How God uses Camp to Build Our Faithfulness

I have just had my one year anniversary of hearing about Eagle Lake. That’s right, Eagle Lake has only been a part of my life for a year and, boy, has my life changed! As I look back now, the only real reason I’m even writing this is because of God. It was purely a God-thing.

I learned about Eagle Lake during my last spring break in college. When I first signed up for the spring break trip with my Navs group, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I was just along for the ride, but it soon turned into something bigger. During the week, Eagle Lake came and spoke with us about being counselors during the summer. My initial thought was, “I’m graduating. I need a real job.” However, two days later, Sean McKelvey came to give us a devo and talked about his role as the Emerging Leaders Program Director. This SPARKED my interest! I thought the Emerging Leaders Program was so cool and immediately wanted to be a part of that.

Before I knew what I was doing, I applied to be a counselor for the On-Location Program and without even thinking about it, said “YES!” to spending my summer in Missouri. But I immediately became hesitant. I was graduating college, I had barely given any more thought to the Emerging Leaders Program, and I wasn’t excited for summer. I was putting pressure on myself to know God’s will even when it was clear that He didn’t want me to know it just yet. So, I went into summer with my head in the future.

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps

Camp quickly took me out of my head though. The hustle and bustle of being part of Eagle Lake’s Traveling Circus, I mean, On-Location Program, made it so that I was heavily relying on God. If I needed strength: God. If I needed patience: God. If I needed energy: God. If I needed grace: God. I learned that God works, and He sometimes works fast. He took me out of my head, and started to change my heart. Through all the busyness, God showed that where I was, was exactly where He needed me.

I think a lot about last summer and the campers that I had. But I always come back to my first, FIRST week with my camper Blake. My first week was a mega week, and I was so worried that I was screwing up camp. The kids were running wild, I wasn’t used to the heat, and I was so tired. But Blake was one of my saving graces. He was one of the reasons why I knew that no matter what would happen, the next nine weeks were going to be great and I would succeed as a counselor. I believe that God put him in my group that week for a reason. That reason was to show me that I wasn’t at camp to pass the time until I got a “real job”; I was at camp for God and His Kingdom.*

As I went through the rest of the summer, I gave everything to God – jobs, ELP, relationships, struggles, everything. I knew that He had me and that I just needed to be faithful for what He was having me do. After that, He’d show me where I needed to go. I can plan, but ultimately the Lord will establish my steps (Proverbs 16:9). And the great thing is, He ended up calling me to serve on ELP, and I get to spend another two summers serving Him in this fun and crazy and exciting way!

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps

*Disclaimer: Working for Eagle Lake, whether during summer, full time, or in ELP, is a real job. I learned so many skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life!


How God Uses Camp to Speak Tenderly to Our Hearts

I remember when I first drove up bumpy Rampart Range Road, my heart pounding. It was the sort of soul-splitting pound that happens only when the Lord calls me to show up and be bold. What I didn’t know in that moment when I arrived, Chacos on my feet and butterflies in my stomach, was that the Lord would use those mountains and the little hands that held mine as we hiked up and down them to entirely change the way I knew Him.

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


I discovered the book of Hosea my first summer during a quiet time. I spent hours pouring over its pages about redemption, rescue and grace. For the first time, I saw God as Rescuer and Redeemer—a Father knew me, even though my earthly father never truly did. Hosea 2:13 pierced me in the soul:

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” 


I began praying that God would use camp to draw girls into the wilderness so that He could speak tender words into their hearts:


You are loved.  


I am with you.


I am enough.


And He did. He spoke so clearly and tenderly more times than I can count. And for getting to be a part of it, I will never stop praising Him.


I spent three summers under the same brilliant, star-studded sky at Eagle Lake Camps—two as a Rez Counselor and one as a Crew Counselor. Eagle Lake brought me to my best friend, showed me how to serve and to lead, but what I am most thankful for is that it brought me to my knees before Jesus. I learned to ask expectantly and that our God cares more deeply, is fighting more valiantly, and loving each girl way more perfectly than I ever could.

Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


I saw campers fall head-over-heels in love with God’s word, their hearts and minds being transformed by His character, His power, and His grace. I saw God bring sin that laid in darkness into His glorious light and whisper, “you are loved, you are loved, you are loved” in their ears and in mine. I saw campers hear directly from the Lord about big plans for their lives or the lives of those they loved. I saw girls raise their hands high in worship and praise God for who He is for the first time. I saw God use the beautiful redemption story of the cross that wasn’t burned by the fire that surrounded Eagle Lake to bring campers closer to His heart. I saw girls proclaim truth to each other and watched in awe as highschoolers mopped floors, did dishes, and cleaned toilets day in and day out, singing worship songs and reminding each other that everything we do is for God’s glory. I saw my own sister come to know Christ for the first time when she came to camp.


In the mess that is program scheduling, bathroom cleaning, living in a tent with a dirt floor, and seeing the same people all day everyday for an entire summer, I saw God’s goodness more clearly than ever.  Eagle Lake Camp, a “thin place between heaven and earth”, is a place where God’s whisper became more audible to my stubborn ears because I saw Him time and time again in the echoing of kid’s laughter as it reverberates across the property.


At camp, memories are best kept scribbled in journals, not on social media feeds. Kids get to be themselves and they get to be loved. They get to stare at the mountains and wonder how the same God who made them in all their majesty, would handcraft their little hands and their little hearts, creating each part with care and precision. There’s a certain magic to the simplicity of camp living and I think it’s because there’s a part of each of us that feels whole in being there—as if our hearts are saying, this is how we were made to be: in community with each other through celebration and tears, praising and singing, without need for the “quick fix” modern day inventions, listening for God’s voice in all things, and sleeping under the stars.


After all of these years, I know full well that camp matters.


Why? Because God changes hearts at camp, He revamps lives, He convicts, He guides, and He speaks tenderly to us there.


But, most of all, camp matters because God uses it to rewrite the stories and touch the lives of others who don’t know Him, who have never been to Eagle Lake, who are far from Him. Because those who have had their hearts changed in the wilderness can’t help but shout His glory and bring His light to those in the valleys.


If there’s one thing I’m certain of about God’s sweet desire to allure us into His wilderness, it’s that once you’ve been swept up, taken to the wilderness, had your heart filled by a Jesus who loves, who rescues, who sees you, there’s no other choice than to go and tell.


It’s what the Samaritan Woman, after encountering Jesus’ genuine love for her, an outsider, can’t help but do. She goes to her village and she tells. She tells of His love, of His grace, of the way He saw her, sin and all, and had compassion for her. She tells of His promise to quench the thirst she has had her entire life. And do you know what happened after she went? Many Samaritans believed. They heard of His wondrous works and they believed.


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


My sweet camp friend Eliza continually wrote and spoke of a phrase in 1 Peter 2:9 this summer that I’ll never forget: proclaim His excellencies.


“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” —1 Peter 2:9


God’s faithfulness, the care with which He loved me and showed me how to love my campers, the way He redeemed brokenness and brought light into darkness, are all stories I will never stop telling—and God’s faithfulness abounds after camp because of the ways I continue to see Him working in my campers’ lives to use their testimonies and mine to reveal to others more of who He is.


So although the season of my life where I got to prepare meals with highschoolers all day, play capture the flag, eat dino nuggets in the Upper D, hike up to zippy rocks, or bang spoons on the table during Sunday morning pump up, has come to a close, I will never stop proclaiming the excellencies that our steadfast, sovereign, faithful God orchestrated right before my eyes. He drew me and each one of my campers into the maze of tall evergreens and wildflower-laden mountain meadows those three summers because He loves us and He wanted us to see, to hear, and to touch His glory.


But, I also think he brought us to camp because He wanted us to feel His love in the beating of our own hearts so closely and clearly that we’d spend our lives sacrificing whatever it takes to tell those who don’t know about a God who loves like that.


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps

How God Uses Camp to Meet Us in the Little Moments

Monday morning games. Who knew that three little words could make every heart at camp beat just a little faster?


Campers: nervous about the thought of actually having to play games and get out of their comfort zones with people they met less than 24 hours before.


Counselors: exhausted by the mere thought of jumping, yelling, and cheering for three hours about games they play every week.


And leadership: counting down the number of times left to explain the same game.


Yep, Monday morning games are tough. I can say that as a camper they are terrifying, as a counselor they are tiring, and as a PC they are just boring. But for some reason, God chooses to meet us out there on the angleball field and the nuke em’ court. Rather than using the fanciest games or the craziest activities, God steps into these simple moments and uses them to point hearts towards him. And that, more than anything else, is what makes Eagle Lake so unforgettable.


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


I met Maddie for the first time on a Sunday afternoon. The first thing I thought was that she seemed excited, if not a little nervous, to be at camp. Little did I know that the Lord would soon use this sweet 12-year old to impact my own life.


On Tuesday afternoon, chaco-taco in hand, we sat down together on the beach to talk. Before long, we had launched into a full-fledged discussion of dragons. I have never once in my life thought about the different types of dragons, but there I was asking questions and listening intently to every detail. For over an hour. In fact, that afternoon we didn’t talk for a single minute about Jesus or what she was learning at camp.


But from that conversation, Maddie knew that she was cared for and that I was there for her. She knew that when she was ready, she could trust me to come alongside her in the tough things she was facing. And over time, after camp ended and real-life began, that’s what happened. Through letters written over the course of the next few months, I was able to encourage her with Scriptures, reminding her that no matter what happens, her Heavenly Father always has, and always will be, right beside her. I got to watch as Maddie began to experience the faithfulness of the Lord and the freedom of His promises.


God chose to use this tiny moment to turn both of our hearts towards Him, reminding me that He is completely sovereign and in control. It was clearly not my dragon expertise that impacted Maddie’s life. But the Lord used what could appear to be a trivial conversation to mold our relationship and lead to deeper moments of discipleship for His own purpose.


Matthew 13:31-32 says “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


Summer Jobs in Colorado Camps


As I have traveled down the mountain and returned to school, I am reminded that God is able to work in these seemingly small ways no matter where I am. A conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, a note of encouragement to a roommate who is hurting, or a quick coffee date with a new friend could make a huge difference in someone’s life, even if I don’t see the fruit of it right away. God calls us to love others. He calls us to listen. And He is faithful to use little moments like these to change lives for His glory.

How God Uses Camp to SHOW Us His FAMILY

I never attended Eagle Lake as a camper. My first experience at camp was as a counselor in the Rezident program in 2013. And I loved it. I came away knowing that I wanted to go back if I could.

Having never been to camp, I did not have many of the established relationships that other counselors seemed to already have at the start of the summer. Some counselors were former campers, excited to be reunited in a new way after attending together as kids. Others came with friends from their college campuses, like the large crew from Colorado State, united in their green and gold. Among the CSU crowd was Michael, a friend I had grown up with since our families were members of the same church. We arrived together, and a little bit late, so the whole staff was assembled in the dining hall, a sea of new faces that I did not know.

It didn’t take long to get connected to new friends, an effort aided by sharing awkward stories and preparing for kids through long, exhausting hours during our first week together. Camp is strange. It’s a bubble in so many ways, insulated from the busyness of “normal” life and the incessant noise of the internet and tv. The separateness allows for fast and ready relationships to form, as both conflicts and connections come up quickly between people who live, eat, work and play beside one another day-in and day-out.


Best job ever at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado

Best job ever at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado

Best job ever at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado


Not only did we get to spend all that time together, but we also got to spend that time in the context of our shared faith, taking time together in study and prayer for one another. When I discussed this depth of community with a friend, he asked me if I had thought to credit these connections to the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the midst of enjoying the tight bonds that formed over the summer, I confess that I had not, actually, thought to credit those bonds to God’s unifying Spirit. In the midst of spending time together at camp, I hadn’t really noticed that for many of the people I considered new and close friends, the only real thing we had in common was Jesus. Our varied interests and hobbies all fell away as we learned to laugh, cry and love with one another in the unity granted by the Spirit.

Over the course of three summers spent at Eagle Lake, I have only found this to be more and more true; choosing to love one another as members of God’s family, for the sake of that family, built deep and lasting relationships that transcended each of our individual ideas of ourselves, wherever we had come from.

All of this was on top of the cool craziness that is Eagle Lake. Camp is SO MUCH FUN. Where else can you shamelessly wear your hair in any style you choose? Where else can you sport socks and sandals with such pride? Where else but camp can you be a costume? And in the midst of all of that fun, games, wild outdoor adventures, and crazy inside-joke-based antics, the chief thing that stands out to me is the relationships I built and founded in the midst of those summers. The friends I made have continued to be some of the best friends I have, brothers and sisters in Christ that I count myself blessed to know and love.


Best job ever at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado

Best job ever at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado

Best job ever at Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado


I’m in it for the long run.

After three summers, nearly 180 days, at Eagle Lake, that may be obvious. But it’s even more soul-pervasive, life-impacting, than that.

Camp is the persevering ascent of thousand foot mountains, tangible and intangible.

It’s the will-defying, discipline-building miles that graft trails, skies, songs, prayers into the soul.

It’s the distance-defying phone calls that keep relationships authentic and heart fibers entwined.

It’s the glorious redemption of miles driven with that earnest initiative that is to dial and courageously offer any wisdom and experience to the now scattered girls I once started my mornings with, dug holes with, hauled bursting bags of week-old eggs and tomato stained rotini with, harmonized and filled out the work hours in gracious music with, singing ourselves out of discouragement or pain, ran with, cried with, dreamed with, confided in, pursued with.

At Eagle Lake I realized that when I quit trying to perfect relating and loving in impressive sprints, and instead build a foundation for the marathon relationship, by God’s grace, I suddenly resonate with Jesus’ perspective on forging enduring relationships.

Eagle Lake is wondrous because it isn’t experienced in a vacuum.  Implanted in willing heart soil, its treasures, “rooted and established in love,” spread their branches out to bless, so that people who’ve never set foot on property delight to sit in its shade months, years later.  The enduring, treasured maintenance of counselor-camper relationships can be a glorious reality. It’s an investment I’ve seen unbelievable returns on, to the point that at my most vulnerable, I’m being received tenderly by the people I counseled. Heard, understood, known in such a way that demonstrates what seems too good to be true- they got it.  These campers passed on not only the truth in words, but the manifest comprehension of what it looks like to love well, agape, devoid of self-interest and replete with sacrifice, honor, and trust.
But it’s beauty is that it extended past that.






Over the course of the summer of 2014, my “return summer” on Crew, Katlyn Kincaid, the first woman I knew to pray comfortably with pauses in order to speak genuinely to her Creator, imparted some beautiful truths from a blend of her rich experience and with a life-changing book as a framework: 1000 Gifts.  A manifesto of Gratitude in All Things artfully, gracefully penned by Ann Voskamp as she counts the gifts sweet and hard that God gives, it sought to live in the tension of the apparent ‘good and perfect gifts from above’, and the rest of life’s circumstances, also from above and, for all their dissonance, utterly perfect.  The ugliness of loss, unmet expectations, mundane-ness, inexpressible longing—all these were also gifts, aches meant to point us to the Lord and forge within us holy contentment.
“I’m thankful for everything,” is a swift, over-generalized, oversimplified wash to attribute to the God who is so, so present in the details.  Could not the picture enliven with precision such that every stroke of the brush was yet another intentional, captivated act of giving.  Love, inherently self-giving, implies a generous spirit, and suddenly when I look at the other side of all the gifts, I see the one reaching for me knowingly, setting his affection on that ineffable essence of my soul with thousands of gifts meant to somehow incarnate that love.  I read slow, savoringly, secretly relishing my half-week convalescence in the infirmary with the stomach flu that let me absorb just a bit more of these fresh truths.

It was too good to keep to myself.

That fall, whether by untamable enthusiasm or sheer persistence, I surrounded myself with a half a dozen girls, got them the books, and begged them to work through this. I processed so much all over again with them, and watched each of them start their own enumerations of God’s giving to them, a careful record of their experience of Him.  One of these precious sisters bought 10 copies of the book a few months later, brandishing it to any friend who expressed even mild interest.  One had “Eucharisteo”—the Greek for thanksgiving—tattooed onto her foot.  Another brought friends week in and week out, believing or not, to see how good it was.  Yet another started meeting with a girl to hash out these truths from the beginning again, structuring their discipleship meetings around this book.  And my relationships with all of them were all the more deep and substantial.
Suddenly the texts started popping up, even after graduation and leaving the school where this group had become a tribe of Eucharisteo. Now distant in my solitary urban post-community grad-school starting season, these messages comforted and reminded me of the truths I once had preached.  They said things like:

“Thankful for Thankfulness…as the key that opens the door to see the most truth reality that all is gift from our Gift Giver.  All is grace.  All is gift.” 

“Inhale with prayer.  Exhale with Thanksgiving.”
“Thankful to have transportation with a job as hectic as mine.”

And thankfulness as a tradition with my running partner for the last mile we run together each day.  And as a question that my fiancée knows will pull me out of any pouting emotional rut.  And what I have learned to be an incredible rope to grab hold of when I am in stagnation, complacency, discontent.



Because when I start counting all that God gives, the number indicates I’m far more loved than I was even aware of. And that gratitude is always an option as I live in the glorious tension of an unideal world juxtaposed with “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

The long run surpasses description. I can’t shake the feeling the fullness of my heart for Eagle Lake has fallen short of articulate expression, because in this Holy Place, God grants gifts that cultivate perseverance more than I can give word to.  But may the Spirit interpret this to your conscious understanding as referential, an arrow toward a God of all-encompassing, ultimate, redeeming self giving.
And maybe your journey to (your first) 1000 could start today.

Because God is in it for the long run with you.

How God Uses Camp to CREATE MARGIN

I spent every summer in college working with Eagle Lake Camps and God made sure to not let that time go to waste. When I look back I can see His hand working in every awkward introduction, every late night conversation, every hour of cleaning bathrooms, and every voice-shattering cheer. I know the time and energy I spent with Eagle Lake was not just a fun summer job in college. God not only used those summers to continue to mold me into the image of His son but also to invite me further into his ministry of reconciliation. What a privilege to be even just a small part of a people and a place that God is using to advance His kingdom.


I had heard from friends and older students in the Navs ministry at Colorado State University (Go Rams!) that Eagle Lake would make for the hardest, but best summer of my life. God did far more abundantly than all I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).


At the beginning of my first summer I was anxious to make a good first impression and to find where I fit in. Somehow everybody already knew my name, my favorite food, where I went to high school, how many siblings I had, and my credit score. I don’t even know my credit score. All joking aside, this seriously is how Eagle Lake leadership start the summer (minus the credit score) – intentionally including and caring for their summer staff, even in something so small as a name. As orientation passed and the first week of camp came to an end I became aware of an internal battle for my identity. My flesh desired to be highly esteemed by the PCs and other counselors, while the spirit desired for me to be fully engaged in the Luke 2:52 growth of my campers. Day after day, I performed for a crowd, showing my “exemplary service and selflessness,” only to find myself dissatisfied. Binded by toxic comparison and motivated by my reputation, I found myself exhausted by the fourth week.


Life Long Friendships

Camp Counselor in Colorado

Adventures in the Colorado Mountains



How pathetic, I thought, to be using God as a stepping stone to my own glory. And how ironic, that in the next few days it was those who I had yearned to show my every strength who ended up knowing one of my biggest weaknesses. The PCs and counselors I had grown close to gently tended my heart back to the Lord and reminded me of his faithfulness. Because of His great love, I was not consumed, for His compassions never failed. They were new every morning. Oh, how faithful! (Lamentations 3:22-23) And how thankful I was that God’s faithfulness was not based on my faithfulness. Even further, when I was not faithful, God still wanted to show that he loved me.


Two weeks later I received a care package from a few of my campers from the second week of camp full of candy, glow-sticks, and bubble gum. Buried beneath it all was a framed picture of our cabin group, Shoshone, along with personal letters from each of them. One camper wrote, “God+Eagle Lake Camps=AWESOME!!! I told my mom about what I learned and now our whole family is going to church! You showed me how much God loves me, I decided to follow Jesus.” It’s hard to describe how floored I was after reading these letters. In the midst of my sin and faithlessness, God showed himself to have an all-surpassing power that permeates all circumstances and hearts (2 Corinthians 4:7). While I was busy reaching for my own glory, God was busy taking it for himself (Isaiah 42:8).


After learning more of God’s heart throughout my first summer, He called me to come back to the mountain for the next two summers serving with Crew – the high school camp focused on service and discipleship. High school is such a formative and fun time in life; to commit 5 weeks of your summer is quite a decision – props to all who’ve done it! Anyone who has spent time serving with Crew, camper or staff, can attest to the amazing community formed over just 5 weeks. However, more than any other lesson, Crew has helped me see the value of discipleship. Somehow, in the midst of the busyness up at camp, campers and staff prioritize and find time to meet together and encourage one another to grow to maturity in Christ. The messiness and chaos of life is met by the truth and peace of the gospel as the term ‘life-on-life’ ministry comes alive. God uses Eagle Lake as a greenhouse for growing His children into laborers for the kingdom of God. The training I received at Eagle Lake prepared me to continue to labor for the kingdom as a brother, son, mentor, and friend. As I drove down the mountain to be with those I love, God worked through me to not only share the gospel of God, buy my life as well (1 Thessalonians 2:8).


Camp Bros


Life long friendships


Adventures in Colorado


One of the beautiful things about Eagle Lake Camps is that it creates margin in your life for God to make big moves. Whether you’re deep in the Rocky Mountains, 10 minutes down the road at the local church, or in your bed at home God wants to talk to you and show you He loves you. Doesn’t it make sense that when the volume of the world is turned way down and the voice of God is turned way up, you hear Him? Take one walk around any Eagle Lake Camps property and around every corner you will find another opportunity to participate in how God is making big moves. Eagle Lake Camps has forever transformed the way I view God and helped me understand how God views me. God is not a distant and uninvolved king on his throne; He hears our cry for mercy and answers with a new heart and abundant life (John 10:10) offered through Jesus Christ. Further, He invites us into His ministry as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We’re on a co-mission with God to reconcile the world to himself in Christ.


God is using Eagle Lake to impact eternity. Eagle Lake Camps empowers young children, high school students, all kinds of college students, and even college grads to live lives transformed by the all-surpassing power of God – to live lives marked by knowing Him and making Him known among their families, friends, and peers.


Crew Leadership

When God Serves Humble Pie

Eagle Lake is better than cake.

And that says a lot coming from me – I love cake.

But cake does not compare to a place where God blew my perspective on how and when He works.

It was one of those nights – chilly, a cabin of 10 year old girls full of a million questions about the next day, and of course a sick camper. I threw out a topic to discuss amongst the cabin and Jessica–my sweet, sick camper and I–started the walk toward the infirmary. Jessica was incredibly kind and full of life. As we walked I felt a nudge from God to ask Jessica what she was learning from God at camp.

Honestly, I did not really want to ask. First, I was tired and cold, and probably a little grumpy. Second, I struggled to believe that a ten year old would really have much to answer back. Do ten year olds really listen to God? Does God really speak to ten year old hearts?

I decided to get over it and ask because we still had quite the walk ahead.

“Jessica, what are you learning from God here at camp?”

Oh well, I think he wants me to be a missionary when I grow up.

What? What kind of answer was that? God was telling this girl to be a missionary? The answer was so random and unexpected, it caught me off guard.

And what did I do? I doubted her heart. Yeah right, like God talks to ten year olds about being a missionary. So I asked another question.

“Well, you’re ten, so what will you do until you can become a missionary?”

Oh, well, there is this Muslim girl in my school. I’m going to be her friend and share Jesus with her.

Forget cake – I was eating a big ol’ slice of humble pie.

In that moment God revealed through a conversation with a ten year old just how small my view was of Him. I doubted God’s ability and desire to work in significant ways in the heart of someone so young.

I knew Eagle Lake provided a place for kids to hear the Gospel and to learn encouraging verses about God, but in that moment I discovered how much bigger God’s ability and plans were to transform lives – no matter how young. Not only were campers receiving truth about salvation from week to week, but God was also truly moving in hearts to follow Him in ways I didn’t think kids even understood. 

God used little Jessica and the story He was writing on her heart to expand my view of Him and how He works. I felt a little like Job when he realized more of the exceeding greatness of God in Job 40:4, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.” I needed to put my hands over my mouth and start giving more attention to the God who is able to do all things. 

John 5:17 says, “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I too am working.” God is always at work and is doing immeasurably more than we could ever imagine. Nothing is too hard for Him, and His love no one can fathom. There is no one too little, too young, too small for the Lord to be working in and through so that He may be glorified and the Gospel may be advanced.

God used Eagle Lake and a ten year old camper to teach me that He is God and He is always at work. Who am I to say what God is or isn’t capable of doing? Who am I to deny his power to make big changes in little hearts?

To this day I remember that walk with humility and fondness. I remember being humbled by seeing God’s mighty hand at work in someone so small and I remember my faith growing in a God who is able to do anything at anytime in anyone.

Thanks to Eagle Lake, now over a decade later, I can look at my two year old daughter and praise God that even in her smallness, He is able to do a mighty work in her and through her. There is no end to His glory, no end to his might.

Where are YOU believing God isn’t quite big enough to work, or heal, or redeem, or provide today?

Lauren Hlushak's first time west of the Mississippi River was in 2003 when she ventured from Florida to Colorado to be a Rez Camp Counselor. She joined the great migration to the Rocky Mountains in 2005 and now lives in Denver with her amazing bearded husband and daughter, and she just welcomed a son into the world as well! She has a heart for helping women know Jesus and launched She Proves Faithful ( in 2015 to equip women with discipleship resources. 

Lauren Hlushak’s first time west of the Mississippi River was in 2003 when she ventured from Florida to Colorado to be a Rez Camp Counselor. She joined the great migration to the Rocky Mountains in 2005 and now lives in Denver with her amazing bearded husband and daughter, and she just welcomed a son into the world as well! She has a heart for helping women know Jesus and launched She Proves Faithful ( in 2015 to equip women with discipleship resources.

Why Camp Is the Way to GROW

Our On Location Regional Director Shane shares here why working for a camp is the way to go for an amazing summer:

It’s an ADVENTURE! Leaving school, home, friends, and everything else you know behind for a summer isn’t easy. Stepping out of familiarity and into the unknown provides a sense of insecurity that leaves us on edge—on high alert.

I know! That’s what I experienced when I became a counselor at Eagle Lake Camps. Gathering my belongings in a few packs and bins, I began my 1,000-mile journey across the country on the biggest unknown adventure of my life. I headed to camp for three months with nothing but some clothes, my Bible, and an iPod to keep me company. There’s something about following Jesus through an expressive physical action that creates an adventure. I’m sure the disciples felt it, Paul experienced it, and I too now have a story of my own. Venturing out on an unknown journey with the Lord pushes you beyond trust; it leads you to dependence.

It’s a FAMILY. Community runs deep, but family is thicker. It is clear that we have been crafted for community and fellowship with others. Nowhere in our design as human beings were we created to be alone. During my first summer as a camp counselor, I experienced being a part of a family that cares deeply, loves unconditionally, serves relentlessly, and pushes constantly. It was in this diverse community of believers where I found my brothers and sisters: my family.

It’s getting UNPLUGGED. You have nothing. But yet you have everything. We all know distractions are everywhere—admittedly, I have checked my phone’s ESPN app at least five times since I sat down. With my generation’s constant need for visual and audio stimulation, it’s hard to face the reality of the time we spend using technology (for good or bad) versus the time we take to sit and quiet ourselves before the Lord. When we remove ourselves from society’s pressures, temptations, and distractions and enter into the quiet, our souls then enter an opportunity to commune with the Father on a whole new level.

At Eagle Lake, I had a whole summer of living in the Word and allowing it to live through me. For guys, leaving behind computers, phones, and maybe even people and going to a remote place like camp provides an intense opportunity for spiritual growth and restoration—away from temptation and worldly distraction.

It’s becoming a SERVANT. It’s hard to sit and read Paul’s letters or other New Testament writings and not come across a page that doesn’t mention serving. Over and over God reveals to us that a life following Him casts a shadow of servanthood. Being a follower of Jesus and a servant cannot be separated. As the Lord, His Word, and other people are pouring into you at camp, you immediately have an opportunity to pour out. There is a constant rich flow that comes in, which then is required to be poured out.
It’s advancing the KINGDOM. Being a camp counselor is more than likely the most challenging thing I have done, yet it’s also the most beneficial in my walk with the Lord. Camp does not teach us merely how to serve, camp teaches us to become lifelong servants: servants who are able to see everyday opportunities and use them to advance the Kingdom.
P.S. from Mark Heffentrager, Director of Eagle Lake Camp: Being involved in camping ministry now for more than 18 years, God has never ceased to amaze me. He continually brings us staff from all walks of life and has a way of meeting them at Eagle Lake like no place I have ever seen. Students come to us with all sorts of circumstances—both past and present. Time and time again I see God lead them through their own brokenness and into a place where they recognize their impact in this world as disciples of Christ. The transformation that takes place in a staff member’s life in the span of three months at a place like Eagle Lake is nothing short of incredible. If you know anyone who could benefit from a summer of spiritual growth at camp, please point them here!

How God Uses Camp to REMIND Us of His Character

I could have met Jesus anywhere, but He met me at camp.

It was late one night in high school under a blanket of stars that Jesus revealed to me He was my Creator and Savior.  I cried out in sweet relief seeing a billion little suns He knows by name and yet counts me more valuable. I’m hardly a fraction of their size and yet he chose to take my sin and nail himself to a cross for it.

This was at the camp I grew up at in the middle of the Midwest. Ever since that night I could never get enough of camp. It was a place of joy, community, laughter and I wanted to be like everyone I met there. I began to want to be like Jesus.

I went and staffed there the summer after my freshman year of college to find the gospel being put on the backburner.  The community was being poisoned by pursuing the work over Jesus, and I left that summer full of doubt.  Was anything I learned here about Jesus true? Was it His joy I had seen or an illusion? I was hurt and I was confused, but I went back to college and Jesus proved as faithful as ever in my puddle of doubt.

I began to see that I had associated Jesus far too closely to my good experiences at camp. Realizing camp was imperfect prompted my heart to feel that Jesus must be imperfect, too. As I worked through this lie, He revealed truth in His Word and surrounded me with close friends to speak truth to me: “Doubt your own doubts, because they are as empty as the grave He walked from.” Jesus is perfect, the world and its people are not.

I’m involved in Navigators at college, a ministry passionate about knowing Christ and making him known, and every fall we go to a big conference called Main Event. That fall in particular, a slightly obnoxious banner next to a booth caught my eye and I read the words Eagle Lake Camps.

I walked towards it and decided to apply.


Biblestudy fun


Life long friendships



Hammock time


Fun times


Life on life Ministry


You might be wondering why I would return to a place so similar to where I experienced such a negative impact on my walk with the Lord, but don’t forget my first encounter with Christ. Often, God takes our hurt and flips it over so we can see his healing. That is exactly what He did at Eagle Lake.

A woman named Abby Fennema called me for an interview. I immediately could tell she was for real about sharing Jesus at all costs and walking with the Lord herself. My eyes welled up with tears, and I knew that Jesus had a purpose for bringing me through all that doubt. I was to go back into a setting I’d been hurt by and put the gospel at the forefront of all we did, instead of wondering where it was at.

The summer of 2015 came and I walked onto property as a Crew Counselor, knowing no one and desiring to make Christ known.  It was a hard, growing, huge blessing of a summer. God rooted my trust in Him by giving me energy, love, and kindness when I had none left to give. I found myself faced with things I didn’t know how to do, like helping run the camp store, relying on Jesus for physical needs and swallowing desires of comfort for the sake of others. I didn’t think I could do it and I definitely couldn’t without the Lord and fellow believers that were right by my side, showing me how the entire way.

He healed any leftover hurt and doubt from the summer before and replaced it with abundant testimonies to His character by moving in the hearts of my campers, as well as in my own heart. I got to walk with campers struggling with the same lie I had previously believed. We concluded that God is the same God away from camp that we believe Him to be when at camp, and our faith isn’t based on experiences or people, but rather on the flawless Word of Christ.

That summer was full of seeing my fellow counselors seeking Jesus with everything they had and teaching their campers to do the same. Eagle Lake has challenge me to pursue the Lord deeply and trust HIM in whatever ministry He brings me into, not in a ministry itself (no matter how awesome).

This year I will going back on staff for a third summer at Eagle Lake and I am just as excited as I was to go to camp in high school.


Leadership team




Fun fun fun


The road to camp

How God Uses Camp to IMPACT Generations

Interestingly, the most impactful story I think of when Eagle Lake comes to mind didn’t happen at Eagle Lake Camp at all. Instead, it occurred at The Navigators’ collegiate ministry’s fall conference in Estes Park, CO.


Although this conference is typically only for college students, three of my former campers had asked for — and were given — permission from our regional director to join us. On the last night of the conference, I had the privilege to sit behind these three high school seniors. I had trained them in how to clean a toilet with excellence, led them in quiet times, and taught them how to share the gospel with little children. And now, as we sat praying over people the Lord had placed on our hearts and then began to worship, I watched my campers as they were pulled to their knees, their hearts broken for the sake of the gospel. Watching these teenagers commit their lives to Jesus not just for their own happiness but for the sake of others brought me to tears. 


Eagle Lake has made a lifelong impact on my walk with Jesus because it takes those who are considered “inadequate, inexperienced, or too young” and tells them that they are part of the army that the Lord is raising up for His Name’s sake. Eagle Lake empowers young children, high school students, struggling college students and even college graduates to experience the joy of giving up everything for the sake of Jesus: for the sake of knowing Him and making Him known to friends, families and peers.

Life long friendships


Life on Life Ministry


Canoe Fun

This past summer marked my twelfth summer at Eagle Lake as either a camper or a staff member. I have spent, in total, over a year of my life on an Eagle Lake property. To say the least, Eagle Lake has a special place in my heart that will never be removed. In those twelve summers, Jesus has taught me a lot of important, hard, and joyful lessons, but the lesson that I think ties them all together is that giving my life away for the sake of the Gospel is always worth it. Moreover, when I do, I experience the joy of being in my Savior’s presence most fully.


As a high school student, I was part of the Crew program. It’s a 5-week program where high school students come to Eagle Lake to clean toilets, serve food, and do the dishes. However, campers are also being poured into by college-aged counselors who give up their summers in the hopes that even just one high school student would begin or would deepen their walk with the Lord.


From my summers on Crew, one of the most impactful lessons I learned was that Christ is the cornerstone. I don’t know why I remember this so well, but as we were placing the tables in rows in the dinning hall, my hospitality counselor placed the first one of the row, and he called us all together and said, “this one is the cornerstone, just as ‘Jesus was the stone that the builders rejected, He has now become the cornerstone.'” I understood that passage for the first time as I saw a cornerstone be set, and everything else in the dining hall be affected by and oriented around it. Additionally, Crew gave me a hunger for God’s word. It was the first time I was really encouraged (and told) to read my Bible on a daily basis, and that I was responsible for my walk with the Lord, not my parents. I began to read the Bible that summer and by my last summer on Crew, I had made my way through the entire book.  I was eager and hungry for the Word of God.


That wetsuit lyfe


Blob fun


Hospitality Crew Strikes a Pose


Awkward Family Pic


In 2015 I came on staff as a crew counselor. My summer was really hard. I was overwhelmed by the amount of brokenness that is in our world today as I lived life with campers (some only 14) who had first-hand experience with heartbreak, suicide, depression and rape. My heart was heavy and my eyes opened to the effects of the fall. My heart longed for something that would come and redeem and bind up these broken souls. My heart was restless for eternity and zealous for the gospel.


The following summer, I came back on staff as a Day Camp Crew counselor. The summer was marked by two phrases, “Three things are eternal: God, His word, and the souls of man,” and “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” My sin of working for things that are not eternal, or not coming from a place of satisfaction in God and His Word, became evident in my life the first few weeks.


I struggled as two of my best friends were put in a position of leadership over me. In my head, I thought that I deserved that position just as much as they did, and fell into the trap of believing that I needed to prove to them and to my boss that I did. Constantly trying to prove I was enough was exhausting, because I’m not. And to put it bluntly, doing so is outside of God’s plan and provision, and so there is no joy in trying. But the Lord humbled me and quietly asked the question, “Do you believe that I am sovereign? Do you believe that if I want to bring you back to Eagle Lake it will be more glorious than if you do all the work and they ask you, apart from me?”


Through one-on-ones with a staff member’s wife, we talked through how much greater it would be if I was faithfully present where the Lord had me, in the moment He had me. It was His grace that placed me on Day Camp that summer. (And now I’m convinced it’s the coolest job at Eagle Lake!) I was put on a crew that allowed me to do what I love: develop kids into strong leaders, lovers of God’s word, and servants for the Gospel. I worked with eight high school students who were eager to learn. They worked with our Day Camp campers on our Glen Eyrie property. The primary goal of the program is to learn how to lead a Bible study, but these campers walked away with so much more.


Day Camp Crew


Spiritual Generations


Canoodoling Patrol


Crew Staff


One of my favorite stories from that summer happened with one of my quieter campers. I had been encouraging her to try and just be present, to play, and to interact in hopes of getting a chance to share the gospel with a camper. In the middle of one of our one-on-ones, she looked me in the eye, and asked, “Will you follow me around and tell me every time that I could have shared the gospel, but didn’t?” Even in questioning her ability to share the gospel, she still knew and believed that the gospel was worth it, and that her joy was to tell it to all those around her. 


The passion I saw for the gospel cultivated in these sixteen and seventeen year olds challenged me more than I could have imagined as I stepped back onto my own campus this semester. Each day at Day Camp we reminded our campers that they would not be promised a second chance to share the gospel, but only given the opportunities right before them, so go forth boldly! It’s easy to forget that in the midst of tests, events, and friendships.


However, through deep relationships with staff, campers, and other counselors in the midst of beautiful mountains, Eagle Lake has instilled in me that Christ is worth it, on the mountain and off. He is worth giving up your summer, your plans, and even your dreams, “for we count it all as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord” (Philippians 3:8). I could tell countless stories of how God has met me through relationships and time spent at Eagle Lake, but they would all tell one story: God is meeting his people in the stillness of Eagle Lake, to equip them to go off the mountain and share His story for His glory.