Monday, December 8, 2014

Our New Mentoring Director: Lacey Bailey

My name is Lacey Bailey and I am the new Mentoring Director for Camp War Eagle. I was a 7 year OSAGE camper at Camp Ozark and I worked there for 3 summers in college. In 2006, I joined Permanent Staff at Camp War Eagle and was able be part of opening the gates to thousands of kids in NWA. Until 2010, I worked on Program and 365. I went to school at Ouachita Baptist University, married a soccer player (Caddo) , and we have two beautiful but crazy girls, Annalee and Eleanor. I am passionate about the lessons taught through camp and the way it reaches families in this area. For that reason, I have returned to work as the Mentoring Director. I believe every child, no matter what their background, would benefit from from a one on one mentor. My goal is that our program will be able to continue to grow as we recruit more mentors who are excited to be intentional with our kids. 

The 3 words that describe me: (as given to me by my coworkers) Driven, Blunt, Personal

My favorite camp memory: As a camper: Being the last runner of the girls obstacle course when I was in cabin 1. My tribe was down by 1 minute, so by the time I ran, most of the crowd had made it’s way to the boys obstacle course. This was the first time I truly understood the 3 flames and the value of giving everything of myself. This was a simple and tangible way for my 16 year old self to understand what Paul spoke about in Galatians 1:10 “Am In trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.. As a Staff Member: Getting to see kids really learn to dance and have fun at Special Events. For a few summers, I was the Special Events Director and from the DJ stand, I would see kids that started off each session so unsure of themselves and the camp world they had entered into. My favorite night was the last one of the session because thats when I would see kids really come out of their shell and dance the night away.  

Five things that would be part of my Best Day EVER?
1) All Girls Beach Party
2) Any Osage Victory
3) Cookie Cake (but ONLY from Great American Cookie Company)
4) Lake Day
5.) Seeing my kids blob for the first time

My Favorite thing about 365: The staff. 

The attribute i'm most excited to bring to the CWE365 staff: My experience as a camper and counselor give me a good perspective of lots of aspects of camp. I remember how fun those simple, silly things about camp (like chow hall cheers) were to myself as a kid, and I also remember how much I needed my day off as a counselor. The culmination of these memories helps me in my decisions as I consider what’s best for our staff and kids. 

If I could create any camp special event (or bring back an old one with updates) what it would be:
We did this one time at CWE and I loved it. It’s a reverse of Mission Impossible-the staff hides and the cabins have to find them. I loved it as a kid!

Monday, December 1, 2014


Here I am, freezing. Daylight savings time was recent, which means standing in line, outside, in the middle of November at 5:45pm is a cold thing. It’s okay though, because all my friends have told me about this thing called “Great Pretenders” and how awesome and fun it is…it’s like “worth the wait in the freezing cold line” kind of great. Finally, the bouncer opens the door and a gush of warm air, bright lights, and loud noises hits and adrenaline starts rushing through my body. “Can I have an autograph?” they said, “No! Over here! Smile!” I walk the red carpet and feel like a celebrity. I guess those friends were right, so far, this Great Pretenders thing is pretty rad.

After exiting the red carpet and being bombarded with photos, questions, and selfies, students were able to enjoy this highly anticipated Camp War Eagle special event. Students could grab a friend and take endless photos in our photo booth. They could play games, get a tattoo, dress themselves in neon headbands, and paint their nails. The biggest hit at this year’s Great Pretenders was definitely the black light room. With NEON being the theme, this pitch black room was covered with neon shapes that glow in the black lights. Students could write on the walls with highlighters, dance like they were at Camp War Eagle, or just be crazy! Although there were so many fun options for everyone to enjoy, Bentonville Primetime student Ryan Beard (and winner, with his brother Steven, of the whole event) voiced his favorite part of the entire night, “I love the pizza.”

As students transitioned to the main event, they waved at their friends who were sitting in the front rows waiting to perform. The auditorium has almost reached maximum capacity as the lights begin to dim. This year was by far the most talented Great Pretenders that CWE 365 has ever seen. Every act had put in countless hours of practice, synchronized their costumes, and memorized their lyrics with high hopes of out-performing the rest! With a great mix of funny jokes, silly competitions, and awkward moments, MC Cass Trumbo led the audience in a roller coaster of excitement between each act. However, the night had to come to an end…there had to be a winner. After a lot of deliberation, the judges chose Springdale Primetime for best choreography, Rogers Summit for best costume and Bentonville brothers Ryan and Steven Beard as the overall Great Pretenders Winners.

The event made for one crazy fun, extremely interactive night. Many students went home and told their friends of how much fun was packed into this 2 hour event. Rogers student Sarah Melton put it this way, “I bragged about a lot of things. I bragged about the black light room. I bragged about the performances. But most of all, I bragged about my pizza shirt.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

StreetFest 2014!

Every year, the Camp War Eagle family joins forces with Mosaic Church and The Jones Center for Families to offer a fun and sugar filled evening to residents of Springdale and surrounding cities. This magnum of milk chocolate and evening of energy is Streetfest, a beloved tradition for local families.
This year, on October 29th, Streetfest reached a new attendance high of over 1,400 people! Upon entry through festive balloon arches, kids and families, dressed in costumes ranging from dinosaurs to farmers to animals of all kinds, were given bags for candy and tickets for dinner and a raffle with fantastic prizes. Candy was in high supply with thousands and thousands of pieces donated by Mosaic Church families. Volunteers from Camp War Eagle and Mosaic attended carnival games where kids played for delicious morsels of chocolate or gummies. The two organizations provided over 100 volunteers for the fun evening; some acted as treat distributors, others monitored the safety of the 3 huge inflatables set up on The Jones Center lawn.
There was more than just candy and games set up on The Jones Center’s land. Both Camp War Eagle and The Jones Center had representatives available for families to ask questions and discuss their programs. Through Camp War Eagle’s presence, over 40 people were given assistance in the summer camp application process. The Jones Center employees were able to answer questions about membership and communicate the value of staying involved with all the family center has to offer. Each organization donated great prizes to the raffle as well: a free session at camp or day camp and a Jones Center family membership for an entire year! The raffle also boasted a $100 prize, excitedly claimed by a mother with her few young children.
In the days leading up the event, flyers were distributed to nearby apartment complexes in Springdale by Camp War Eagle staff. “We love getting the whole community involved in this awesome event! It’s so much fun. Hopefully everyone who gets a flyer can come!” Erin Wiltse, Springdale CWE365 assistant director, said in the midst of flyer distribution. Based on the massive turnout, the flyers definitely played a part in getting families to the fun happening at The Jones Center. "I love having a fun and safe event to bring my kids to. They really enjoy it... and the candy," said one mother from Springdale.

“We consider it a total success,” Mosaic elementary staff member and director of the event, Matt Noetzel reflected on the event. “Families seem to love it more and more every year!”

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why Come to Day Camp?

Started in the summer of 2013, Camp War Eagle's Day Camp at The Jones Center grows each year and is a beloved aspect of our program. Do you have a student who will be 7-11 years old during the summer of 2015? They'll love Day Camp. Need more convincing? Here's ten reasons why your elementary age child should apply to be a camper at the Camp War Eagle Day Camp at the Jones Center!

1.     DAY CAMP IS FUN! We offer continuous excitement and awesome new experiences, like field trips, special events, and great activities.
2.     Day camp is local! The Day Camp is located at The Jones Center in Springdale.
3.     Day camp is still CAMP! Even though we are located in town, we provide families a safe, educational and fun summer camp opportunity, just like Camp War Eagle on Beaver Lake!
4.     Day camp is affordable! Price is based on income, starting at $20 for 2 weeks of camp per camper.
5.     Day camp has incredible staff! We hire college students from surrounding universities who are fun, positive role models to work with our campers.
6.     Day camp is safe! The staff has been trained extensively in quality safety procedures and the facilities are well-maintained and secure.
7.     Day camp follows a normal school schedule, beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. So kids get to stay at home at night!
8.     Day camp is a first step! Day camp is a great opportunity to connect to Camp War Eagle, our residential camp on Beaver Lake. At our day camp, Kids get a chance to get comfortable with the idea of camp before spending a week or two away from home. Campers can even attend BOTH in one summer!
9.     Day camp is a local part of the Camp War Eagle umbrella! Campers can get connected to our year-round mentoring program, after school program and Ozone!
10.   At day camp, we love God! Our hope is to help kids learn about who God is and what He has done for them according to the Bible!

Applications are now available for 2015 summer sessions. Want an application, or more information on Day Camp at the Jones Center? Feel free to stop by our office at the Jones Center (922 E. Emma, Springdale), call (479-750-2006), or comment here for more details.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why We Like Ozone, October 2014

It doesn't take but a bit of observation to realize that our students absolutely adore coming to club every week. Recently, we decided to survey a group of consistent 6th-12th graders about what keeps them coming back. Read on to see how they responded.

Why did you start coming to Ozone, and why do you continue to make it a part of your weekly schedule?
"I wanted to keep my heart excited in a very fun way" 6th grader
"CWE [Camp War Eagle] recommended it, and I love CWE"
"Nothing is better than Camp all year round"
"I really thought it would be a good idea to learn more about God with people I know from camp than from strangers"
"For community, involvement, Christine and Matt (my directors), and to learn about the Lord, most importantly" 12th grader
"My directors are awesome! I like to learn from them about God"
"I came to be with all the crazy kids from camp"
"I'm the only person in my family who believes in God. It's great that I get to be at a place where I know I won't be judged. It's AWESOME!"
"I love to see everyone from camp, and I really like small group"
"We aren't judged here... it doesn't matter what we're like. I have a lot of fun and get to know people"
"It's encouraging to be here. It gets better every time!"
"I keep coming because lessons I learn here I want to keep for a lifetime. I know I learn here"
"I like that this is a place I can go to get away from troubles at home. I get to forget problems and just have fun."
"Because the people here show Christ through how they act. I love the people"
"You learn something new every week, whether it's about life or God. No one judges you at all"

As a result of attending club consistently, have you seen any changes in your life?
"I have become more confident and comfortable with others" 11th grade girl
"I feel I've become a better person!"
"Better knowledge of God and the word"
"Yes, I see changes all the time. I also find myself reading the Bible and praying more often"
"I've really been influenced to learn about God and how to accept him in my life"
"I've made more friends"
"I've made more friends than expected, I come because it's fun!"
"All the connections with people!"
"My life has become less depressing. I used to suffer with depression before ozone and now there's a lot more happiness in my life" 12th grader
"Coming to Ozone has changed my attitude."
"I see the world differently"

No matter the city, we receive similar feedback each time we ask our students the truth behind their drive to attend Ozone. They love the people, the atmosphere of acceptance for one another, what they learn and the continuing connection to Camp War Eagle, a place they hold close.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beaver Lake Clean Up 2014

Once every year, on the last Saturday of September, scores of people converge from the four major cities of Northwest Arkansas as one against a common foe. Caddo or Osage, young or old, weak or strong, it matters not, for on this day the loathing of an adversary outweighs our respective differences. Year after year we come, resolute and steadfast, with numbers strong towards one mission: to wipe the floor with the ever-present enemy, Trash.

Our battlefield: The shores of Beaver Lake. The same lake that provides campers with nonstop fun each summer at Camp War Eagle. The same lake that supplies our community with drinking water. The same lake that is host to a diverse wildlife population. 

Our strategy this year was simple, we divided our forces and attacked from two fronts (North and South). At each front, our brigade of students and their families cleaned out three messy locations (Monte Ne, Old Prairie Creek Road, and the Highway 12 Bridge in the North, the Highway 412 Bridge, Blue Springs Park, and Pin Hook in the South). They fought hard and never wavered in the face of battle. In fact, many of them carried smiles on their faces as if to say, “Picking up trash is fun!” Armed with multiple trash bags and protective gloves, the group of over two hundred and fifty volunteers made quick work of the mess, stuffing trash into bags and scouring the area for any other loose items. Drawing from the energy of our students and their families, some bystanders even joined the fray. One particular man stated, “I live right around the corner and my kids and I try to keep the shoreline clean, but it always gets messy, thank you so much for picking up the trash!” At the end of the day, 2 sixteen-foot trailers FULL of stuffed trash bags were collected and disposed of! The sites were left spotless and residents can once again enjoy the natural beauty of Beaver Lake.

A total of over 630 community hours were awarded to help students fulfill their requirements to go back to Camp War Eagle next summer! Participating were 213 individuals, 153 of them being students and 60 parents or other family members. This event would not have been as fun and exciting were it not for the incredible experience that these students had at camp.  The excitement and commitment of this group was evident as the day came to a close. The CWE 365 staff watched students and families celebrating their camaraderie and accomplishment after a morning of work that reaffirmed friendships and supported the beauty of our region.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mish Mash Live 2014

Mish Mash Live was an exciting and new event hosted by Camp War Eagle for families whose children attended camp in the summer of 2014. The event was held on September 15th at Camp War Eagle in Rogers and over 80 families attended. As families arrived, they were greeted with excitement as university students who had worked as counselors this past summer welcomed children (and their parents!) back to camp! The night began with an outdoor dinner followed by Mish Mash, which is a beloved event at Camp War Eagle where all the activities are open at camp and children get to choose what they want to experience. At Mish Mash Live families enjoyed water activities, a foam pit, water slides, dodgeball, archery, pig chasing, a petting zoo, outdoor adventures, dancing, soccer, an inflatable and mini golf. Parents were able to experience the fun of Camp War Eagle alongside their children and join in the new and exciting activities as if they were campers themselves! 
The majority of Camp War Eagle’s year-round staff worked the event and were available to meet families, make relationships, and answer any questions. As the activities were closing down, families were brought together to hear more information about Camp War Eagle activities, win prizes, and watch fireworks! At the end of the event, many families expressed their gratitude. One mother said of Mish Mash Live, “Our family has been so excited to come to Camp War Eagle together! One of our sons has attended camp for three years! Our daughter has a disability and attends another camp in Oklahoma. This event allowed our family to experience camp and have fun together! Thank you for this opportunity!” Camp War Eagle plans to host another Mish Mash Live event in April of 2015. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Paint War 2014

Clank! Clank! Clank! The last color sign was UP! Blue, Yellow, Green, Red.  The sponges sat soaked, the powder rested cloudless. All preparations were complete. And just like that... 6:00!  As the buses began to roll in and cars swept through the lot, the field became flooded with white t-shirts awaiting their color splashed doom.  

The evening of absolute craziness began less-than so with reunions, hugs, frisbee, and kickball.  The field was full of more than 320 Primetime and Summit students from Springdale, Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville feeling at home with camp friends and awaiting the start of the another CWE 365 Paint War.  Kolias Sewell from Bentonville expressed, "Dude, this is awesome! It really is like camp," and when asked, Zach Reynebeau from Springdale said "I would never miss Paint War... it's the start of one of my favorite parts of the year."  Just as the clock hit 6:15, everyone split into the four colors and began the color challenges.  This entailed the messy and competitive "paint the leader" competition, as well as paint-soaked sponge relays.  However, the craziest station ended up being the yellow team's banner painting, which became a paint slip & slide!  Within minutes the entire team was coated from head to toe in yellow, paint dripping from their shirts with yellow-pride.  

All of a sudden, the whistle blew and the start of the final Paint War was announced.  The teams retreated to their flags, loaded up with handfuls of paint powder, and fired up in preparation for the bombardment of color, awaiting the inevitable neon cloud that would soon cover the field.  The music began... CHAAAAARGE!  The final war had begun and within seconds, the entire field was tasting the rainbow, although not quite as tasty as Lucky Charms.  No matter where you ran, hid, turned, or stood, someone was there with a surprise splat of more color!  Who would have thought that a field full of students, powder paint, and music would be so much fun? Oh yeah, that's right....we all thought that!

As the color chaos ended, and the food and water table became crowded with hungry paint war veterans, the photo booth opened up! Friends, cabins, and small groups, were attracted to the opportunity for a memorable paint pic with your best of friends.  Just as soon as it had begun, the annual Paint War was over and the countdown for 2015 had started.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Introducing New Staff in Springdale and Bentonville

The new school year brought in an fresh round of new staff members, amongst them Harold Crow and Scott Jones. Both have spent several years serving at Camp War Eagle, and both are passionate about teaching and leading the young people of Northwest Arkansas!

Harold Crow
Describe yourself in 3 words: 
Nerd, hufflepuff, Christian

What attribute of yourself are you most excited to bring to the CWE365 staff:
Energy and my love for spreadsheets.

What are you looking forward to teaching/sharing with campers?
The Gospel, how to make good decisions, and how to throw a frisbee.

What are 5 things that would be part of your best day ever?
Hot Chocolate, Chickfila, Ultimate Frisbee, music, and 70 degrees partially cloudy weather.

What's your favorite thing about Ozone so far?
Getting to go through the Gospel of Mark with high school guys.

What is one of your favorite camp memories?
Early morning runs with top staff Justin Berndt 

Scott Jones
Describe yourself in 3 words: 
spontaneous, lanky, energetic

What attribute of yourself are you most excited to bring to the CWE365 staff:
My love for engaging students in conversations

What are you looking forward to teaching/sharing with campers?
Playing crazy games and being bold in public so that fun memories are made, discussing Godly relationships with students and with families, teaching truth at local schools through acting.

What are 5 things that would be part of your best day ever?
An incredible view of nature from high up, riding a roller coaster, watching the noon parade at Disney World, seeing a broadway show, sampling numerous pasta dishes.

What's your favorite thing about Ozone so far?
I love the MANY different ways I am able to be involved in NWA community.

What is one of your favorite camp memories?
When I was top staff over the oldest boys cabin, we choreographed and learned a whole dance to "Everything is Awesome" and it was AWESOME! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Staff Bring New Ideas to Fayetteville Ozone

This summer, Molly Schmeidler and Joe Collura were hired as new leadership for Fayetteville's Ozone clubs. Both long time Camp War Eagle employees, in a variety of roles, Molly and Joe have already done a fantastic job embracing the campers and families of Fayetteville! Learn more about both below.

Molly Schmeidler
Describe yourself in 3 words: 
Warm, Punctual Sometimes

What attribute of yourself are you most excited to bring to the CWE365 staff:
I love celebrating uncelebrated things (mostly historical holidays).

What are you looking forward to teaching/sharing with campers?
I’m excited to learn alongside them the great experience of knowing God.

What are 5 things that would be part of your best day ever?
1. Sunrise sitting with earl grey and close friends.
2. Custom buttons
3. Kansas Day (celebrating 154 years in January!)
4. Erin Wiltse’s laugh
5. Bonfire

What's your favorite thing about Ozone so far?
Its shown me how God is alive and actively making His kingdom come in NWA.

What is one of your favorite camp memories?
I always get goosebumps during a good fire-up, but I would practically sprout dimples every time the Chow Hall experienced the musical climax of techno “Let it Go” during Planet Pizza.

Joe Collura
Describe yourself in 3 words: 
3 Words- Adventurous, Willing, Wacky.

What attribute of yourself are you most excited to bring to the CWE365 staff:
I'm Just excited to bring a different perspective and really do my best to be diligent in serving my fellow staff and kids!  

What are you looking forward to teaching/sharing with campers?
One of the things I am most excited about is teaching and learning how to serve alongside these campers and  getting to share in those experiences! 

5 Things That Would be involved in my best day ever: 
1. An airplane with an unlimited amount of Gas
2. Every National Park in America
3. 4 Friends
4. 1 big city, probably New York or L.A.
5. Barbecue 

What's your favorite thing about Ozone so far?
I have loved getting to work in the office with everyone and also just getting to know all of the Fayetteville ozone kids and seeing how awesome they are!

What is one of your favorite camp memories?
It has to be the time I caught a snapping turtle in the catch pond of the water-slides; it was pretty big. It almost bit me because Scott Havens (long time staff member) told me to hold it on the sides. (P.S. Never grab a snapper on the sides) I threw it in the woods. What I didn't know at the time was that once they find a body of water they will keep returning to it... someone else ended up catching it again and now that turtle doesn't go back to the water-slides.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Family Dodgeball, February 2014

The winter months can be long and quiet for a summer camp. We tend to thrive on sunshine, lake water and heat waves.

To break free of the winter, CWE365 held its first ever Family Dodgeball Night on the last Friday in February. Invitations were designed, printed, and mailed to every camp family. Pizza was ordered, dodgeballs were counted, and five different-sized brackets were drawn up, because we could only guess at what the turn out for this event would be.

Our goal was two hundred.

By the end of Friday night, we had over four hundred campers and parents throwing dodgeballs for twelve different teams. We ate eighty boxes of pizza and drank every bottle of water purchased, plus those that had been shelved in dry storage in our offices. In two and a half hours, we held over twenty-five dodgeball games. And it was glorious.

Christian Campbell, a sixth-grader who had dragged his parents all the way from Bentonville, said “It was awesome! My dad even played in the last two games! And Caddo won – GO CADDO!”

Dodgeball is a Camp pastime and on Friday night several parents took to the floor between students and CWE365 volunteers. Anyone over the age of thirteen had to throw with two hands, which forced dads into creative over-the-head, chest-pass and side-spin tosses. Elementary students scrambled about, lobbing dodgeballs back in forth in a flurry of minutes before the game ended and their team had to wait on deck for the next round.

The stands above the multi-purpose courts at the Jones Center were filled with parents, watching the game, eating dinner, and waiting for the night’s raffle. Besides the twenty-plus small prizes given away, the Jones Center gave away a year-long family membership and Camp War Eagle gave away to different student scholarships.

The night called for a multitude of volunteers from a few different organizations to hand out pizza, advertise programs and, most importantly, rally dodgeball teams. By the end of the night, both these volunteers and the community they were serving were exhausted and quite pleased. There’s nothing quite like throwing a dodgeball with your mom.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Walton Arts Center: Soweto Choir

In the darkened auditorium of the Walton Arts Center, an orange glow began illuminating the stage. A song, reminiscent of the Lion King, suddenly filled the air. A colorfully clad group quickly emerged, dancing and singing in their African dialect. And students and leaders were captivated by it all.

Fayetteville and Springdale Summit, as well as mentors and their mentees in the Camp War Eagle Mentoring program, had the opportunity to attend a performance by the Soweto Gospel Choir through the WAC Take-A-Seat program. The choir, hailing from South Africa, has received much deserved acclaim, from a Grammy Award to a performance at the World Cup. Their music is beautiful and engaging, ranging from African chants to audience favorites such as “In the Arms of an Angel” and old hymns. The Choir even invited audience members to dance along with them during the final songs.

Fayetteville students especially enjoyed dancing during the last two songs. Renee Danie said, “I liked the part where we all got up and danced!” The other girls chimed in, “They were really good...better than Canei and Renee” (poking fun at their friends excitement during the performance). Student Lexi Lenox appreciated how they dedicated the entire performance to Nelson Mandela, and many of the others said parts of the show made them want to cry. Students were very grateful for the opportunity for a unique cultural experience, and they did not want the show to end.

Following the performance, members of the Soweto Choir interacted with guests in the WAC lobby. Students enjoyed speaking with the performers and taking pictures with them. And as the lights dimmed and the choir departed, students now have lasting memories of celebrating the Good News, a message that transcends time and cultures, through both song and dance.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Savannah's CWE365 Mentoring Internship

The following was written by Savannah, CWE365's Mentoring intern, regarding her internship experience.
My adventures with the CWE Mentoring Program started three years ago. A dear friend of mine – before I was even walking with Jesus – told me about Camp War Eagle and its awesome mentoring program! At first, I didn’t give it much thought. I hadn’t really given a lot of weight to Jesus or kids for that fact. However, things soon changed that summer after my freshman year of college. Jesus changed my heart and directed it towards Him. He showed me that kids are AWESOME and gave me a passion for sharing Christ with kids through many different ministries. Realizing this fact, I decided I wanted to know more about this crazy-cool camp called Camp War Eagle and their mentoring program. So I did what any person would do; I called Hannah, one of the staff members of the mentoring program. Then she called me. Then I called her back. It was a bit of phone tag, but in the end, Hannah interviewed me and decided I would mentor Olivia.
The next year was spent hanging out each week with Olivia. We participated in fun activities like going to get frozen yogurt, eating yummy food at Rick’s bakery, slurping down Sonic drinks, or swinging at Wilson Park. It was so incredible to get to know Olivia and her mom, Joy, better! My adventures with the CWE Mentoring Program didn’t stop there though. My first summer working at Camp War Eagle I was approached by Hannah Hiemstra and asked to work as an intern for the mentoring program. I told her I would pray about it because I already had a job lined up. Driving back from camp after orientation, I called my grandma and asked her about her thoughts on the situation. She knew my heart and my prayers. My grandma is so wise! She said I’d be crazy not to follow the path Jesus had obviously opened. I called Hannah that night and told her I’d love to be the intern for the mentoring program.
During my time as an intern, I have witnessed the excitement of so many children – like Mateo, or McKayln, and others – in receiving a mentor to walk with them through life. I have witnessed the joy of kids when they get to participate in fun events like the program’s annual Fall Festival.  I have also cried because of the brokenness I have witnessed due to the fact that unhappy things sometimes happen in the lives of the children. However, there is hope and I praise Jesus that they have the opportunity to be loved and supported by an incredible mentor.
Throughout my now two years as an intern, I have continued to meet with Olivia (or Liv) each week. I have enjoyed the many moments that we have laughed like when we went through the drive through at McDonalds and I drove off without the food. I have enjoyed our competitive spirits each time we play the card game “Speed” together. I have enjoyed becoming part of her family and spending many moments watching her use her talents as an actress to impress so many! However, my favorite moment of ours is when Liv and her mom went to Honduras with a bunch of college girls and I through our church.  It was such a sweet week of pointing each other towards Jesus through serving together and reading 1 Peter together. I was also so encouraged because I didn’t really know the impact I had on Liv’s life until her mother wrote me the sweetest note and shared how thankful she was that I was a part of Liv’s life and hers. I won’t ever forget that trip. I’m so thankful the Lord showed me that He is good and knew from the beginning how beautiful it is to be able to love on Liv and her mom through mentorship.
Looking back, I had no idea of the journey I’d encounter, but Jesus knew the blessing that would come serving him consistently and His desire to give children the opportunity to know Him through Christ-centered mentors. Through this internship, I also have learned so much. I have seen the power of Jesus in the lives of students through mentors. I have seen the beauty of community through going into the office each week. I have learned that loving Jesus changes our hearts for others to be more like his . I have learned what it looks like to be encouraged and supported by an incredible boss (a.k.a Hannah Hiemstra). I have cultivated a passion for mentorship as I have seen it transform my life and the lives of many others. I have seen the love of Jesus through so many.  It has been such an incredible journey and I am so thankful that Jesus showed me that his ways were and are so much better than anything of mine. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Summit Worship Night 2014

Most Ozone special events come with flashing lights, lots of energy, many games, slices of pizza, and a crazy Camp War Eagle experience.  But, because we’re Camp War Eagle, we like to change it up once in a while! Once a year we bring our high school students together for a more low-key, mellow event with dim lights, a focused energy and a home made meal. Worship Night is an event held for those students who want to know God in a more intimate way, through worshiping with their voice, heart, and soul.
Worship has been something that many students in all cities have asked directors to incorporate more into Ozone. However, with the hour and a half packed schedule of a typical Ozone, the requested style of worship is something that often won’t fit into the night. However, we do listen to our students’ requests and see the importance of worshiping our Lord!  Rogers High School student Hisleny Garcia says that she loves worshiping God through song because, “I can connect with the words of the song and I can feel God’s presence in me.”
We at Camp War Eagle value worship because it is a time to put God at the center of our lives, and focus on the one who is all Powerful. Psalm 86:9,10 says this:
All nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
Because God is so great and deserves much praise, we enjoy this time of year that we get to come alongside our students and focus on worshiping our God.  Rogers Summit attendee Julia Holden enjoys worship because “I can connect with the Holy Spirit and focus on Him alone.”

Ozone is a place where students from all walks, wisdom, and knowledge can come and share in one thing- Christ. Although we are unable to share in corporate worship like this during the majority of the year at Ozone, Worship Night is a time students from all four cities can gather and worship God together, sharing in fellowship, a meal, worship, prayer, and fun.