Chimney Point Fall Highlights

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It’s hard to believe the Fall of 2015 is almost over.  There has been so much that has happened.  Sometimes I think how crazy it is to have moved my family across the country!  However, it has been an awesome process of trusting God through this awesome adventure.

A little later this Fall, we were thankful to be joined by Jonboy and Annie Ellis as our first Chimney Point staff members.  After that, camp begin to come alive through their presence and hard work!

Overall, it was a great first season to getting our first camp outside of Texas off the ground.  It’s not much, but here are some fun snapshots and highlights from the fall.

Brooke and I attended an awesome fundraising event in Atlanta to help support Atlanta and also promote Pine Cove.

Brooke and I attended an awesome fundraising event in Atlanta to help support Atlanta and also promote Pine Cove.

They made it! The Ellis family arrives at camp to stay for a few weeks while they find a home.

They made it! The Ellis family arrives at camp to stay for a few weeks while they find a home.

 

Of course Jonboy needs Annie to explain what to do.

Of course Jonboy needs Annie to explain what to do.

 

Our family on a camp visit.

Our family on a camp visit.

 

Having some fun with perspective!

Having some fun with perspective!

 

Working on remodeling the cottage bathroom!

Working on remodeling the cottage bathroom!

 

Jonboy solders some copper pipe while Bunga documents. We have been working to get the cottage ready to be lived in.

Jonboy solders some copper pipe while Bunga documents. We have been working to get the cottage ready to be lived in.

 

Thumbs up for INTERNET!

Thumbs up for INTERNET!

 

On a town run, we saw a guy spraying off the concrete with a hose WHILE it was raining! I guess they do things a little different out here.

On a town run, we saw a guy spraying off the concrete with a hose WHILE it was raining! I guess they do things a little different out here.

 

We have our first Chimney Point tradition! Whenever we have guests, we light the fire in the chimney that greets every visitor to camp.

We have our first Chimney Point tradition! Whenever we have guests, we light the fire in the chimney that greets every visitor to camp.

Thanks for all the prayers and support!  Can’t wait to share more soon.

Volunteer Teams: How I’m Learning to Build Them

By | leadership, pine cove | No Comments

team

Working at Pine Cove, I get to be involved in a lot of different teams. And I have learned over the years (mostly the hard way) that building a team needs be a huge priority if you are going to accomplish big things. I have also discovered that it is easier to build teams with people who work for me and with me than those that don’t. The people who work for me and with me are easy to find. They are around frequently and can I can arrange a meeting with them fairly easily. They are also [for the most part] bought in and believe in the mission of Pine Cove because they have chosen to work here.  These people make great team members.

However, there is a large group of other people that can also be on my team: volunteers. And for some reason I have neglected building teams of volunteers for a long time. I think it is because I just never thought it was possible. “Who would want to join in and help and not get paid?” I thought. And I have recently realized that I am missing out on huge possibilities. I am currently leading a recruiting effort at one of our biggest colleges that we recruit from and have been forced over the years to work with a lot of volunteers in this process. Much of our recruiting success comes from having our former college staff volunteer their time and effort to help us. It will be from this context that I am drawing most of my lessons. Here are a few things I have learned about creating strong volunteer teams. Especially with those who are in college! 🙂

1. Initiate!
You have to start. There is no other way around it. No one is going to knock on your door. You need to walk out of it. Especially with college students, you must be the first to start the conversation. If you don’t reach out, you are out of sight and out of mind!

2. Teach the why.
Remind the group why you are doing what you are doing. Often. Tell them about your passion and about the mission. In this particular case, we are trying to find and interview 400 Texas A&M college students this week to apply and interview to work at Pine Cove for next summer. We need to find and meet great staff! I need to explain the big picture. I need to talk about how God used Pine Cove to transform my life and how He is using so many others to do the same.  I need to get them to share about their experiences and why they might be passionate about the mission. You share the why, and even better, get them to share the why with each other.

3. Develop unity.
This is something that I missed early on and still forget. I need to create space to develop unity in teams, especially in volunteer teams. For my college volunteer team here at A&M, they are made up of staff from all of our different camps within Pine Cove. This means that they may not know each other. When they think of having a meeting with me and a group of other people they do not know, they will be more hesitant than if they know the group and feel comfortable with each other. Have an event early on (bowling, mini golf, scavenger hunt, etc.) that gives them an experience and time to build friendships. The next time you call a meeting, they will be much more inclined to attend.

4. Create value.
Ask yourself: If I was a potential volunteer, what would it take to get me to be a part? Why would I do this? Really think through these things. It is amazing how that will bring a lot of clarity. Especially for college students, you are competing agains hundreds of other options that they have. Usually the loudest voice wins in their lives right now. Why is it appealing to be a part of your volunteer team? Maybe it is that special event that you facilitate. Maybe it is an exclusive item like a t-shirt that you give them. Maybe it is just good time with you to learn and grow. Really think through this and ask yourself what type of value will they get out of this. This also helps you steer clear of using them for an end goal, but to really bless them for their volunteer work!

5. Encourage accountability.
You can not hold your volunteers accountable. If your volunteer team begins to buy in and care, they will hold each other accountable. Create smaller “teams” of a few people who need each other and will talk to each other more frequently and challenge one another.

6. Believe.
Lastly, you need to believe in what you are doing. You cannot go through the motions with this. Use your passion to encourage and inspire others to action. Do no underestimate your ability to get others to jump in and be a part. You are probably more influential than you give yourself credit for.  If you don’t believe, who will?

Are there any other ways that you have found that are effective in building strong volunteer teams?

Why 2 Weeks at Camp?

By | pine cove, shores | No Comments

Optimized-11S03-05-  1677Here at Pine Cove, we have done one week camping as far as I remember.  It has become our standard to have campers arrive on Sunday and leave on Saturday.  One week is a good amount of time to have fun, connect with a counselor and cabin mates and most importantly, learn more about the Bible and God’s love.

But a few years ago, we started wandering what it would be like to allow campers to come for two weeks (13 days).  We started this program at the Shores camp, which is the 10th-12th grade camp which I have the privilege to lead.  We called the two week program, “Overflow”. This name is based out of Colossians 2:6-8:

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Our desire with Overflow was that high school campers could come for two weeks and leave overflowing with not only the truth of the Bible and God’s love, but thankfulness for that as well.

Our one week camp is really strong and filled with so much fun and activities, but there is little room for more. When you allow campers to come for a longer period of time, you can do more.  It gives us more opportunities, relationships and truth.

More Opportunities:  Since starting the program in 2008, we have seen phenomenal success.  We basically stretch out the one week experience over two weeks and fill in the holes with extra stuff.  We make room to do fun events like a service project, visiting and serving at other Pine Cove camps and even going bowling.  There is now room for more opportunities.

More Relationships:  With being at camp longer with others, campers can bond more with their counselor and cabin mates.  Sometimes, it just takes longer for barriers and walls to break down between people.  With being at camp longer, stronger relationships can form.  A relationship with at least one of our staff (an older mentor) who can help them navigate life is crucial to helping them not be taken captive by wrong things.

More Truth:  With a longer time at camp, campers can essentially detox from the pressures of the world and focus in not only on themselves, but learn about truth. We make room for more in depth studies and teaching seminars.  We are able to unpack more truths of the Bible and give our campers time to process and deal with it.  Two weeks allows us time to help campers be more established in their faith.

In the last few years we have started two week camping at a few of our other camps at Pine Cove.  The Timbers, Ranch and Outback all have the option as well.  I can tell you from knowing all the directors of those camps personally, they have the same desire to see the lives of campers transformed in their one week and two week programs as well.

Thinking about two weeks of camp for you or your camper?

Find out more: Shores | Timbers | Ranch | Outback