Michael Stairs: Hi. My name is Michael Stairs and I’m here to talk to you today about Tulsa’s summer camps. I work at one of Tulsa’s summer camps, Camp Loughridge in South Tulsa. We’re just about five or ten minutes west of Tulsa Hills. Camp Loughridge is one of the finest Tulsa summer camps. I’m glad that you’ve decided to join today. I want to talk today about the importance of our summer camp staff and where we get our camp staff, some of those kinds of things. Wedding Venues Tulsa
As you can imagine, camp staff is vitally important to any Tulsa summer camp, but especially to Camp Loughridge because we’re doing a lot more than just monitoring the safety and the activity of the kids here at Camp. We’re really trying to create situations and we’re trying to create an environment that will open kids up to really hear the Gospel, to hear about the creation, to hear about the Lord and that they would have an open heart to receive these things, and to learn about their world and their place in it. It’s really important to who we hire as counselors, and as ropes course techs, lifeguards, and all the different positions that we hire. We hire high school and college-aged kids, and as you can imagine, just like with any Tulsa summer camp, if you don’t have a great staff then it really doesn’t matter how great your program might be. Believe me, I know, and over 30 years of working at different Christian camps, that the kids do not drive away every day or every week talking about me. They talk about their counselor. They talk about the lifeguards. They talk about the cool guys and girls they worked on the ropes course. These are the ones that make the impact. They’re the ones that are building relationships daily with the kids and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the design of a good summer camp that we push that summer staff forward, so that the kids see them, interact with them, and ultimately, model their behavior. So that really brings out the importance of who we hire. Obviously, we want to be very careful. We want to be very thorough. We want to be strategic about who we bring on as our summer staff because if we don’t have the right staff, then nothing else matters. What kind of kids are we looking for? We could have a cattle call kind of summer staff application process where we just pretty much try to take on all comers, so we’ll show up on the school and just say, “Anyone who’s interested in being on staff, come to the classroom and we’ll talk about it”, but that’s not the way we do it. Wedding Venues Tulsa
First of all, we want to try to attract kids who are missions-minded. Now, what do I mean by that? Missions-minded is a kid who thinks outside himself, who has a sense of wanting to give back, has a sense of purpose, hopefully, even a kid who sees herself as someone who maybe want to be in full-time ministry when they get older, someone who really has a sense of purpose in their life. They’re not just looking for a summer job, but they’re looking for some way to create impact and influence on younger people. So, where do you find those kinds of kids? In any school, there are usually Leadership Clubs, Student Council, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, key clubs, these kinds of places where the kinds of kids that I’m looking for are going to tend to gravitate. I’ll probably start by networking with these organization leaders, the teacher, or the faculty representative, and really try to get some sense of who they have in their club and whether it’s worth my time or not, to spend a little time in front of that group to talk to them about the possibility of serving on staff at Camp Loughridge. I usually will like to spend about five minutes or so, just kind of setting up what being on staff at Camp Loughridge is all about and then hand out applications. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Another place that I will look for students is — of course we talked about high schools and colleges. Instead of just a regular state college where we go to OU, OSU, and University of Tulsa — but we also go to John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, Oral Roberts University, Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Baptist University. Of course, the one thing in common there is the fact that all of these are Christian Universities. And for a young person to choose a Christian University says something about them, says something about the kind of education that they want to have, the kind of environment they want to go to school in. And these are the kind of kids that would be the type of young person that I would want to have on staff. Again, someone that wants to surround themselves with other Christians, someone who wants to be a part of that kind of positive environment. I think the main thing is that I’m really not looking for someone who is just interested in a summer job. My sense of it is, if you’re just looking for a summer job, there are places where you could go, where you could probably earn a lot more money, where it’s not going to be nearly as hard or as challenging, and where you can really coast your way through the summer, hopefully, make some money. But as far as a real rewarding experience, that’s really not what you’re after, but like I’ve said, I really am after those kids who put experience and ministry, mission, those kind of things ahead of money. We’ll talk more about money in a minute because we do pay our staff, but I’ll talk more about that in a minute. Wedding Venues Tulsa
I usually try to shoot for a target of between 60% and 70% of every summer staff is returning from the previous year, this gives me enough — and this is probably what a lot of Tulsa summer camps do — but I try to shoot for that because it gives me enough experience on the staff that people pretty much know their way around, but it also gives me enough first-year students that there’s a good edge to the staff. Now, when I say edge, I mean there’s some butterflies in the tummy, there’s some nervousness about what’s going to happen and that edge, actually helps create good energy because the kids are excited about what’s going to happen. I think, if kids have been on staff too many years, a lot of that excitement is gone and they don’t feel excited anymore and they’ve kind of laid back. At a place like a summer camp, you really want the energy to be as high as possible. Wedding Venues Tulsa
A lot of people ask, “This is a mission, you’ve stated that this is more of a ministry than it is a job, so do you pay your summer staff?”. Yes, we do pay. Camp Loughridge pays all the way from minimum wage all the way up to, probably, $10 or even a little bit more per hour, depending on the position, depending on certifications needed and things like that. We do pay by the hour. Usually, staff arrives at about eight o’clock in the morning and we’re done by five o’clock in the afternoon. As you can imagine, it’s a full day. They get — lunch is included, t-shirt is included, as well as, quality leadership training, all of those things are included with the experience of being on summer staff. I believe, that for a young person who’s involved in a youth group right now, who sees that they may want to go into full-time ministry in sometime in their future, I see summer camp as being an excellent place for them to spend their time. There are a lot of great Tulsa summer camps, but I want to encourage you to consider working at Camp Loughridge.
If you are a young person or know of a young person who’s interested in full-time ministry at some point in their future. Being on staff at Camp Loughridge will force you into a realistic walk with Jesus Christ because in that moment, when that little guy or little girl skins her knee or is crying because they miss their mom, or they’re asking some of the bigger questions of life, you’re not going to be able to call your Youth Pastor, you’re not going to be able to look back at your notes from last year, you’re going to have to give that young person, that camper, what you have in your own heart, so it forces you to find that place where you can minister out of, if that makes sense. This is no longer theoretical. It’s no longer just a dream, but this is real boots on the ground, hands on ministry with God’s precious children. If that’s something you’re interested in, if you know someone that may be interested in being on staff at Camp Loughridge, one of Tulsa summer camps. Then we want you to give us a call at 918-446-4194 and ask for an application or for more information. That’s 918-446-4194. Thanks for joining us. This has been Michael Stairs at Camp Loughridge Tulsa summer camps. Thank you very much. Wedding Venues Tulsa