Cedarville’s summer camp fair offers students many opportunities and fills a need for the summer camps in attendance

By Rachel Anderson

Cedarville University hosted a Summer Camp Fair in the upper level of the Stevens Student Center from Jan. 23 until Feb. 3. Camps that wanted to participate could choose one day to set up an informational table where students could ask questions, learn about their ministry, and even get free merchandise such as stickers, notebooks, and pens. The tables lined the walkway outside of the DeVries Theater, leading into the Dining Hall. Five new camps were set up each day, with a total of 49 different camps attending the event.

Twenty-two different states were represented at the Summer Camp Fair. Some of the camps were close to campus with locations in Ohio and its surrounding five states, others were farther away, such as locations in Arizona, Iowa, Florida, and Maine. 

One of the camps in attendance was Camp Joy, which is located in Clarksville, Ohio. Camp Joy’s Client Relations Manager, Cori Cleveland, said that they decided to set up a table at Cedarville for two reasons: One, being located near Cedarville allows the camp to build and maintain close relationships with Cedarville students; two, she admires the way Cedarville shapes its students into the types of people that are ideal for camp counselors and staffers.

“Cedarville produces students that have a care and a passion for what they’re doing. You’re not going here because it’s just some other degree that you can get. You chose to be here,” Cleveland said. “I think that purposeful and driven interaction is beneficial, especially for what our kids need.”

CentriKids Event Coordinator Tiffany Francis also recognizes Cedarville students’ passion. She believes that Cedarville students have “a really unique opportunity” to use their summers to work on a team and share their passion for Christ with the campers.

“It’s really important for kids to hear the Gospel in the Scripture from people who aren’t their parents or Sunday School teachers that they see every day,” Francis said. “I think they can really connect to college students who are passionate about the gospel.”

Cedarville junior, Abby Graef, attended the Summer Camp Fair during her freshman year. She had heard about Twin Lakes Camp from a few of her friends, but the fair allowed her to see the camp, talk to staff, and ask financial questions.

“I probably would not have worked at this camp without their table being in the SSC and me happening to be walking by with a friend who knew of the camp,” Graef said. “We ended up both getting a flyer, applying, and working together that summer.”

She served as a camp counselor her first summer there, and, this past summer, she had the opportunity to serve as the Program Assistant. Graef is a Biblical Studies major, and working at camp has made her consider working full-time in camp ministry.

“It is really cool to hear what your campers take away from their week of camp,” Graef said. “I got to lead someone to Christ for the first time as a counselor which was super sweet. It can be discouraging because you will not always see the fruit, but there are some really impactful moments with your campers. It is a ton of fun and I believe in the impact camp ministry has on people, as I got saved at a camp myself.”

Ever since Graef truly understood salvation at a camp in sixth grade, she knew she wanted to work at one. She is an advocate for students working at summer camps, as it has changed her life.

 “I would recommend college students working at least one summer at camp,” Graef said. “You will have so many sweet memories, and God will use you to make a difference if you let him.”

Rachel Anderson is a sophomore AYA English education major. She enjoys running, reading, and traveling in her free time.

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