At Summer Camp I Learned Where My Voice Came From

At summer camp I learned where my voice comes from. I started coming to Eagle Lake Camps as a REZ(ident) camper when I was 11. In high school I did the Crew Program. Two years ago I came back as a REZ(ident) counselor.  Last summer I got to be a REZ(ident) Program Coach and will be returning next summer to do the same. That adds up to a good 10 years to see myself grow up with the backdrop of the blob and the sounds of camp songs.


Tali and Camper making a face


The Tali who entered camp for the first time was so very different from the Tali who exists now, and a big part of that change took place at camp.  Because of camp, I found out where my voice comes from.

What I mean by that is that much of growing up for me involved a lie that I didn’t have much of a voice – shyness and timidity made me feel like hiding. It was hard for me to see myself as social or capable of boldness.  I didn’t think I could be “that” person who could talk freely, make friends, or be known.  In elementary school, I was known as “shy and nice” and my default mode was to assume everyone else was cooler, smarter, or more fun than me.



How grateful am I, though, that faith in our loving God contains the power to make us the most we can be. The beauty of my experience is that there’s a clear difference between the shy, quiet Tali that first entered camp in 2009, and the Tali that gets to speak into a microphone in front of a T-Dome full of kids in 2019 and gets to make friendships of a depth I hadn’t known possible.  More than that, I can see my voice in being a person called into being a communicator through words, art and people.  The difference is undoubtedly Jesus.

My first time at Eagle Lake was when I was 11 and my friend Corinne convinced me to come along.  My parents drove me up and I remember wanting to hide under the car seat from the crazy counselors welcoming us through the spirit tunnel.  My friend and I were placed in Buttercup, and our counselors wrote the theme verse in Expo marker on the back window, out of which you could see the pre-Waldo Canyon Fire(2012) green pines and cross.

It took me a hot second to adjust to camp life, but after a bit I felt freer than I ever had. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what the difference was until I sat with my counselor on Wednesday on the big boulder by the camp store and asked her about what this difference was, talking about how much I had lived afraid of so much, especially of God.  She discussed with me the reality of Jesus loving me, and that this was the real love that everyone at camp had been talking about. This concept had been conjectured to me in many ways previously, but in that moment looking out over the lake, I could sense something simply more alive about the place.  That love was being lived out all around me.  Sitting on that rock, I prayed with her and genuinely made the decision that my life was for Jesus for the first time.  It was simple, but I have never been the same.

That day, walking back down to the lake for the rest of free time, I remember the feeling of a weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  Joy entered my life in a way that was completely transformative.  That week at Eagle Lake, this verse began to spin into motion in my life:

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

-2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV

This fanning into flame started that week, but I had a long way to go.  It took me a while to figure out that God wasn’t just at camp, but that he was so present in my life down the mountain as well.  This truth became clearer as my other counselor also prayed for two best friends for me when I entered middle school – that prayer being precisely what happened.  The friends I met back home knew the Lord, helped me hold onto my faith, and have been there consistently through middle school, high school, and college, through deep pain and great joy.  I would later return to Eagle Lake with them as campers and then as counselors.


Counselors Dancing


God not only showed me my voice then, but also over time a passion for encouraging voice in others.  There’s a Madeline L’Engle quote I love that reflects this transformation for me:

“We have to be braver than what we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love”.

I can see this breaking down of my defenses as the Lord continued to draw me back to Eagle Lake.  I never would have guessed that I’d come back as many summers as I have, but it has felt so natural to return and grow in my walk with God and the voice he’s given me.  My camp summers give me a vivid picture of the transformation – memories of moments I spent growing up tucked in the mountains, whether sweeping the Upper-D in Crew, leading “warm and fuzzies” with my campers as a counselor, or busting the doors open for camper rally as a P.C..  They have allowed me to see that all along, the Lord has been giving me a voice.


Leaders Leading a rally


Timidity once overruled my voice, but at camp I found Jesus, and in my time I have also found boldness in that.  Camp to me is the backdrop for realizing that I can give and receive love, and that all of this aliveness comes from faith.  When I think of camp, I think of the quiet times with God sitting around the misty lake, the first time I ever really danced and not cared, long talks with incredible, Christlike people, hikes among wildflowers, and vividly seeking God’s faithfulness.

From meeting Jesus as a camper in 2009 to approaching my second summer back as a Program Coach in 2019, the Lord has shown me such steadfastness in leading me out of timidity and into the reality of who I am – someone he’s made and filled with passion, given a voice and the daily opportunity to choose to live fully in Him.


Painting of Overnight Camps

Tali also happens to be a very talented artist. If you’ve been to our overnight property the past two years, there’s a good chance she made a decoration you saw on your way in and around camp!


Camp Was Never About Camp

Camp was never about camp.

Three summers at Eagle Lake Camps. (That’s 36 first weeks, if anyone is counting.) Upon arriving to an unfamiliar place with few familiar faces, my program director confronted our staff with a simple question: “Why are you here?” I thought I knew why I was at camp. I loved Jesus, and I wanted to give of myself to help high school students know him. However, in the coming weeks, months, and years, God answered that question in many palpable and unforeseen ways; He would show me not only the “why” of camp, but also the “why” of everything. He was showing me that His glory – and not mine – was the “why” of all things.

In the weeks before our campers arrived for my very first first week, I remember having a TAWG (time alone with God) at Glen Eyrie with the rest of the Eagle Lake staff. Knowing that I was about to have the chance to love 60 high school students for the Gospel was so electrifying; honestly, I was merely 12 months removed from high school at the time, and my ridiculous sense of humor had already come up with a handful of absurd ideas to help me get to know these kids. I had plans to shave my legs in exchange for memorized Bible verses, eat pounds and pounds of cheeseballs, and play golf with tennis balls around the camp property.


Crew Camper Bible study 2015


Crew Staff after putting the blob in the lake


Crew Camper side hugs Crew Counselor


In the stillness of my time alone with the Lord, though, He very subtly gave me a new plan for that summer. In Galatians 1:10, Paul says “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Lingering over this verse was the beginning of a long, challenging, liberating lesson from the Father: What “why” do I live my life from? What is my deepest purpose? Am I more concerned with the temporal, or with the eternal? Will I abandon me for Jesus, or not? Jesus had begun to teach me what it meant to be his disciple, and it meant less of me, and more of him. I loved pleasing people. I loved the approval of men. I loved me. But would I love the satisfaction of intimacy with Christ more? God was going to show me the joy of losing my life for Christ’s sake, and in doing so, finding my life in abundance. He was showing me the “why!”

Throughout the rest of that summer, and the two more to follow, Jesus continued to make clear to me how to find joy, life, and peace. I needed to find myself in the Gospel, and nothing else. Camp is a place that forces us to consider where our treasure is. In my case, I searched for validation and identity in the opinions of others. How hollow are those things compared to the love of the Father! This is one of the great truths about being a child of God: We don’t just let go of our lives for the sake of letting them go. We lose them so that we can find them! We deny our selfish, sinful desires for something so much better, and so much more satisfying – Jesus, the bread of life. Jesus himself makes it clear in John 15. After imploring his disciples to abide in his love before anything else, he tells them why: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Studying these words early on in my first summer at camp helped me to realize all the more the big “why.” Jesus is better than the world. He gives life that is worth losing everything for.

Basketball team picture at Eagle Lake


Staff members posing for an epic team picture


Crew Leadership and a camper from 2016


When I think about my time at camp, I quickly recall so many memories of laughter, fun, friendships and conversations that I will never forget. However, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about camp really has nothing to do with camp. I think about how God taught me, through His Spirit, His Word, and His people that His love and His glory are the only things that carry meaning. He taught me to think like John the Baptist and say, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is the “why,” and it’s a simple thing! The love of God in Christ Jesus is the greatest joy we could ever find, and God is most glorified when we embrace this joy. It’s a funny thing that God would teach these sorts of lessons at a summer camp in the Colorado mountains, but I’m so grateful that he did. Because of the work of God in my life at Eagle Lake, I agree with David in Psalm 63: “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”


Crew Staff 2016


Crew Male Staff 2017


Crew Friends hugging.


Not sure how to spend your next summer? Apply to be an Eagle Lake Camp Counselor and work with people like Lucas.

At Camp and Anywhere: God Values Me, I Can Rely on Him.

God loves me, God loves me. This is real. This is not just something people talk about. God has real affection for his children. God has real affection for me.

The first time I stepped foot at Eagle Lake was in 2014 when I arrived to be a camper on the Crew program. As I was put into the camp environment, one built on community,  loving each other and learning who God is, I began to grow. I began to discover through God’s Word who He is for the very first time. I remember reading Matthew 6:26, which says “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” I remember my counselor, Hannah, personally seeking me out and through her actions God showed me I was valuable. I was of enough value for Hannah to seek me out even though she didn’t know me and I was of enough value for God to seek me out although he knew every part of me. This was the first time a person had gone out of their way to walk towards me.


Celebrating a counselor's birthday


That summer I spent as a camper was crucial in introducing me to people that have a real passion for God, God’s word, and were innately enthusiastic about both. Outside of Eagle Lake I’ve met only on rare occasion people that show as much passion and enthusiasm for knowing and loving Christ, but I do know they are out there somewhere.

Since the summer of 2014 I have spent two years on staff with Eagle Lake Camps. This last summer was a big lesson on what it truly looks like and feels like to rely on God. A little over halfway through the summer, I hit my head and acquired a concussion. During this time, I was in charge of the work crew that runs the camp store, meeting with my campers, and leading Bible study. I wish I could tell you story after story of what happened the second half of the summer, but I don’t remember much of the one-on-one’s I had or what each day entailed. What I do remember is feeling incapable. I remember feeling incapable, being incapable, and relying on God. I remember God making me capable. This came after trying to do what I could normally do and it being less than what I desired.

I’ve come further in relying on God, but honestly I am still learning this lesson. I think I tend to just forget who God has shown himself to me to be. In those moments I become self-reliant again. It’s easy to get into the mindset of “I have to do all these things and be a certain kind of person.” I subject myself to my own thoughts instead of God’s truths. I want to do things well, but sometimes I get stuck in my head and start worrying about the things I need to do instead of doing them. I start thinking about my capabilities and incapability’s instead of giving them to my God who loves me fully and is fully trustworthy for me to rely on.


Camp Counselor and her Bible Study

Campers at Banquet


I am often reminded of the verse that follows Matthew 6:26: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  I know that God is working and doing things in my life, but I maybe don’t trust that he’s always the one who will make them happen and I worry about how new things will come about or how I will get from point a to point b.

At camp this last summer I so deeply wanted the campers entrusted to me to feel love the way I felt loved and sought after when I was camper. I felt the Lord stop me daily and remind me that while He did bring me here to love these people, it is HIS love in me that makes campers feel loved and sought after.


Counselor and Camper on beachday


This is true in my daily life. He is reminding me who He is even now. Telling me he has affection for his kids and continues to seek us out forever. Telling me He loves me, He loves me. Asking for me to rely on Him and trust Him. Telling me all my value is all from Him and through Him.

One other verse that has been a theme during my time at camp is Philippians 1:6: “And I am certain that God who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” As I walk through worries now, I cling to this verse knowing His work in me never stops. I am excited to be coming back to Eagle Lake this next summer confident of this promise.


Life on life discipleship


Want your child to be a camper like Meghan was? Visit our 2019 Brochure to find the program they belong at!

Like this post and want more resources on where value comes from? Check out this article from Desiring God: “Reflections on the Concept of Self-Worth”  

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At Summer Camp, We Go To Church

Shortly after moving to Colorado, at some point during the well-balanced state of awkwardness and juvenile arrogance deemed the “middle school era”, I started going to the Church. I’m not talking about church we typically imagine, attend on Sunday, and reference.

I showed up at the foundational, unblemished definition of the Church often not recognized by the regular church-going society. This Church was not hidden to me despite of its location locked away in a well preserved (by multiple definitions) portion of a pine forest in the always breath taking Rocky Mountains. I found Church at Eagle Lake Camps.

Day Camp Crew Stands in from of Van

This “version” of Church has been around for a long time and quite realistically may be an everyday part of Christian culture. This definition of the Church is often entangled within our daily lives and is made up of the people around us whether we are aware of it or not.

Now what is special about this Church is not only the natural beauty and the wooden architecture that surround it, but rather the Christ-centered social foundation. This biblical, Christ-like community is not strategically made by perfect people but is assembled by obedient Christ followers that desire to see generations come to Christ. The community that belongs to this Church may not even realize how well they resemble the “early (foundational) church” dialogued in Acts.

I did not realize I was attending this Church when I was a camper. In fact, it was not until I later when began working for Eagle Lake Camps that I looked around at the congregation and recognized it for what it was. The authenticity of Eagle Lake made church feel much more like a second home or a place of refuge. The beauty of this Church is that it could never be created by mankind but could only be intricately designed by the creator of the universe and facilitated by His disciples.

Camp Counselor and his bible studyCamp leadership sitting down

Eagle lake is a community that ultimately focuses on elements that push individuals within the community towards Christ, daily. 

  “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity” Acts 2:46 

Eagle lake is a community that focuses on growth facilitated by biblical teaching, life on life ministry, and submission to the Lord.

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

Eagle lake is a community that is eternally focused and puts the needs of others at the forefront. 

“They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” Acts 2:45
Gone fishing

The Church is a community of broken people that come together with a common goal of pushing one another towards an individual intimacy with Christ. The Church is more than where we spend most Sunday mornings; Church is an environment that cultivates growth, indiscriminately. Church is not a place that glorifies the attendee but rather a place for mankind to come together and humbly worship God. 

Church was never meant to be confined.

Let us allow Christ’s teachings to be the model for our everyday lives.

Because Christ was never meant to be confined.

Smiling on the camp beach



At Summer Camp I Learned God and His People are the Most Important

Eagle Lake was not my initial choice for the summer, but thank God it was my final choice. As I was going through my sophomore year of college at CSU, I assumed I would get an internship relating to my degree or go back home to see family and make money, but man was I wrong. After certain doors were closed and I realized that I truly wanted to do something life-giving and purposeful with my summer, it became clear that Eagle Lake was what I wanted. Heading up to camp was nerve racking as there were many people I didn’t know and honestly, I had no clue what the summer was going to look like. I remember at the beginning of orientation I found myself having some doubts about my decision. Doubts on if camp was right for me. Doubts on if I would make friends. Doubts on if God would actually impact my life. Little did I know that spending my summer at Eagle Lake would be one of the best decisions of my life.


Camp Counselor and campers dress up for CRAZY night, a fun dance party.


At Eagle Lake I learned so many life lessons and but most importantly I learned what truly matters in this life: my relationship with God and the people around me. Camp was such an incredible opportunity for me to spend the entire summer centering my life on the gospel. Ever since high school I have heard the gospel, studied it, and tried to practice it as best as I could, but it wasn’t until camp that I saw my life completely centered around it. My job was to show the gospel to kids in the midst of fun outdoor experiences, one on one conversations, daily Bible studies, and how we treat others. By doing these things every day, it hit me that I would be learning more and more about this good news I was teaching while working at Eagle Lake. At camp I got to be continually reminded of the simple gospel that says Jesus took on the death that I deserved so I can have abundant life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). I have always had some type of distraction in my life, whether it was school, sports or simply busyness, and while these are good things, nothing will ever be as important as my personal relationship with God. Camp was the first time in my life where I had the chance to get away from all the craziness of life and truly abide in my personal relationship with the Father.


This summer also taught me just how important my relationships with people around me are. One of my biggest fears going into camp was the idea of not making good friends and having to do the summer on my own, but God continued to show his faithfulness by giving me some of the greatest friends I could ever ask for. Everyone is so real and down to earth at camp, to the point that being fake isn’t even an option.  It’s this genuine character that makes the friendships even more real. Being in charge of 7 kids each week also taught me how important it was to be relational and invested in their lives. A kid isn’t going to care about your knowledge of the Bible, or any sort of advice, if you don’t show them you genuinely care about them first. Going through 1 John this summer taught me that the sole reason I can know what love looks like is because God loves us first. He’s the one who defines that word and He’s the one that gives us the ability to love others. Never in my life have I been in a place where each person cares so much for the people around them. It’s easy to know what love looks like when you see it lived out in every person you encounter. I learned that in order to love those around me, whether it is my campers, fellow counselors, or staff members, I have to look at the ways God shows his love to me first.



For the (REZ)ident program at Eagle Lake, each counselor is given a skill or activity to run during free time. This summer I was lucky enough to get to work the zipline! My job consisted of working the brake system at the end of the ride to ensure the kids landed and got off the zipline safely. While the zipline is one of the most exciting parts of camp, it is also one the scariest parts for a lot of kids. Standing at the top of the zipline, looking down at the lake, and overseeing the incredible property is one of my favorite views at camp, but you also realize how big of a ride it is. It brought me so much joy whenever I asked the kids how their ride was after I caught them at the bottom and heard the same story every time. “I was so scared at the top, but once I decided to jump, I HAD SO MUCH FUN!” I loved getting to see the kids put their trust in the zippy crew and take that leap of faith over the lake. Going to camp was the same way for me. When I was signed up for Eagle Lake, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into. I was nervous about a lot of things and knew it was a big leap of faith committing my whole summer to this place, but I can say without a doubt in my mind that this was the most fun, rewarding, and impactful summer of my life. God calls every one of us to take a leap of faith and trust in His plan for our life. This summer I learned that God and His people are the most important things in my life, and for that, I am thankful.


Counselor is riding the Zipline!


Loved this post? Check out the JOBS page on our 2019 brochure to watch videos from other ELC counselors!

At Summer Camp I Learned How to Disciple and Be Discipled

For the past two summers (2017, 2018) I have worked as a camp counselor for Eagle Lake Camps, first as a Day Camp On-Location counselor, then as a (REZ)ident counselor. When I step back and reflect on both of these sweet summers, I am always in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I remember when I first drove up the very long and winding Rampart Range Road that led to camp for staff orientation. I knew no one and had no idea what to expect. When my parents dropped me off, I remember thinking I was in way over my head and did not know what I was doing. Thankfully, God knew exactly what He was doing.

There is something so unique and valuable about having the opportunity to strip everything away and simply focus on the Lord and how you can show Him to others. That is exactly what a summer with Eagle Lake looks like. It is literally your job to dive into the Word with your staff and share the gospel with kids (all while getting a pretty rad Chaco tan, might I add.) Perhaps one of the biggest things that I have taken away from camp is how to pour into others through life-on-life discipleship. My time at camp has redefined how I can serve and disciple others. I learned that showing others the love of Christ does not always have to mean grand gestures; it can be as simple as taking an interest in their interests or just taking the time to really listen to them and pray with them. Meeting people where they are at does not always mean jumping over mountains—it’s about being intentional in the little things. I’ve gotten to do this not only with many campers of different ages, but with fellow staff and leadership who I got to pray with and encourage on a daily basis. I still stay in contact with many friends that I met through camp even to this day, because friendships that are rooted in Christ are life-long, no matter how many states you are away from each other.

Camp Friends are the Best FriendsEagle Lake Camps and Counselors on Day Camp On-Location

Another lesson that God has taught me through camp is what it means to truly abide in Him for all things. At camp there were many times where I was tired and overwhelmed, and the Lord showed me how to rely on Him for strength and guidance. Even on days when I was worn out, the Lord carried me through and used me for His glory. I also learned that part of abiding in Him meant living intentionally with the community that I was doing life with and allowing them to help me abide in the Lord. My pride often gets in the way of asking for help or being vulnerable, and because of this I tend to want carry things on my own. At camp I truly learned the importance of having a spiritual community. I learned not only the importance of pouring into others, but allowing others to pour into me as well. Discipleship is the heart of Eagle Lake and something they teach and demonstrate so well.

Needless to say, my time at camp has impacted my life for the better. The things you learn and live out at camp don’t just stay at camp—they follow you for the rest of your life. I’ve been able to carry the things that I have learned at camp into how I serve at my home church, community, and school. Following God usually means leaping out of your comfort zone, but every time it is oh so worth it!

Camp Counselors dress up as a giraffe, farmer, storm trooper, and Pokemon.




Summer of 1972 Changed My Life

In the summer of 1972, I was a fresh-faced high school graduate from Grace Bible College Preparatory School in San Antonio, Texas. I had become a believer in 1968 while working at a YMCA summer camp, and had been exposed to solid Bible teaching during my last two years of high school. I was planning to matriculate at the King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, New York, where I was going to play basketball and experience winters where it snowed.

When I was offered a chance to work at the Navigators’ Eagle Lake Boy’s Camp, it seemed like a natural fit for me since I had three year’s experience working at summer camps; but Eagle Lake Camps turned out to be much more than a summer job. It was a life-changing experience.

I went to Colorado Springs with five guys on a Nav team from Southwest Texas State University who were all working at Eagle Lake that summer. All of them were 3-4 years older than I was, and a couple of them were in college after serving in the military. They were more mature and more experienced than I, and they were a close group of friends who took me under their wing during our training at Glen Eyrie. Four of us drove non-stop from San Antonio to Colorado Springs, and I learned to drive a manual, on the way. (Needless to say, the other guy in the car I was driving didn’t get much sleep as I ground through the gears and stutter-started through intersections…) They good-naturedly called me “High-school Harry”, and were not shy about helping me to get engaged in the spiritual disciplines with which they were already so comfortable.

There were so many life-changing things that happened during the summer of 1972 that it’s impossible to list them all, but here are a few:

I thought I knew a lot about the Bible, but life at Eagle Lake taught me how to apply it to my life. I was surrounded by dedicated men who were intentional about their Christian lives, and who were transparent and honest about issues men faced. We had daily themes, such as “I will live each day as if it were my last”, and we claimed Scripture for not just educational but also motivational purposes. As we studied the life of Gideon, my Blackfoot teepee (not yet cabin) would call out, “The sword of the Lord, and Gideon! And Blackfoot!” We had Navigator leaders like Lorne Sanny and LeRoy Eims come out to camp at 5:45 am to lead our staff Bible Studies, and I was exposed to principles of discipleship and walking with God. The atmosphere among our team was one of consistent, friendly exhortation that was both challenging and encouraging. And camp? Camp was AWESOME! We shared both life and spiritual truths with the boys in our teepees, who went home not just with a great camp experience, but with knowledge from God’s word that was interesting and eternal.

I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of my co-workers. They were not holier-than-thou do-gooders, they were honest men who shared the gritty reality of spiritual warfare, who embraced accountability, and who lived full Christian lives while encouraging others around them to do the same. They had fun. We memorized verses together. We worked on eliminating cussing from our vocabulary. Men like Bob Magistrelli (Magi), Danny Woolridge and Dave Sneller didn’t just talk the talk. They walked the walk. I still remember being on a day off and stopping to help a guy change a tire. While two of us changed the tire, our friend Jerry shared Jesus with the driver of the other car, telling him that we helped people not because we were nice but because of Jesus. The Nav team from SwTSU became close friends who challenged me to be more committed, and their example motivated me to evaluate where I was going with my life, which leads to my final point:

As a result of all I learned at Eagle Lake, I decided to join the Navigator team at Southwest Texas State that fall (instead of going to New York). I applied late (after the deadline) and was accepted anyway. As a team member, I entered college that fall with built-in accountability and a commitment to ministry on a campus that was one of the top party schools in the nation. Dave Sneller, Randy Dietz, Tom Ledbetter and Bill Henry continued to challenge me in my Christian walk. We did work projects together on weekends, played intramural sports together, and shared the Gospel in the dorms and on campus. One of the team rules was no dating, which was probably the hardest. (The girls at the Baptist Student Union called us “The Never-Daters“.) It seems radical today, but it was actually a very fun part of my life that was simple and focused.

Eagle Lake 1970s

The summer of 1972 at Eagle Lake is still one of my favorite summers ever. I still remember how shockingly cold the water is, the crisp mountain mornings, the outdoor plumbing, and the reward of a beautiful view after a strenuous climb. And I still remember LeRoy Eims holding up two pens, and tossing one across the circle to someone before asking, “Which one of these pens am I more likely to use?” Everyone said, “The one in your hand”. He said, “That’s right. It is logical that I would use the ONE WHICH IS CLOSEST TO ME. God is like that. When He wants to use someone, He will pick those who ARE CLOSEST TO HIM.” At eighteen, that stuck with me, and I wanted to be the guy who was close to God. I have had my ups and downs, but it’s still true and I still remember it, thanks to that amazing summer at Eagle Lake Camps. I hope you remember it too.



Now, Bo Jackson is writing daily devotionals on and has published 3 devotional books: “Beggar’s Bread“; “Slaying Giants: Thirty days with David”; and the brand-new, “Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty one Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story”.

At Summer Camp I Learned To Meet People Where They Are At.

When I decided to go to work at camp last summer (2018) I thought nothing of it. I had applied to be a Rezident Camp Counselor, spending days in the mountains while ministering to kids. I thought it would just be another summer. Little did I know God had BIG plans for me. Driving to camp I was so nervous!  I didn’t know what to expect: it was a new place, and I didn’t really know anyone there.  When I got there one of the Program Coaches, Tali, introduced herself to me and we started talking for a while. As it turned out, we had a lot in common! Before long I had a friend and someone who would field ALL of my questions.

Camp Counselors hug in front of Eagle Lake.

Summer at camp was full of new people and new places.  I was working with peers I never would have met and pouring into kids I never thought I would know, but in all this I learned a valuable lesson.  I learned to meet people where they are at. Not only campers, but anyone and everyone. Sometimes it meant painting rocks at the A-Frame or paddle boarding on the lake or going down the zip-line or even sitting together and talking about hard questions and difficult things.  Coming into the summer, this was something that scared me.  What if I wasn’t liked? What if we couldn’t relate? What if I didn’t have the right answers? But as camp went on the Lord provided me opportunities to learn what it means to meet people where they are at.Camp Counselor and camper go paddle boarding and pose for a picture!

One thing that Eagle Lake encourages is life-on-life discipleship, which often translates to meeting with campers one-on-one where each camper gets to spend time with their counselor and do something fun and unique. These turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the week and some of my most memorable one-on-ones happened with campers I never thought I could relate to.  As I sat there on each one-on-one, I learned to be present and just listen. Soon enough, our conversations blossomed and by the end of my time with each camper, I had learned something new about them and we were friends!  After spending time with each camper it was amazing to see the ways they would grow over the course of the week.  Everyone grew differently.  Some learned about confidence and stepped out of their comfort zone to try something new and others took BIG steps in their faith and learned something new about God. That is why I love one-on-ones, because I knew that whatever growth I saw in them was NOT because of me.  Only the Lord can do those crazy things and I would never have been able to plan or orchestrate anything that spectacular. I was able to meet campers where they were at and show them the love of Jesus and then sit back and watch the ways the God moved in their lives, even in the course of a short week. 

In our staff Bible study this summer, led by Tali, we talked about abiding in God and the fruits that come with that.  In John 15:4 Jesus says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  At camp I could have stayed in the mindset of ‘what if’s’ and stayed in my comfort zone. Instead I took the step of faith out of it and leaned into what God had prepared for me there.  The Lord met me where I was at in my fear and hesitation. He gave me courage and He taught me so much about his faithfulness and how He provides in ways I could never imagine.  Camp forces you outside your comfort zone and pushes you to do things you never thought you could.  I didn’t think I could be a good counselor and I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did. But God does crazy things, and while you don’t have to be at camp to experience that, it’s a cool place to see him work.

Camp Counselors play messy games at Shock week.Camp Counselors pose with flowers in front of Thunder Dome.Camp Counselors hike to the Cross at Eagle Lake Camps.Camp Counselor participates in throw-ins!

Had it not been for Tali walking up to me and introducing herself, the first few days, and even the later hours of camp would have been SO MUCH HARDER.  Just knowing someone, even a little, in a new, scary place meant the world to me.  I learned so much about what it means to meet people where they are at and I still get to learn about it even now that I am back at school. I get to meet my friends and strangers where they’re at and show them the love of Jesus regardless of their situation. It’s still scary but Lord has taught me the value of sitting and listing to someone’s story, because each one is important!

At Summer Camp I Learned How To Love and Be Loved.

Ten days. That is how long I thought about exactly what I wanted to communicate in this blog post, and how long I considered what Eagle Lake has meant to me over the past three summers. I have learned so much about myself, about God and about relationships that I decided it is impossible to squeeze into a few paragraphs or even a few pages all that I have learned and all that I will carry with me. In order to be concise, I have decided to tell three stories. One from each summer that I worked at Eagle Lake, each story containing a huge lesson that I walked away with.

Rez Counselor gets thrown in the lakeCamp Counselors laugh on their hike to the Cross.Camp Counselor and Camper strike a pose on the LawnEagle Lake Camp Counselors dressed up to celebrate the fourth of July

My first summer at Eagle Lake was as a REZ(ident) counselor in the summer of 2016. This story starts with dinner on Saturday night of our fifth first week. The fifth first week of the summer is a unique one, as it is when the American Diabetes Association comes up to our overnight property and utilizes our property and our staff to help run their own, secular camp. At dinner on Saturday night my co-counselor and I got the opportunity to meet our medical staff that would be helping us for the week. About half-way through the meal, one of our med staff casually mentioned that her daughter who is not diabetic would be joining our cabin for camp that week. Later in the conversation she mentioned that her 12-year-old daughter was actually just adopted from China three weeks earlier and spoke almost no English. At first, we really hit it off and her daughter seemed to like me. She started teaching me how to say some words and phrases in Mandarin, and I even taught her some English. However, the following day something shifted, and Lin* decided that we were no longer going to be friends and that actually, she decided that she hated me. I now know how to say, “I hate you” in Mandarin. As a chronic people pleaser, this ate at me. I was determined to fix whatever had been broken. I worked that week to love this girl by spending time with her, by learning Mandarin phrases and by trying to understand her and where she came from. All of my efforts were fruitless, and the week just seemed to get worse as the days passed by. No matter how many times I tried to tell Lin* with my words that I love her (in English as well as Mandarin) or show her with my actions that I loved her, it didn’t matter. Other campers would even tell her how much I loved her, and she still wouldn’t budge. As I reached the end of the week I was eager to get some much-needed rest. Sometimes loving people is hard and tiring.

This story does not stop when the week ended, however. During disorientation of the same summer we were doing the “Looking Forward” section, and all I could think about were a few people in my life who didn’t know the Lord and how mad I was at God for not chasing after them and not showing them how much He loved them like I thought He should. Then, as if I had run directly into a brick wall, God hit me with a question: “Do you remember Lin*?” I immediately thought: “Of course I remember, how could I ever forget?” And then, a reality check: “Do you not realize that I chase after your friends and family like you chased after Lin*, but I do it perfectly? Sometimes people have just made up their mind, and it takes more than one moment to change their heart.” I learned that I need to stop having such a hard heart towards God when it comes to pursuing the people who I love that do not know him. I had been blaming God for my friends not knowing Him. In that moment I recognized that He loves them more than I ever could and wants them to know him more than I ever will.

Rez Camp Leadership sings a song at Campfire

My second story doesn’t take place until the very end of my second summer at Eagle Lake and my first summer on leadership (2017). The tenth first week of camp is another unique one as it is the one week of the summer that REZ(ident) is overrun with high school students. This is one of the best weeks of the summer as a counselor and the single hardest week of the summer on leadership. I had been told that it would be difficult but couldn’t imagine how much that I would learn through the difficulty. On the first night of Shock week (Sunday night), I learned that we had a transgender camper, who had no idea that Eagle Lake was a Christian camp. On Tuesday, when campers were supposed to be playing capture the flag, I was walking up to the zipline with Amanda (one of the other leadership staff) to run zippy for Day Camp at Glen Eyrie, when we realized that this camper had packed up and was walking towards the gate. I started off towards the camper and Amanda went to inform our directors. I started running towards him and then stopped suddenly as I realized, I have absolutely no idea what to say to this camper. I prayed that God would give me words that I didn’t have. Eventually, I reached the camper and simply asked: “What are you doing?” He responded with: “I’m walking home.” For a while we just walked and talked and at one point, I thought that I might end up walking to Colorado Springs, because I had no idea how I was going to get him to turn around and come back to camp.

Finally, our Overnight Camps Director drove up in his truck and offered to let us sit and talk for a while in his truck bed and take a break from walking. Eventually, the camper ended up sitting down with me. At first, he didn’t say much, but after a while he opened up and walked me through the most heartbreaking story that I have ever heard, and I realized my responsibility was simply to love this child. My responsibility was not to change him, or make him love Jesus. It was simply to love him for who he is. I don’t remember much of what I said, and he ended up going home anyways (we drove him), but I was able to spend the next four hours loving this camper who told me he didn’t deserve love. He also asked some of the most difficult questions that I have ever been asked. My prayer was answered, and the Holy Spirit took over and filled me with words that I didn’t have. This was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, because I knew that I could not have loved this camper on my own strength in the midst of a week that was already exhausting. This brought to light the reality of the broken world that we live in and how we as Christians have a responsibility to love those who are lost and broken. Though I gave him my contact info I never heard from him and have no idea what he is up to. The fact that this story doesn’t wrap up nicely and have a happily ever after is one of the biggest lessons that I learned from the whole ordeal: even in the grimmest of circumstances, we have to trust that God is good and that He knows what He is doing.

Camp Counselor and Campers pose outside cabin dressed up for banquet!


The final story takes place during this past summer (2018) and starts with five words: “I want to be baptized.” I spoke these words to my mentor and favorite person of all-time: Jen Heffentrager.  I had met her in my earlier years at camp and greatly enjoyed meeting with her throughout the summers. I had been baptized once when I was very young but had no idea what it meant to be baptized and had also walked away from the Lord between then and my time at camp. Being baptized again was not an idea that I had ever considered, and would have even told someone (and did tell people) that it is pointless to be re-baptized. So, when I started to really consider this idea, I knew that it couldn’t be my own so it had to be from God, and therefore required some real thought and consideration.

When I told Jen that I wanted to be baptized and that I wanted her to baptize me alongside my mom, she asked me why. I then explained to her how this thought had been put on my mind in November and I really felt like it was from the Lord. I also explained to her how I knew that baptism didn’t secure my salvation, but it was a public declaration of who I am, and I wanted it to serve as my promise to the Lord that I will never walk away again. After listening to me ramble on for a while, Jen decided that it was very important for me to truly understand baptism and its Biblical significance, so she tasked me with doing a word study on baptism and writing a conviction statement to verbalize what this public declaration means to me. Through this process of writing my conviction statement, I learned so much about what God asks of me as a follower of Him and ultimately found one verse to summarize my calling: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The reality of this verse and the reality of the sacrifice that the Lord made for me is the biggest lesson that I could ever walk away with and will forever transform me. That my life is not for me, but for the one who gave His life for me because He loves me.

Camp Counselor gets baptized in the lake.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). I am called a friend of Jesus and He loves me.

As I read my conviction statement on a very cold Sunday morning before going in the water, I reflected on the beauty of the community that God had blessed me with in a place that was once foreign and had quickly become like home, as well as the experiences that Eagle Lake had given me. Most importantly though, I realized that my walk with God continues beyond Eagle Lake. I am not baptized to a place or to any person, and that no matter where I am or what I do, the life that I live in the body I will live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

*Name Changed

At Summer Camp I Learned The Simple Gospel

Coming into the summer I did not know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to share the gospel with kids. Before camp I was working at an elementary school and so deeply wanted to tell them about the hope they could have in Christ, but I was not allowed to. My ears were full of stories about broken homes, split families, basic needs not being met; hard stories told through the mouths of my students. The biggest hope they can have is Jesus, but I could not tell them that. I just had to say it’s going to be okay, but I could never tell them why. I was looking forward to a summer of sitting down with the children like the ones in my classroom, looking them in the eye and saying “Life is hard but what we have hope for is Heaven and we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus to get us through hard things.” And that is exactly what I got to do. I also dressed up like a pirate, a lot. Here is our team:

Eagle Lake Camp counselors dressed as pirates preparing to welcome campers to a church property!

As I sat and shared the Gospel with kids during the summer, God moved in my own heart (no surprise). I knew that Jesus had died for me, that I was set free, but if I’m honest the list of “read your bible, don’t forget to pray, do the right thing” was on habitual repeat in my mind. As I watched other counselors share with campers again and again JUST HOW MUCH JESUS LOVES them, I realized I had been complicating the Gospel for myself. All of a sudden a switch flicked on in my mind. Something changed and I realized, “OH! This so much easier than I am making it out to be!” I began to believe the gospel in the simple way I wanted these kids to understand it.

Eagle Lake Camp Counselor helps camper jump on the Bungee Trampoline! Camp Counselor High Fives a Camper during free time at Day Camp On Location!

The highlight of my whole summer was a camper named Emily*. Have you ever seen someone and just immediately loved them? This happened when I saw Emily. The minute I saw her I thought, this girl HAS to be in my bible study group. We had a busy week, loads of campers, and normally we don’t request specific campers in our bible studies, but I sought our leadership team to see if was possible to move her into my group, they said yes, and I was ecstatic. Emily had down syndrome.

Emily* was so sweet and talked about how much she loved Jesus. Every day, she would tell each person in our group that she loved them. She would look at me and my co-leader and tell us she loved us. She didn’t just say it and move on, she would look us in the eye, say she loved us and mean it. She is a testament to how people with disabilities can perfectly understand and love Jesus. It was so beautiful to see Jesus at work in her life. People with disabilities get underestimated and pushed aside, but each of us are children of God’s and he wants us in his family and has a seat at His table for all. The gospel is simple for me, just like the gospel is simple for Emily*.

As I’m back in school and work I’m applying the lesson I learned at the beginning of the summer, believing the simple gospel. I serve the junior high students where I live and my goal now is: before I talk about reading the Bible to know Jesus, praying to know Jesus, or (God forbid) I say anything regarding that doing the right thing will bring you to Jesus… I’ve begun sharing the most important thing first: Jesus loves us right where we are at no matter what. I’ve learned that is the “why” behind everything in our relationship with Him.

*Name Changed