As summer is rolling right along, we've asked a few campers to write about their favorite parts and experiences at Camp Henry to share with all of you. Here is what Erin has to share about her experiences at Camp Henry and in Waterskiing and Wakeboarding Camp.
I’ve been going to Camp Henry for 6 years now and it has always been one of my favorite places to go in the summer. You get to try so many new things and meet so many great people. Everyday, you do some activities with your cabin and some with your brother cabin. You also get to choose some activities to do four mornings a week with anyone else in camp.
However, there are alternatives to the regular morning activities. For example, the past two years I have done water skiing and wakeboarding camp. I’ve gotten into wakeboarding and Camp Henry has an awesome program for people who like wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, etc. that you get to do during the morning activities. It’s so much fun and you get to learn new tricks, or if you’ve never done wakeboarding or water skiing before then you can learn how to.
Every night at Camp Henry you close off with some all camp games or campfires, which are always so much fun and I look forward to them everyday. Camp Henry is a great place to spend part of my summer and I will be going for as long as I can.
Erin Overholt is 15 years old and this summer was her 6th time at Camp Henry. She has loved going every time. Erin will be a sophomore at Forest Hills Northern High School. She wakeboards and snowboards and loves to play sports like basketball, soccer, cross country and crew. Erin also has a younger sister named Emily who also attends Camp Henry every summer.
Over the past 8 years, we have had over 10,000 campers come to Camp Henry for summer camp and we have nearly 1,200 campers signed up to come this summer already! But why do they come? What is it that makes them want to come or return year after year? You can ask any staff member, past or present, and they can give you a million reasons why. But that still doesn't answer why the campers return year after year. So we asked several campers to tell us what they love about camp and why they keep coming back! We found that regardless of age, each camper fell in love with Camp Henry, tried new things, challenged themselves, made new friends, learned how to work as a team or cabin, and grew as a individual during their time here.
In our last blog post, you had the opportunity to hear from one of Camp Henry's long time campers, Molly Malnor, about the impact camp had on her life and why she loves camp. Here's another opportunity to get to know more about the campers that come to Camp Henry and why they love it. I'll let their responses do the rest of the talking. Here's a quick introduction to the campers, followed by their responses to our questions about why Camp is awesome and what they love the most!
Meet Allie Cole
Allie is 6 going on 7 in June and she first attended Camp Henry as a family camper at the ripe old age of 13 months.. The first time she went to camp by herself was when she was 5 and attended day camp. She is very excited to be attending mini week for the first time this summer. Allie found out about camp through her older sisters, Katelynn and Kimberly. Allie's favorite activity at camp is riding the horses.
Meet Katelynn Cole
Katelynn is 9 years old and first attended Camp Henry as a family camper at the age of 3. Yes, she is one of Allie's big sister! She has also been a day camper for 3 years and a mini week camper for one year. Katelynn's favorite activity at camp is skittle skattle battle because you get to eat skittles!
Meet Nadia Bowman
Nadia first came to camp when she was 9 years old. She has been coming for 8 years but she first heard about Camp Henry through her cousin. Nadia has been a camper for many different kinds of camps, from mini week to frontier, water sports, teen challenge and service crew. She is looking forward to her first summer as an AC or Assistant Counselor.
Meet Kurt Swieter
Kurt started coming to Camp Henry when he was 7 years old. This will be his 11th summer on the shores. Before attending Camp Henry, he spent time at his grandparent's cottage on Lake Kimball and couldn't wait to be old enough to come to camp. Kurt enjoys playing the various all camp games and loves a good game of four square.
Meet Catherine Croft
Catherine came to Camp Henry for her first summer when she was 14. She has come back three years in a row and is now looking forward to be an AC. She found out about camp through her friend, Ellie, and decided to come because it sounded like a fun place. Catherine loves going to Chapel every morning and looks forward to nights around the campfire, singing songs and watching silly skits.
Meet Raina Rodriguez
Raina, like Catherine, didn't discover Camp Henry until she was in her teens. But that didn't stop her from loving it! Her first camp experience was Olympics Week and she had a blast! Raina's favorite camp activity is outdoor cooking, making s'mores and hobo pies!
What is your favorite morning or cabin activity?
"My favorite is definitely vespers. It gave us a chance to bond with each other along with a brother cabin as well" Raina
""I like the nature hikes, especially the wetland trail" Katelynn
"My favorite cabin activity would have to be on the first night where we all dress up to a theme of our choice. One year my cabin was lumberjacks and another year we all dressed up in rainbow colors." Nadia
"I liked doing water-ski camp. I also love foursquare and outdoor cooking." Kurt
What is your favorite camp song?
"Country roads, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Lord of the Dance, Big Yellow Taxi and Washed by the Water." Kurt
"I love the "peel banana" song [banana song] and "frog in the bog" [rattlin bog song]." Catherine *you don't even have to know the name of the song to love it!
"The banana song" Katelynn
"The chipmunk song" Allie
"Sing Hallelujah to The Lord is definitely my favorite" Raina
Have you tried anything new while you were at Camp Henry? How did it go? Were you scared or excited to try it? Were you glad you tried it?
"Banana boat and slide on the raft. I was scared but after not so scared, but still kind of scared. Going down was fun but going underwater was scary." Allie
"Every year I try something new at Camp, from doing my first lake swim to walking blind folded along the high ropes course. It is so amazing to try something new at camp because you have so much support from your cabin mates and staff. It is very exciting to try something new. At first I was really hesitant but once I took my first stroke or my first step, I knew I could do it. My favorite new thing I tried at camp was going down the zip line on the high ropes course for the first time. I was so scared at first and it took some time, but with my cabin and counselor supporting me, I knew I could do it." Nadia
"The high ropes course. I was always afraid of heights, it was a great to challenge myself and know that my friends and counselors were supporting me. After I was done it was great because I felt as though I had conquered one of my fears." Kurt
"I tried the ropes course and the zip line. I was very scared because I'm not a huge fan of heights, but I decided that I would regret it later if I didn't try it. I was so glad I tried it because it ended up being a lot of fun and it made me happy that I was able to overcome my fear." Catherine
What is your favorite food at Camp?
"Pizza, chocolate milk, and ice cream on the first night." Kurt
"The outdoor cookout burgers!" Raina
"My favorite food at Camp is the French toast." Catherine
Who do you look up to the most at Camp Henry? Why?
"I look up to the counselors the most because they relate well to the campers and always know what to do when there is a challenging situation." Catherine
"I look up to Jake or Kelly the most and I look up to them because they always know what to do and they are really fun." Katelynn
"Who I look up to the most would be the counselors and the staff at Camp because all of them are so nice, patient, and selfless. They are the prefect role models to follow. I think those are ideal qualities in a good Camp counselor." Nadia
"Probably Kirty. Everyone loves her and she loves everyone. I've only had 2 weeks with her at camp but she has definitely inspired me." Raina
"Claudia the AC, because she is fun and she likes to play with me." Allie
"David. He's a great guy, he's interesting, he shares great stories and his faith. It is cool because even though he is in England, he still is looking out for me, or sending me a message every once I a while. He's always there to talk to. I really look up to him, and want to have a positive influence on campers lives just as he did on mine." Kurt
What is your favorite evening activity?
"Capture the flag, I enjoy the all-camp games." Kurt
"My favorite nighttime activity would have to be PJ sing. It's so much fun because we all just get to sing and dance to our hearts content." Nadia
"My favorite nighttime activity is the campfires because I like the songs we sing and the skits we get to watch." Catherine
If you had the opportunity to tell a brand new camper something about Camp Henry, what would it be?
"I would tell them that they just found their second home & they'll never be the same. Especially after the sacred ceremony on the last night or the beach bonfire if you do Olympic Week." Raina
"I would tell them my favorite things about camp horseback riding or swimming and what they get to try." Katelynn
"If I had the opportunity to tell a brand new camper something about Camp, it would be, to be your inner crazy self and don't be afraid to make mistakes or try something new. Camp Henry is a place where you can be yourself and no one will put your down for it. You can be crazy and others will be crazy with you." Nadia
"Try new things, go out on a limb, and enjoy every second of it." Kurt
"I would tell them that they are going to have an unforgettable week full of adventure, laughter, friendship, and fun" Catherine
"I would tell them that it is lots of fun." Allie
Do you want to work at Camp Henry when you are old enough? And if so, what job at Camp Henry would you like?
"Yes, I would want to be wrangler" Allie
"Yes, I would be an Assistant Counselor" Katelynn
"I would love to be a counselor, I always looked up to my counselors and admired them. I can say they have all influenced me to be a better person, and I would like to do the same for campers." Kurt
"I would LOVE to be a counselor if my future college schedule allows that to happen. I've loved my counselor and they're inspired me. I want to be able to do the same for other kids!" Raina
"I would definitely love to work at Camp in the near future. It would be so much fun! I think any job at camp would be great because no matter what job I would have, I would still be at Camp and be surrounded by a loving family." Nadia
What was your favorite part of going to a specialty camp?
"I did the [Teen Challenge] trip to Alaska in 2012. It was a life changing experience and I was able to share it with my best friends. It was cool because before the trip we had a meeting a to talk through the itinerary and meet everyone. Everyone knew everyone through other camp related experiences, but there were two girls new to Camp Henry. Before the meeting was over it was like these girls had been to camp for 10 years and they really meshed with the group. By the end of the 2 weeks we were all so close." Kurt
"My favorite part about going to these camps is participating in the activity for the week and meeting new people who are also interested in the same adventure as you are. Like riding horses for a whole week and wake boarding everyday. Teen Challenge is also really great because you get to experience new places like South Manitoulin and Pictures Rocks. Service Crew is really fun too because I get to give back to a place that has already given me so much." Nadia
"I have been a part of a teen challenge camp. My group went to West Virginia for a white water rafting and rock climbing adventure. My favorite part about going to the camp was meeting new friends, overcoming fears, and the crazy fun car ride to West Virginia and back. I also cooked a cake over a fire for the first time!" Catherine
If you had the opportunity to help other kids get to Camp Henry, for example, participating in IronKid, would you help?
"Yes! And we are doing IronKid" Allie and Katelynn
"I would definitely love to help other kids get to Camp because I think every child should experience such a wonderful place. It's a place where everybody can goof around, have fun, and make new friends. I would be very interested in participating in IronKid." Nadia
"Yes, I think everybody deserves to go to summer camp. This is the reason I am doing Camp Sunshine, I want to give people the opportunity to go to camp who are not usually able to."
"I would definitely help other kids get to Camp if I had the opportunity. I would help because I don't want anything to get in the way of those kids missing out on the amazing Camp Henry experience." Catherine
"I would! I've been a kid who has applied and used scholarships because my mom couldn't quite afford camp for both my brother and I." Raina
If you were in charge of Camp Henry for one day, what would that day look like? (You get to choose what everyone does!)
"Well, it would be a little bit of each activity that you can get to. I would cram as much camp in as I could!" Katelynn
"We would play capture the flag and have night chapel with all the classic songs." Kurt
"The only thing I would add to a perfect Camp Henry day is a huge paint fight!" Raina
"Lots of horseback riding and swimming" Allie
What is it about Camp Henry that makes you continue to come back each year?
"The thing about Camp Henry that makes me continue to come back each year is the atmosphere. The people I'm surrounded by give off an energizing vibe. Everyone is respectful and cares about one another. I learn something new every day when I'm at Camp Henry, and I have a blast doing it." Catherine
"I keep coming back to Camp Henry because I love having fun and meeting new people. And Camp is the perfect place to do that. It's also a good place to go and be a part of nature and see shooting stars in the clear sky. I enjoy singing, playing games, and swimming in the lake. Everything about Camp is just so wonderful; the people, the food, the activities, etc.." Nadia
"There is just something about it I can't put into words that makes it different from any other place in the world. So many different types of people coming together to share the best week of their lives in a happy Christian environment. There is just something really special about Camp Henry." Kurt
"It's my second home and I'm homesick for it all year. I can't explain why." Raina
Well, there you have it, straight from the campers! Who's excited for summer 2014?! We are! We hope you are, too! Spots are filling up fast, so if you haven't signed up for Camp Henry yet, better do it now!
If you are interested in learning more about Camp Henry, you can give us a call at 616-459-2267, continue browsing our website, take a look at our 2014 brochure or check our Facebook page! Here's a link to our summer 2014 promo video as well!
Meet the 2014 Summer Staff! These short bios will help you get to know our awesome staff before summer even starts. Be sure to check out Part 1 below if you haven't already.
Grace Erb aka Gerb or Gracie is so enthused to be spending a whole summer with kids outdoors! It's her goal to become an elementary school teacher. Grace is a native to Crystal Lake, IL and is studying at the University of Illinois. When she has down time, you will probably find her in a body of water, be it a lake, river or pool. And if she is not on the lake front this summer, you can catch her up with the horses as she used to ride competitively. Believe it or not, she actually spent an entire month in Australia with her family, snorkeling and riding camels! Grace hopes her actions this summer will show the campers they are loved and accepted.
Ryan Reisler aka Reis will be keeping Camp Henry running smoothly as he is the Facilities Director. When he has down time, he loves to go backpacking and whitewater canoeing. As a native to Vermont, he has an affinity for colder weather and can often be found wearing shorts in weather most people would consider wearing a winter coat in. Ryan completed his degree in Adventure Education at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. You can rest assured that Camp Henry's facilities are in good hands as this is Ryan's dream job! Click here to learn more about Ryan.
Tim Larson will be making the trek to Camp Henry all the way from Fort Collins, CO for his second summer. Tim is an outdoor aficionado and loves to go hiking, camping, rock climbing, mountain biking and so much more. You name it and if it's outside, Tim probably loves to do it. In fact, he has hiked to the top of two 14,000 ft. mountains in the same day! He is really looking forward to returning to Camp after a hiatus and can't wait to work with the amazing kids and staff. He hopes they know that they are loved and that they are important and that they learn to show other this love.
Ben Waterhouse aka Big Ben has found a great niche at Camp Henry. He is currently enrolled at Anderson University and hopes to work in the youth ministry field once he finishes up his degree in Bible and Religion and Nonprofit Leadership Management. He is excited to see the campers grow over the course of the week they spend at camp. While Ben enjoys playing Rugby now, he used to do gymnastics when he was little. His hope is that every camper will know how amazing they are and how much God loves them.
Blake Lopez, originally from Southern California, has made his way out to Camp Henry for the past two summers and excited to be here for his 3rd year on staff. Blake will finish his Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this June. When he has free time, he enjoys going on hikes and hanging out in his hammock. He can't wait to see new and old campers and staff experience and embrace the 2014 theme of "You Are More" and he wants them to know that they are loved.
Colleen Roddy aka C-Rod or Rods is a fresh face on staff this summer. She grew up in Traverse City and is a student at Hope College studying Special Education. C-Rod enjoys playing sports, hiking, boating and skiing. A really cool fact about Colleen is that she has never had any form of soda. She is eager to have the opportunity to be with kids every day at Camp Henry! She hopes that each camper walks away being confident in who they are and embracing their unique quirks.
Liz Price aka LP is one of many staff members that loves a good dip in the lake and can really get into a good water polo match! Liz is taking a summer break from her studies at Grand Rapids Community College and is returning for her second summer on staff. She is looking forward to pouring into the kids in her cabin as well as connecting with other campers new and old alike. In her spare time and when she is not in the water, she can be found shooting hoops, picking flowers, long boarding, and eating canned peaches. Next time you see her, ask her to make her eyebrows do the worm. Her hope for this summer is that every camper that leaves the shores will know and believe they are more and are truly loved.
David Alorka will be coming over from England to spend his 4th summer on the shores. David is truly a man of many talents. He is passionate about football, the British kind, otherwise known as soccer. He also uses his degree in International Business Studies to help start ups and small to medium organizations grow through consulting work. David is also working on becoming a pilot for British Airways and is logging away as many hours as he can to reach his goal. David hopes that every camper that attends camp this summer will have their lives enriched by their time here.
Alejandra De Mingo aka Ali is traveling all the way from her home in Madrid, Spain to be on staff this summer. Ali attending Camp Henry as a kid and is returning for her first year on staff after several years away. She has a flair for sharing her international experience with other and hopes to pursue a career in foreign affairs. Ali is overjoyed to be returning and is eager to help campers have just as amazing a time as she had when she was younger. When she has some free time she enjoys working out, singing and spending time with loved ones. Her hopes for the campers this summer is that they love and appreciate themselves and in turn appreciate and respect others.
Cody DeLonge is super excited to be on staff this summer. He was a former camper and is glad to be returning as a counselor where he can connect with his campers each week. Cody is currently working on writing his first book and is studying Communications through Devry University. He aspires to be an journalist. When he is not busy writing, he enjoys playing disc golf and flag football. A fun fact about Cody is that he has actually grabbed a charging bull by the horns. He wants the campers to see how important they really are.
Angela Polmanteer, who is studying at Grand Valley, joins us for her second summer on staff. Her favorite outdoor activity is horseback riding, which is where she spends most of her time at camp as a wrangler! She actually won the Best Child Rider Award in 2006. She is excited to meet new campers and staff and be reunited with the returning folks. During her spare time, she likes to read, run, cook, and hike. Her hope and advice for the campers and staff this summer is that you should be proud of your faith and to never be afraid to exploring and furthering your faith.
Adam Swenson aka Swentz is a jack of all trades and is excited to be completing his third year on both year round staff and on summer staff. Originally from New Bloomfield, PA, Adam loves going boating, camping and traveling. He also enjoys baking and eating delicious food. In case you didn't know, he also has one two male pageants and toured Europe with a choir. He would love to own his own alpaca farm and call it "Alpaca you a Lunch." Adam is eager to see what this summer will hold and hopes that all campers get a better glimpse of who they are in the image of God. To learn more about Adam, click here.
Jennie Bander aka JB, Biebz, Jay Band, and Fever is getting ready to spend her second summer on the shores. She's a part of the year round crew that staffs camp during the school year for various school and retreat groups. If you can't find Biebz, she is probably off hiking or enjoy a good rest in her hammock. A University of Michigan alum, she studied Nursing and has a passion for working with people who have special needs. During her younger years, she was a competitive figure skater for 15 years. Now she's a volunteer coach in Grand Rapids in her spare time. Jennie is looking forward to spending time in the wonderful community of camp and assisting the campers in learning more about their identity in God. To learn more about Jennie, click here.
Catherine Bradley aka Cate is a Newaygo native and is excited to be on staff for her first time this summer. Cate enjoys horseback riding, swimming and a is always down for a mad game of kickball. During the school year, Cate is attending Western Michigan and studying Biomedical Science and Nursing. She hopes to use her education to do mission work abroad in orphanages. A interesting fact about Cate is that she has a twin brother! Cate is looking forward to the campfires at night and swimming in Lake Kimball. It is her hope that each camper that attends Camp Henry will leave feeling like Camp has made them a better "them."
Sarah Allaben aka Saqua is going to call Camp Henry home for her third summer and can't wait for the 2014 theme "You Are More" to be applied. She because everyone from ages 1 to 100 can benefit from being reminded of how wonderful they are and how perfectly they were created. Saqua is an avid water polo player and loves to swim in all bodies of water. She can also wiggle her ears just like Marissa. She just graduated from Michigan State University with her Bachelor's degree in dietetics and will be returning in the fall to start on her master's degree. It is her goal this summer to the campers not just know but truly believe they are more.
Maura Davis is gearing up for her first summer at Camp Henry and can't wait to see it in summer mode. As Guest Services Director, she is one of a handful of year round staff. She hails from Royal Oak, MI and studied at Alma College. In her spare time she like to go hiking with her family, attempt to garden and walk her dog, Porter. A fun fact about Maura is that she likes to find and identify spiders. With her BS in Biology Education, she is passionate about helping kids unplug and appreciate spending time outdoors. To learn more about Maura, click here.
Madison Wojtkowski aka Madi or Wojo is following in her mother's footsteps by returning to the shores of Old Lake Kimball. Madi loves to play all sports from football to kickball. She is busy during the year studying Special Education and Psychology at Indiana Wesleyan. She enjoys working on arts and crafts projects when she has a free moment. She also has a very unique middle name, ask her what it is next time you see her! This summer, Madi can't wait to meet all the kids and help them realized that God loves them no matter what.
Nate Peterson aka Gator is headed to the shores for his first summer on staff. He can be found either playing sports, swimming or laying in his hammock when he has downtime. In fact, he is so good at swimming, he earned a scholarship to study and swim at Olivet Nazarene University. He is hoping to go into business management after college. He loves to skate and be active but most of all he loves to share God with others and show them that their faith is something to be proud of.
Genevieve Howell aka John-V spoken with a French accent will be spending her 3rd summer on staff at Camp Henry. She has been a year round staff member for the past two years and playing on the High Ropes Course. Genevieve is also one of our musically talented staff. She plays piano, violin and guitar. She claims to have been raised by polar bear for twelve years, although this may be up for debate. John-V is looking forward to the chaos of summer camp and hopes campers will learn more about the height and depth of the love of Christ. Click here to learn more about Genevieve.
Ben Thompson aka Thompson is from Dowagiac, MI and will be coming to Camp Henry for his 1st summer. He is currently studying at Michigan State and is hoping to pursue a career working with children or following his calling to ministry. When he is not in classes, he enjoys playing the Spartan marching band, watching old movies and going to the beach to soak up the sun and play in the water. This summer he is looking forward to warmer temperatures and helping kids have a wonderful experience at camp, especially those attending for the first time. Ben hopes campers can find a deeper understanding of God while they are here.
Amanda DeKuiper aka Mandi has one of the most important jobs at camp. She is our Food Service Director, which means she is in charge of running the kitchen and getting delicious food prepared for every single meal this summer. She is excited to meet all the people and kids that will come through camp over the summer months. Mandi is from Fremont, MI and when she has free time she enjoys camping, hiking, boating, fishing and swimming. She also has a gigantic book collection, enough to fill a library! Mandi's goal for the summer is to show campers and staff that camp food is great!
Jennifer Robelli aka Jen or Knower of all Things is the master mind behind the scenes that helps Camp Henry run so smoothly. During her time at camp, she has worn many hats and is currently the Camp Administrator. And yes, she really knows just about everything about what is going on at camp or how to get things done. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, Daisy. Her goal for this summer is to have everything on the office side of things run as smoothly as possible. She also hopes to get up to the horses for at least one trail ride and out on the lake to try out our new stand up paddle boards. For more information on Jen, click here.
Meet the 2014 Summer Staff! These short bios will help you get to know our awesome staff before summer even starts and this is just part one! Stay tuned for part two later this week. Pictures will come in early June once staff training gets underway.
Spencer Wild aka Swild is coming back to the shores for his 3rd summer on staff. His favorite outdoor activity is anything that is competitive or involves a ball. Swild is a Grand Rapids native and he enjoys reading, going to concerts and playing basketball when he is not studying for his classes at Hope College. A random fact about Swild is that he once swam 4 miles in the open ocean, now he can maybe swim 4 yards, on a good day, with floaties. He wants each camper that comes to Camp Henry this summer to simply know that they are loved.
Emily Cole is returning for her second summer on staff and is really looking forward to wearing crazy clothes, singing at the top of her lungs and being invested in campers' lives. When she is not at Camp Henry, she can be found cooking and eating delicious food, rock climbing, swimming or working in the garden. An interesting fact about Emily is that when she was a child, she was bitten by a deer at a petting zoo and has a picture to prove it! Her hope for the campers this summer is that they will try new things and find new gifts and abilities they didn't know they had before camp.
Marissa Vargo aka Maraqua or Mer or Merbin (take your pick) will be starting her 4th summer on staff after spending many summers on the shores as a camper. She just finished up her degree in Communications with a minor in Youth Studies and Recreation at Central Michigan University. She is also one of the handful of year round program staff at Camp Henry. She loves water activities, going on adventures and playing bandana tag. She is really excited to see how much returning campers have grown and help new campers grow as well. Marissa hopes that every camper will learn to be more positives, strong and confident by the time they leave camp this summer. Next time you see Marissa, ask her to wiggle her ears for you!
Ronald Hedgcock aka Ron is from Crystal Lake, IL and is joining the Camp Henry Summer Staff for his first summer on the shores. When he is not busy applying to be on the next Survivor, Ron likes to go camping and backpacking. He also enjoys board games, running and swimming. Ron has an extensive background in working at camps and is excited to be at Camp Henry and have the opportunity to serve in new ways. He studied Psychology and Political Science at Calvin and plans on working with kids. He hopes that each camper will come to know about the power of God's love and strength.
Jennifer Lewis aka Jenni, a former AC (assistant counselor) is wrapping up her first year at Grand Valley and will be spending the summer on staff for the first time. It's her goal to work for a nonprofit that focuses on children after she graduates. Her favorite outdoor activities are riding horses and playing soccer. She also plays the guitar and piano and is fluent in Spanish and working on learning American Sign Language. She is excited to see all the friendships campers will form and to help them grow in their faith and confidence.
JJ Jacobs has been able to call Camp Henry home for many summers, more summers than she can count on her fingers. Her favorite thing to do outside is go hiking and she also enjoys spending time with her family, going running and reading a good book. She can't wait to see campers smiling while they sing, play and enjoy camp this summer. Something you may not know about JJ is that she spent two summers living in a tent, planting trees for the forest service. JJ hopes that every camper will leave camp knowing that they are special.
Jake Jacobs is getting ready to spend his 18th summer on the shores as Camp Director. He is also the Executive Director of Camp Henry and is looking forward to having a front row seat to seeing lives changed (including his) at camp! Jake loves to go canoeing and traveling with his wife, JJ, and three sons, Levi, Luke, and Logan. A fun fact about Jake is that he once worked on a train in Alaska. His hope for each kid that comes to camp this summer is that they are loved just how they are. To learn more about Jake, click here.
Elizabeth Ray aka Liz, Lizzie, E-Ray, E-Beth is getting ready for her 4th summer on staff. She is from Benton, MO and after graduating from Southeast Missouri State with a BS in Recreation, she sought her dream job of working in camping ministry by coming to work at Camp Henry year round. She is so amped to see what the summer staff will accomplish and to see lives that are impacted while at camp. An interesting fact about E-Beth is that she is closer in age to her youngest niece than all her other siblings, other than her twin sister, of course! She hopes that campers will leave with the knowledge that they are more than they know. To learn more about E Ray, click here.
Erica Thomas aka Eri Cat is a California native who joins the Camp Henry Summer Staff after spending the past 10 months as year round staff. She is excited to experience her first summer on the shores and can't wait to sing, play and laugh all summer long. Erica loves to be active and can often be found on the waterfront SUPing or swimming. She has the unique ability to lick her own elbow despite claims that it is impossible. It is her desire that all summer campers will have a strong identity after their time at camp and that they will feel and know they are loved. To learn more about Erica, click here.
Madeline Karsten aka Maddy joins us from Grand Rapids for her 1st year on staff. She loves to go hiking and swimming in the great outdoors. She also likes to run, read and spend time with friends. A fun detail about Maddy is that she can't roll her tongue. She is thrilled to meet new people and change kids' lives this summer. She wishes that campers will learn and know that they are more than their mistakes or flaws and that they are always welcome at camp.
Kenny Hotaling aka God Father is coming to Camp Henry for the 9th summer in a row from Morro Bay, California. When he isn't teaching middle school, he is busy surfing and spending time with his family. His favorite activity at camp is wakeboarding and can often be found on the waterfront. Kenny is eager to explore the 2014 theme, You are more, and hopes that campers learn that God has a plan for them and that plan is GOOD!
Brianna Marshall will be spending her 3rd summer on the shores as a staff member and is looking forward to seeing the kids again and learning new things! She is one of a few California natives at Camp Henry. She came to Michigan to study Geology at Calvin and aspires to help rural areas deal with the effects of natural disasters. Her favorite outdoor activity is hiking and everyone loves to hear her sing with her beautiful voice. A random tidbit about Bri is that she met Arnold Schwarzenegger in California's state capitol, Sacramento. Bri's desire for campers this summer is that they understand that they are loved and that each of them has so much to offer the world.
Alexander MacDonald aka Maverick or Mav is coming back for a second season at Camp Henry. Outside of camp, Mav is working on his dream of becoming a pediatrician. Ask any camper from last summer and they can tell you that Maverick is an Ultimate Frisbee fantastic. He also enjoys reading, riding his motorcycle and solving Cryptics. A fascinating fact about Mav is that he had 6 wisdom teeth pulled when he was a teenager (that's two more than usual!). He can't wait to go mermaid watching this summer and help campers know they are loved.
Kelly Hotaling aka KB, Kelly Belly, or Schmeli is coming back for her 9th summer at Camp Henry. During the year, Kelly spends her time in beautiful California practicing physical therapy and helping people have more mobility and a greater quality of life. Kelly and Kenny have three daughters that come to camp for the summer as well. Kelly loves to go hiking, running and skiing. In fact, she has climbed the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states two times! She is looking forward to loving kids and staff and growing closer to Christ this summer. She hopes that every camper knows they are loved for who they are.
Hannah Kugele, who happens to love playing with and blowing bubbles outside, is a familiar face at Camp Henry despite this being her first summer on staff. Hannah is currently wrapping up her first year at Ashland University and hopes to become a reading teacher and eventually open up a boarding school. It should be no surprise that she loves to read and write. She also enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies and playing quidditch; in fact she is a beater on her school's quidditch team. She hopes that campers will learn that they have the power to make the world just as loving, caring and friendly as camp is.
Rachel Mindes aka Rae, Rach, Mindes is another long time Camp Henry camper and staff member. She is coming back for her 4th summer on staff. When she is not at Camp, she is working on her degree in Illustration at Kendall College of Art and Design. Mindes loves to go camping, hiking and swimming and she also enjoys a chill afternoon lying in the sand or on the deck. You can also find her on the four square court or on the A-field playing Bombo. She is thrilled to be able to impact and love on more kids this summer and help them learn to love and accept themselves!
Scott Fowler aka Scott Bro is another veteran staff member with 4 summers already under his belt. Scott Bro comes from St. Joseph, MI and is very musically talented. He spends time playing his guitar in a praise band and is eager to find new ways to positively impact kids' lives at camp. If you can't find Scott on the Dining Hall deck playing his guitar, you may be able to spot him searching for 4 leaf clovers. He is really good at finding them. Scott is looking forward to assisting campers as they learn to try new things and step outside of their comfort zone.
Even though this is Erin Eighmey's first summer at Camp Henry, she can't wait to be a part of all the traditions! Erin is a majoring in Public and Nonprofit Administration with a double minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management and Environmental Studies at Grand Valley. She hopes to put her studies to work with a nonprofit similar to Kid's Food Basket. When Erin isn't studying, she is busy crocheting scarves for the Winter Special Olympics. She also enjoys running or riding her bike and spending quality time with her family. Her hope for this summer is that campers know how valued and loved they are.
Sarah Veldman aka Serr-ah or Veldie is coming back for her second year on staff and can't wait to hang out with campers on the shores. She is excited to learn and experience God's love together with them this summer. Sarah's hometown is Coopersville, MI and she is currently attending Grand Valley and studying Clinical Exercise Science. She loves to play basketball, throw a Frisbee around, play guitar and go fishing. And even though she is not entirely sure what color her eyes are, she is certain that each camper will learn that God sees each of them as His perfect, amazing, and beautiful children.
India Daniels aka Inds is another new staff member who joins us from Chicago. She is just wrapping up her first year at Calvin College and can't wait to learn all the Camp Henry traditions this summer. She loves a good book or going on a hike in her spare time. A random fact about India is that one time she ended up with cornrows accidently and apparently they aren't a good look for her. Ask her about that sometime as there has to be a good story behind that! India is hoping that campers and staff will know that God loves each of them and that they will love others in the same way.
Jaclyn Mancos aka Jackie hails from Farmington Hills, MI and is about to start her first summer at Camp. She spends her free time doing yoga, swimming, cooking, and running when she is not caught up in her studies at Central Michigan. Jackie hoping to become a registered dietitian that helps families live healthier lives. She is thrilled with the opportunity to meet all the campers this summer and is hoping they understand that they are more than whatever it is that society depicts them to be. If you happen to start a pick-up game of soccer this summer, she's a good one to have on your team as she played for 11 years!
Molly Peterson aka Gilly loves a great game of smuggle and will be delighted to be playing it many times during her second summer on staff. Gilly is very comedic and will be sure to have you laughing whether you are kayaking, horseback riding or just playing a round of Euchre. She spends the school year studying Human Developmental and Family Studies at Michigan State. If you want to learn a fun fact about Gilly, ask her about her belly button, it's one of a kind! She is eager to return to the camp community and hopes that kids learn more about a life with Christ.
Have you met the Awesome version of yourself today? Natalie Barlow, a speaker from The Anima Series, shares how a simple change in how you view who you are can your world. Your identity in Christ is often far different than what the negative messages of this world and your own mind lead you to beleive.
You are Awesome. It's time to let the real You, light up the world!
If you liked this video, check out The Anima Series on YouTube. Parental warning, The Anima Series deals with many real life topics and some are meant for a mature audience.
2014 Theme Launch
Throughout the Summer of 2014, Camp Henry's theme will be You Are More.
Together we will discover who God says we are and how to embrace our identity in Him.
You are more than what this world says about you.
You are more than how tall or short you are
You are more than how others see you
You are more than your clothing size
You are more than an honor's student
You are more than the words you speak
You are more than the meds that you take
You are more than the choices that you make
You are more than the mistakes that you make
You are more than the things that you have done right
You are more than a star athlete
You are more than the funny things that you do
You are more than a victim
You are more than your past
You are more than the numbers of friends that you have
You are more than your swimming ability
You are more because your heavenly Father loves you no matter what. Here's who God says you are.
You are free (Romans 8:2)
You are safe (Romans 8:35)
You are included (Ephesians 1:13)
You are holy (Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 1:4)
You are forgiven (Colossians 3:13)
You are chosen (1st Peter 2:9)
You are beloved (Romans 1:7)
You are victorious (1st John 5:4)
You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are strong(Philippians 4:13, Colossians 1:11)
You are a Friend of God (James 2:23)
You are blessed (Ephesians 1:3)
You are accepted (Romans 15:7)
You are loved (Colossians 3:12, 1st Thessalonians 1:4)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
Check back each month for a new theme related blog post! And follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for #youaremoremondays and more theme related material