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!