Just a Little Bit Longer4 min read

Do you like surprises? What about when you get together with a group of people and you are surprised by how much you enjoy and appreciate their company—so much that you wish it did not have … to … end?

That is a summer camp experience. A surprise ending! The best and the worst day of camp is the last day. Surprised by the friendships and the personal growth. Leaving to go home knowing there is a community that cares for you. Wishing it did not have to end.

Maybe you have read about friendships that result from fighting a battle together. While camp is not a battle, it is a commitment through the new and the unknown. Living and serving together. Young adults who take on this calling and challenge to serve as summer ministry staff walk away with incredible life stories, life skills, and lifelong friendships.

To help explain this more, let me introduce Qu, Tallawah, and Goldfish (camp aliases). Read what they have to say about the value of their summer ministry staff experience—the experience they might have liked to have just a little bit longer. Then see what a few camper parents have to say.

“As a Cabin Leader at Camp Concordia, I not only had the opportunity to see and facilitate growth in my campers, but I also got to grow myself. Over the summer, sharing Jesus became much more comfortable than it ever has been. I went to a public high school, so my faith was supposed to be kept quiet there, it got to the point where I had very little faith altogether. Over the summer this changed. My faith became a central part of my life because of the environment of camp. Furthermore, my professional skills increased. I learned how to communicate with others, and how to problem solve in order to accomplish my goals. My time at camp truly helped me to develop skills and a mindset which will be beneficial to my life outside of camp.” Qu (Abby Yakimow – Concordia University, Wisconsin)

“Camp Concordia summers never disappoint me. This summer (2022) I had the opportunity to be the Program Coordinator as well as the waterfront director. These jobs have given me so many skills that I could take with me in the future. I am studying to be a Director of Christian Education someday and this summer helped me grow tremendously in my leading skills. Most importantly I grew closer to Jesus. Camp has and will always hold a special place in my heart.” Tallowah (Chloe Dahn – Concordia University, Nebraska)

“Working at Camp Concordia has proven to be an extremely rewarding opportunity for me. The honor to help bring Christ to all of the campers was a very fulfilling experience. Throughout the summer, I witnessed my campers learning and growing in their faith. Not only was I able to teach the campers about how their faith applies to their life, but the campers also taught me so much about myself. I had the opportunity to gain experience as a Christian and as a person. My experience at Camp Concordia gave me the chance to learn numerous new skills that I will be able to use outside of camp.” Goldfish (Luke Minnick – Bethany College, Indiana)

“I realized it was harder for me than her, but she was ready. I let go and she was so proud of herself. She wanted to stay longer. . . I did it!” (First-time Explorer Mom of 6-year-old)

“This was our first year sending our son to overnight camp, so we had a number of questions. The staff was so responsive and helpful in answering our questions. They put our minds at ease both before camp started and during his week at camp. He had a fantastic weekso much so that he wanted to stay longer! Thanks for all you did for all the kids this summer and for being there to support us first-timer parents. He is already talking about next summer!” (Mom of 9-year-old)

“My daughter had a great time again this year. She came home full of joy, more centered/focused and more at peace. I attended Camp Concordia when I was her age (about 35 years ago); it’s so special that we have this awesome shared experience. I am truly grateful for Camp Concordia and the amazing work you all do thereit’s such a blessing. THANK YOU!!! (Mom of 13-year-old)

I like surprises. Well, most of them. And these notes from staff and camper parents are always a delightful surprise that God sets before me each year. Surprises I would also like to have just a little bit longer.

Applications are open for 22 total summer ministry staff positions. Go immediately to You will be contacted for an interview after application is received.

Photo courtesy of Camp Concordia

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About the Author

Dr. Craig S. Oldenburg has been involved full-time in Lutheran outdoors ministry since 1987. He has also served as a teacher, youth minister, and college professor. He has served as Camp Concordia’s Director since April 2014.

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