rogers Ozone Director. Christine, a native of Kansas City, MO and graduate of Baker University, brings energy and passion to the Ozone team!

What aspects of Ozone are you most excited to experience this year?
     (Christine): I'm most excited for Thursday night [High School] Ozone because I get to hang out with some of my campers from this summer. I really enjoy connecting with high school girls, getting to know their hearts and being a part of their walk with Christ. Now that I'm involved with Ozone I get to be around these kids all the time and continually pour into them.

What originally attracted you to working for Ozone?
      My love for kids and the opportunity to work full-time with directors, leaders and volunteers who have the same passion as I do. 

What is your favorite Camp War Eagle memory?
      The last day of 4th session, when my cabin had spent a hard two weeks gaining as many cabin challenge points as possible we decided to have a chill mish mash [free time at camp]. What we ended up doing was "planking" around camp and it was some of the most fun I'd ever had with my girls. Such a great bonding experience!

What personal gifts or skills are you most excited to share with Rogers Ozone?
      I'm pumped to bring my excitement for Christ, life, sports, and kids to ozone. I love being intentional with kids and sharing my energy with them. I love utilizing the time spent just hanging out to really get to know kids and jump on the opportunity to talk about Christ with them.

What does your perfect day look like?
      My perfect day would include, in any order
  - Sleeping in until 9:30
  - About an hour- hour and a half of working out/running
  - Getting lunch with some of my girls from session 4
           - Rocking out to 90s music while driving to this place
  - Playing a game of soccer with Camp War Eagle people
  - Making dinner with friends
  - Reading Harry Potter
  - Having a couple hours to spend in the Word/with God

Welcome to Camp War Eagle 365, Christine!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Connecting Kids to Counselors

The following was written by Hannah Cypert, Assistant Director of Camp War Eagle Mentoring as a means to report on a summer of excellent progress for the Mentoring Program. 

This summer the Camp War Eagle Mentoring Program turned over a new leaf. Before I came on board with the mentoring team, I was asked a question by Paul Batson. He said, “Hannah we have had a difficult time getting camp counselors who live in the area to mentor our kids… Why do you think that is?”  I responded, “Unfortunately counselors don’t know much about the program; it’s not advocated at camp enough.”

So with that in mind, this summer looked a little different from the mentoring side of CWE 365. I had the privilege to spend 7 ½ weeks at camp working with counselors and getting to know kids. Through the course of camp the Mentoring Program had multiple opportunities to speak to the summer staff and campers about mentoring and being mentored.

At Camp War Eagle’s Orientation, Scott [CWE365 Director] and I spoke to the counselors during a training session about mentoring and follow up.  I shared a story to the counselors about a camper who was struggling with depression and was in need of some support.  We were able to find her a mentor that knew how to support her in her situation. They are now matched and meet regularly and have built a strong friendship though the Mentoring Program. During the training, I challenged the counselors to start thinking about choosing one kid to walk alongside and support after the summer was over.  I was happy to have the opportunity to emphasize the importance of mentoring to counselors before their summer really kicked off.

Mentor Night

One of my favorite parts of the summer was Mentor Night. Each session we invited Mentors to camp to spend an evening with their Mentees. The Mentor ate in the Chow Hall with the mentee and his cabin-mates and counselors. After dinner the Mentee got a chance to show his Mentor around camp. They attended Lifeline / Primetime [Camp War Eagle nightly worship meetings] together and then participated in that night’s special event, which was usually Western Night.  Most mentors had never seen camp before so it was a great opportunity for them to see camp in action. The mentors not only truly enjoyed the camp experience, but the kids absolutely adored having a beloved visitor to share their camp night with! Mentor Nights this summer were a definite hit!

Closing Day
The Mentoring Program received great publicity at camp throughout the summer. Every Final Friday, Scott or Alden had the chance to share with the all campers about CWE 365. I was introduced to the kids as the person to talk to if you wanted a mentor!  Every Closing Day Ceremony, Brent [Director of Mentoring] and I were introduced to the families.  Scott would talk at the Closing Day Ceremony about the follow up program after camp. He highlighted the Mentoring Program and he encouraged parents to sign their kids up but also, more importantly for the parents to sign up to mentor a child as a way of giving back to the camp. We had 7 parents show interest in mentoring a child and 2 were matched by the end of the camp season!

Time Out
Time Out is a worship service for the summer staff the morning of opening day to recharge before a new session begins. Usually a speaker from the community is invited to come and talk to the counselors as an encouragement to keep them motivated. For our very last Time Out I asked two of our campers to come and share their mentoring stories to the staff. It was a great way for the staff to see the real impact they had on the kids. 
Mariano Mendez shared how he came to know the Lord though the discipleship of staff member, Raul Rodriguez [Director of Community Relations]. He shared how his camp counselors encouraged him at camp by being an example of how to live out his faith. Jason Shelton shared how he was introduced to drugs when he was 13, and was an atheist when he met his mentor Ben. Jason is now starting his junior year of high school and has a passion to share the gospel to his friends at school. 
Jason didn’t see his life going anywhere before he met Ben and now 3½ years later he shared to the staff his interest in going into ministry. Jason was also a part of Ozone’s Summer Work Program. These stories were a great testament as to how the impact of camp can change lives!

Top Staff

The greatest part of my summer was spent serving on Top Staff as a Staff Floater. With that opportunity I had the chance to interview a handful of counselors who expressed interest in mentoring a camper.  I placed a mentor interest signup sheet in the office for counselors. As they signed up, I followed up with them. At the end of the summer we had a total of 50 people interested in mentoring that were affiliated with camp; 28 of those 50 had interviews at camp this summer. I had the privilege to foster relationships with counselors and connect them with kids. It was a great summer because I got see how God loves his children through the hearts of our staff. They are filled with passion and are eager to follow up with the kids.  It’s going to be a great fall season, and I am excited to see our program expand!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Staff Spotlight: Raul Rodriguez, Hispanic Relations

What’s your position with CWE365, and how long have you been employed with CWE?
I’m the Hispanic Recruiter for CWE and CWE365. I have worked for camp for almost 3 years, first with Hispanic Recruiting and Camp Maintenance staff, and now with CWE365.

How did you first come to be a part of the CWE family?
*Jokes* Like Chief Runamuck? “HOW!”
I met Pete Day (Director of CWE) in Arkansas a few times, and in Mexico we’d spent maybe 3 weeks together in different locations serving Rivers of Mercy (ROM) [] children’s home. He came to visit my wife and I when we were serving at ROM as missionaries in Juarez, MX. We were on furlow here in Arkansas, and Pete offered me a role with Recruiting.  The Lord directed me to stay, and then a position opened up with Ozone.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Office work! Throughout the time I’ve worked with CWE, I’ve noticed the Lord equipping me with the ability to carry on the dream and vision of the CWE family. Growing up, my dad encouraged me to work hard, but he didn’t have much interest in school. If we had wanted to, we could have dropped out in 2nd grade. Making money to survive was the most important thing to him. We weren’t encouraged to stay in school and be equipped (for office work). On the other hand, I thank my dad for waking us up early at a young age, to help him carry the strawberries he’d picked. We would work hard all morning until 12, eat lunch, and then go to school at 1.

What’s your favorite story from your time with Ozone?
Meeting Mariano (Mendez, senior at Heritage High School) at the cross country field house.  From there, through his friendship with Audrey (Rodriguez, Raul’s daughter), I was given the opportunity to be around him. Watching him make a decision for Christ, and watching the passion that followed, was exciting. It wasn’t just me, but also the other Ozone staff, volunteers, and students that served the Lord by loving Mariano and teaching him.

What’s your favorite joke?
A guy took his girlfriend to her first football game. His team won the coin toss.  He and his team played hard and won the game!  Afterwards he asked her what she thought about the game.
She replied, “I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents." Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you mean?" "Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it, and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was: 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!’"

If you could see 5 years into the future of Ozone, what would you hope to see?
I would love to have more Hispanic parents involved and encouraging their children.  We know there are lots of kids who want to be a part of our program.  If we had the parental support (willingness to transport their kids to events, encouragement for participation in events, following up on lessons learned, etc.), the program would be even more successful.