John, the director of Camp Timberlake, just wrote a new blog focused on one of our core values as a camp, professional development. I thought it was too good not to share with the Merri-Mac world as well. Enjoy!
We develop staff.
It’s one of our core values as an organization. (Technically it’s number 2 of 5 core values. You can check out the complete list below.) But what does that mean exactly? It means that we are not only committed to hiring staff who are already outstanding role models and excellent in what they teach, but we are also committed to ensuring that every staff member will finish the summer having grown both personally and professionally. How that happens for our staff is the exciting part.
Personal growth can be difficult to quantify and sometimes difficult to even recognize in the moment, but that’s exactly what happens to every staff member at camp through challenging experiences and intentional coaching. The challenging experiences happen all on their own: this job is hard! Caring well for our campers, creating a fun and engaging community to invite them into and constantly being vigilant is work that stretches our staff members in healthy ways. Additionally, as they lead cabin devotionals, plan cabin activities, compete with their tribe and work in very close conjunction with other staff members their leadership, communication and interpersonal skills are honed in a remarkable way.
Professionally, the development begins long before campers even arrive. Every staff member participates in a mandatory six day staff training week and many are in training for closer to two full weeks. Our wilderness discipline instructors are trained by the best in the outdoor industry; Rock guide instructors for the climbers, PMBI level 2 certified mountain bikers, swiftwater and ACA level 5 paddling instructors. Once in camp, our staff members will gain over 200 hours of teaching experience and our expedition team members will log close to 50 field days guiding day long and overnight wilderness experiences. It doesn’t stop in the fall either, as Merri-Mac’s continuing education program allows our climbing staff to pursue their Single Pitch Instructor certification, counselors to pursue their Wilderness First Responder certification, water staff to pursue swiftwater rescue, and much more.
Whether a staff member is with us for one or five summers, the approach is the same: we train them to be the best in the industry so that our campers always receive the best care and experience possible. We get the added bonus of watching our amazing leaders and role models go on to be just that in their career, their families, their communities and churches. We love being a part of that process. Join us this summer.
Merri-Mac’s Core Values
We love campers.
We develop staff.
We build community.
We care about details.
The Gospel is the agent of change.