Alan Rogstad, Executive Director: PNW Camping and Retreat Ministries
I have been blessed to work in full-time Camp Ministry for 27 years now. I’ve been asked many times how did I get into Camping as a career? It’s true that camp directing has never made the Forbes list of fastest growing career opportunities! I often step back and ponder this question myself. But it really isn’t such a strange thing when you think about it. As a mentor of mine said in his book A Common Book of Camping,
“Camping is uniquely American. Developed within the past century, it is the Unites States’ major contribution to the the field of education. The models of experiential learning, participatory democracy, and small group work, hot topics in public schools these days, are things we’ve been doing at camps for years.”
Indeed, these things we do at camp are my passion. I could have worked in recreation, business, or some other type of church work, but camp is all of these things and more wrapped into one amazing and unique experience. Further, Christian Camping adds a whole new dimension. It is like camp in color vs. black & white. Camp that focuses on Christian community and discipleship makes the experience come alive in a special and profound way. This is the power of faith-based camps. Once I realized camps had directors, administrators, and full-time year-round staff working behind the scenes, I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. I was hooked!
So how did I stumble on a camp career? First, I knew I loved it from my early experiences attending Boy Scout camp. Second, I stuck with it and worked in as many camp jobs as I could (it is amazing what can happen when you stick with something long enough!). Finally, the most important advice given to me was to learn all I could about camps of all kinds, not just the church camps I worked at early on or went to growing up. To make a career of camping, you have to discern whether you are truly in love with camping, not just the camp of your experience (Of course it is great to love even just one camp!).
Without camps we would lose one of the most important but also underappreciated parts of our American experience and culture. Not everyone loves camp, but lots of people have a camp story to share. It is a common experience that binds many of us together.
Christmas Blessings, and prayers for a wonderful New Year from our PNW Camps.
We hope to see you at Indianola, Ocean Park, Lazy F, and Twinlow Camps in 2017!