One-camp model, two camp staffs, training together

June 01, 2022
By Alan Wild
In a first for Loucon and Aldersgate, summer staff from both camps trained together at Loucon the week of May 23-28 as plans continue for the first “normal” summer camp season in three years.

“Our camps have been living into a ‘one camp model’ for some time,” said Warren Hopper, Executive Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries and Director at Loucon.
“We've talked about joining our staff for portions of training before, but it just hasn't worked,” Hopper said. “This year it fit. We are training our staff in many of the same things, so it made sense to do that together. We also wanted our summer staff to recognize that the ministry they make happen is making an even larger impact for God's kingdom.”

After losing the summer of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, camp resumed in 2021 with many safety protocols in place. The two-month summer 2022 season will begin at both camps the week of June 5, operating pretty much as normal.

Haley Andes, who recently started as Director of Aldersgate, said a few practices adopted during the pandemic are being kept because they seemed to work better; at Aldersgate, dropping off the kids rather than having them gather with their parents in the chapel seemed to be both more efficient and minimized homesickness, so it’s being retained.

Campers will also be able to eat together in the dining lodges and won’t be separated by group like last year. Camp volunteers and deans are also back this summer.
“A lot of things are going back to the normalcy of what things at camp were like prior to COVID, which is good,” Andes said. 

Andes will have 11 summer staff at Aldersgate and Hopper will have 22 at Loucon. Both camps are budgeted for twice those numbers, but there is a nationwide shortage of summer camp staff, both directors said. “We are making some adjustments” and will follow American Camping Association guidelines to ensure proper supervision, Hopper said.

“Staffing has been a struggle,” he conceded. “We would love to recruit additional summer staff. However, we can do much of our work with campers utilizing some amazing volunteers. It is possible that we'll limit the size of some camps to ensure we have the proper coverage.”

“We will make it work,” Andes said.

Staff members from both camps are ready to get back to normal.

“I’m super excited,” said Greg Smithson, part of the year-round Program Staff at Loucon. Referring to the joint training, he said, “Seeing both camp staffs help and engage with each other is spiritually uplifting.”

“I think this summer is going to be great,” he added. “Both camps, the time our staffs have been together and how we meshed has been really cool to see.”
Bruce Rademaker and Emory Hinkle were relaxing between training sessions at Loucon. How do they feel about the upcoming summer?

“So excited!” said Rademaker, a University of Kentucky student and a Loucon summer staff member. Hinkle, a student at the University of Georgia, said she and Rademaker remember attending camp and how special it was.

During another break, Catherine Dalton, a University of Louisville student and first-year Aldersgate staff member, said she became a Christian five years ago. She talked about how important it is for newer Christians to experience camp and to be nurtured and loved on.

“This is the first year I get to pour into others in a way that’s memorable, and I’m really excited to do that.”

Both camps are looking for volunteer counselors to spend a week of their summer helping at camp. Room and board are provided. It’s also not too late to register boys and girls for summer camp; some scholarship assistance is available.

To get full details and to register, use the following links:  

View a gallery of photos of the training days for summer staff