The summer of 2012 was the start of a journey Kaylyn Johnson never saw coming. Having been a camper at Camp Siloam prior to that year, Kaylyn arrived to Camp Siloam during the summer of 2012 to serve on the summer staff for her first time.
“I remember pulling under the arch at Camp Siloam with all sorts of emotions – excitement, nervous, nostalgic. I was finally fulfilling my dream of working at the camp I had loved attending when I was in youth. I pulled in and remember everyone jumping on my car and yelling with excitement welcoming me to camp. That’s when it hit me. I did not know a single person here. I knew faces from being in the staff group on Facebook, but I did not know any of these staff members jumping on my car well enough to strike up a conversation comfortably.
I went in and got my welcome packet, and then, was taken to the room I would be in for staff training. I remember coming back to be with the group of staff to welcome others. I was a super shy individual at that time. I hung back off by myself away from the rest of the group. The director’s wife came over and started to talk to me, but I was so shy and nervous that she seemed to have a difficult time keeping a conversation going with me just as much as I was having a hard time being an extrovert for the moment.
Later that night, I called my mom crying because I did not think I would be able to make it the whole summer as shy as I was. After I finished my talk with her, I prayed.
I prayed that God would give me boldness to step out of my shell. I prayed that He would send me just one person on staff to be friends with and that I could be comfortable talking to.
Each week of summer, on the Thursday or Friday of camp, we ask the campers to take a minute at either breakfast or lunch to fill out comment cards, explaining to us what they liked, what they didn’t like, if there is something we can do better, something we can change, etc.
One of our favorite parts is going back and reading these comment cards. The stories that are shared are most times heart warming. Other times, they may be heart breaking. Either way, these stories and testimonies that the campers share are so beautiful because they are simply so pure and genuine.
Check out this short story from a camper from a couple summers ago. Read More »
The land of a million smiles, I know I did more than smile while at camp last summer! I smiled, laughed, cried, everything else. It was the most amazing experience ever, and I want to experience it again! That one week, was the best week of my life! I was the happiest I’ve ever been. The connection I had with God while at camp was indescribable. I was so close to God, I felt like I could touch Him.
I recommitted my life to God while at camp last summer, I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had while ringing that bell. I do remember tears falling down my cheek at the name of Jesus. Read More »
Sometimes we do things that we may not necessarily want to do. In the end, we are amazed at what the result may be.
Jessica Coleman, a junior at Mississippi University, had attended Camp Siloam before, but only as a camper. This past summer, she stepped out of her comfort zone and experienced Camp Siloam as a summer staffer.
“Working at Camp Siloam was something that I never thought I would do in a million years. I went to Camp Siloam as a camper, but I never wanted to work there because it looked like a hard and sweaty job, and that’s not something I was interested in. I met one of the staffers, Mallory, a couple of years ago at camp and we got to know each other quite a bit because we went to the same school. Long story short, Mallory talked to me one day in the hallway of our dorm about working at camp and I was pretty closed to the idea.”
Chase Evans, a student at ASU, shared a story from camp this past summer explaining how God taught him about the impact that genuine love and caring has on people.
Here’s what Chase had to say!
“It was the fifth week of camp and it was a lower attendance week. As a cabin lead, that eliminates some of my responsibilities inside the bunkhouses, which gave me more time to really be intentional, spending more time outside with campers. I remember meeting a guy the first night of camp at the dinner table, he was a real big guy, bigger than I am (which is rare) and he was sitting by himself. So Kenneth (another staffer) and myself sat down next to him and started to engage him in small talk. It quickly became clear he was not happy to be at camp. His friends had pressured him into coming to this camp in Arkansas 8 hours away from his home in Texas and he just was really just wondering why he had come in the first place. I then noticed his cowboy boots and his shirt had the name of a cattle ranch on it. I immediately knew that I could connect with him for the rest of the week since I have a background of ranch-handing and doing similar things he loved to do.”
“You don’t have what it takes to make this happen,” said Russ Hodge, Principal of The Hodge Group. Russ was hired by Camp Siloam to coach Jason Wilkie, Executive Director, through the capital campaign for a new dining hall. “With the giving history of Camp Siloam you can’t raise the funds you need to construct what you envision for the camp.”
“But we need to feed 1,000 kids in an hour; 3,000 meals a day,”replied Wilkie. The current dining hall was the Masonic Lodge for Siloam Springs in 1923. Wilkie had been told by a structural engineer, a health inspector and the Fire Marshall that the building needed to be replaced. A comfortable dining hall that fit the architectural design of the camp was critical to the long range plan for the camp.
“If that is your goal, then you will need a transformative gift from outside of your network of people,”said Hodge. The staff had laid their long-range plans before the Lord and they felt their goal of $3.4 million was what was needed. So they began to pray. For 20 months the year-round staff of Camp Siloam asked the Lord to touch the hearts of someone who was not in their base of donors.Read More »
Have you ever wondered how powerful a simple prayer really is, even if it is for a complete stranger?
Christopher (Chris) LyBrand, a student at ASU, worked at Camp Siloam this past summer. Chris shared with us his absolute, favorite story from the summer which involved a simple prayer for a camper he knew nothing about. Read More »
In 2015, Seth Price was hired as a summer staffer for Camp Siloam. This year, summer 2016, he returned for a second summer, but this time he had the opportunity to bring his sister, Sarah along with him. How cool is that?
Here’s why Sarah decided to apply for a summer staff position at Camp Siloam this past summer:Read More »