Sky Ranch Spotlight

IMG_0995

(Members of the 2015 summer staff, including Dave’s Son, Joe, center)

Church Camp has always been an important part of my life. As a kid, I went to camp every summer in Texas until I was no longer able to attend as a camper.. Then I did the obvious thing. I started working at camp as a counselor. My wife did the same growing up in Iowa.

When my wife, Renee and I had children, we obviously wanted them to have the same experiences with camp we had as children growing up. We saw to it they went to camp every summer; first with us when they were very young as we took kids to confirmation camp and then to family camp. Eventually, they were old enough to go to camp on their own. They had a great time and it was part of our summer routine.

When our oldest son Joseph, expressed interest in working at Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp, we were very excited. At first, he was too young to work as a full time staff member but he could participate in a program that would allow him to be at camp for an extended period of time and develop leadership skills as a volunteer. He camp home after that first summer very anxious to go back the following summer; which he did.

Two summers ago, Joseph was finally old enough to work at camp for the entire summer as a fully fledged summer staff person. I have never seen him so excited about anything in his life! He had a great experience working that summer and went back to camp a second year this past summer. He is currently looking forward to returning again this upcoming summer.

I truly believe Joseph’s experiences at working at Sky Ranch have been some of the best in his life. It is because of Sky Ranch and his desire to work on staff, that he was motivated to learn and play the guitar. He so much wanted to play guitar at worship and sing a longs as a staff member.

I also have witnessed a great deal of growth and maturity in Joseph because of his experiences at Sky Ranch. He has met people from all over the United States at camp and has developed friendships that will last a lifetime. He has learned on a deeper level the importance of responsibility and sharing responsibility with others. He has learned how to deal with problems and how to solve those problems; sometimes’ on his own while other times collectively with other staff members. He has grown deeper in his faith as he has lived it out through the ministry of the camp to young people. It has allowed him to think more deeply about what he believes and not be afraid to ask questions about who he is as a child   of God and what God is calling him to be in this life. He has experienced the beauty of creation; not only in the beaL1tiful scenery around the camp, but also through the people and the relationships he has developed.

I have seen my son grow and mature in very positive ways over the past four years. Much of that maturity has to do with the ministry of Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp. As a parent, I am very thankful for this and give thanks to God for this important ministry to both campers and staff in our Church.

Thanks be to God for Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp!

Dave Kiel
West Columbia, South Carolina

Each month we will highlight a story from a camper, staff, adult sponsor volunteer or guest on their experience at Sky Ranch. 

Past Sky Ranch Spotlights

Joe and Luke Rein

Haley Plucheck

Dave Kiel

Robin Lutjohann

Katharine Ritzi

Ben Fulton

Meagan Murphy

Kaari Von Bernuth

Doug Hill

Caitlin Almer