Greetings, from Pioneers For Christ.
This page is an introduction to our Summer Camp Program for those interested in Counselor Training Program (CTP) and Camp. We appreciate your desire to serve on the Team at Camp. We believe that it is just as important to build a great Camp Staff/Team as it is to put together an exciting and engaging Camp Program; both have been non-negotiable contributors to our success over the span of the past three decades. Therefore, at Pioneers For Christ, we believe it is critical for every member of our Team (Counselor or Gofer) to fully participate in our summer-long Counselor Training Program (CTP).
In order to be eligible for the Counselor Training Program (CTP), we require that each Team member:
Of course, there are minimal requirements that we believe are more negotiable, but should be used as a less-critical guideline:
Jesus Christ chose human disciples to first experience, and then share, the Gospel. We seek partners in this ministry who desire to (and have been trying to) share "the love they received from Christ" in a way that "Jesus would be honored", and would be willing to learn more of what it means to center one's life around the Gospel, and share in Gospel-ministry as a team. To better prepare ourselves for Christ-centered ministry, we provide the Counselor Training Program to encourage personal Gospel-transformation; some fruits of transformation would lie in the power to live biblically-wise lives in the context of community.
We desire those who are motivated for this ministry—those who would rise to the challenge of learning more of Christ and His ministry in this special context of Camp, to children and youth. As the nature of our ministry is about personal care (and, of course, fun), we desire Counselors who have a genuine love for children and youth. It's true—we do not desire the brightest, nor the most physically able, nor the most outgoing personality (simply having these qualities does not qualify you as a good Team member at PFC, or even a leader in the church, for that matter); we've turned down Staff candidates that many other ministries would embrace, and we've developed deep partnerships over the years with people who never stood out in any ministry. Why? Because we believe that it isn't about skills, or knowledge, or "who" you know, or how long you've been around; we believe it's about transformed Gospel-focused character and teach-ability (humility). In other words, we're not looking merely for "good" or "nice" people, since the Christian life isn't about being "good" or "nice". It's about being new.
Although physical perseverance is needed to endure the summer's training and ministry, we hope for growth in character, humility, and love, since that is the only thing that will enable a Counselor to make it through two weeks of Camp—not personal will and ability to endure, but a genuine love that comes from a transformed heart. A ministry driven by personal "goodness" looks very different from a ministry driven by Gospel-transformation; personal "goodness" has limits and is driven by obligation, whereas a ministry driven by the Gospel springs out of joy and freedom (and there is a visible difference).
We want to encourage our Camp Staff of two realities:
Therefore, the purpose of our counsel is to set others free, and to practically demonstrate Gospel freedom and love in Christ.
Let us discuss life and faith together (in person, phone or email).
For immediate questions, email email@example.com.
Providential blessings, as you consider applying to become a member of our Team.
By His Grace,
Pioneers For Christ
On one hand, both PFC and our ministry at Camp has changed drastically, and continues to evolve after every year of development (ever since 1989). The "face" of youth ministry—our approach to our ministry to children, continues to develop and grow. Nevertheless, with the many decades of collective experience under our belt, we believe that there are some qualities that are absolutely essential for a Staff member to be successful at Camp. There are also some additional qualities that are critical for a Counselor to be able to adapt to the emerging developments in our approach.
The following are some possible characteristics of a successful candidate for Camp ministry. Of course, possessing these characteristics does not guarantee success. For more definition on most of these points, please refer to the Core Values of the PFC Ministry.
(1) You have a strong desire to center your life around the Gospel—this results in repentance and humility, and a sober confidence that comes by faith—a desire to see your sins, and a desire to transform in Christ (and we do not take this lightly), expressed through sharing openly and deeply in community. You have a strong desire to see how the Gospel is applied to our lives (you desire to think about the Christian life). You have a personality and emotional composition that is being shaped by the Gospel.
Note: Please review our thoughts on PERSONAL CREDIBILITY AND REPUTATION.
(2) You desire to be counseled biblically, you desire to learn what it means to self-counsel biblically (and think with greater biblical wisdom), and you have a desire to counsel others in biblical maturity.
(3) You have a strong desire to grow in community—you believe that good community is critical to Christian growth, and the shaping of your worldview; you believe in being a part of a ministry team. You believe that, on your own, your worldview is more potentially flawed outside of any insight from others. You understand what it means to be part of the Body of Christ (the Church), and desire to partake in that community.
(4) You have a strong desire to innovate; you desire to be inspired, and to inspire others. You desire to look to renew and improve all things that you touch (rather than always looking for shortcuts to reduce your workload).
(5) You have a strong desire to minister with children and youth. And you desire to continue serving with Children and Youth long after Camp in one way or another. You are physically able (and willing) to carry out the daily demands of being a proactive Camp Counselor. You enjoy the outdoors, and are prepared for the difficulties of ministry outdoors.
Please keep in mind—PFC, CTP, and Camp do not exist to help "make you into a better Christian", although all Christians are called to minister to others; we desire to partner and train you to minister to others (to practically live out the Gospel and our Core Values). We do not exist to help you to begin learning how to "do" ministry; our Camp projects are way too short-term to be used as a personal "self-help" program; rather, we desire to help you further develop your approach to ministry, based on a foundational love and experience of the rational truths of the Gospel that is shared by all members of our Team.
THINKING CHRISTIANS are what we, the "Genesis" Core Ministry Team, desire to develop through CTP and Camp. We will challenge you to think through the underlying foundations and applications of Christian thinking—the theology, spirituality, and culture we live in, as well as the "Why people do the things they do," and "how ministry happens," etc. We are interested in candidates who are searching for biblical answers, to think biblically (and to think critically). Together, we will actively seek after greater understanding of the Gospel (the Gospel that saves us from our self-centered desires and self-driven performance). Thinking critically enables you—together with the humility that comes from Gospel-conviction—to see, confess, and address areas of your life, ministry, and church in ways that you never would have done before.
PERSONALITY AND EMOTIONAL COMPOSITION: Sin results in brokenness of our world—our individual and community lives; as a result, the Gospel addresses the flaws of our personality. We do not maintain a philosophy of "that's just how I am. We believe that all portions of our personality are either driven by Gospel-transformation or by idolatry. The Gospel morally redeems the weak parts of personality. God changes our hearts (and in turn, our personality) so that we would more faithfully express the Gospel-love of Jesus Christ to others. If the Gospel addresses my fundamental character, then it surely addresses the often-overlooked aspects as well. Emotional composition refers to a wide range of personal issues—such as fears, insecurities, passions, introverted-extroverted qualities, the ability to be open, how you handle others' emotions and their counseling concerns, social sensitivity to others, and overall ability to handle the difficulties of life.
PERSONAL CREDIBILITY AND REPUTATION: Your personal and moral reputation(s) are significant (though not ultimately determinant of your "whole" person). Reputation is one expression of your credibility, which, in turn, becomes fundamental to how you are regarded by Campers. Campers (let alone anyone else, for that matter) will not consider your counsel if you yourself have not been maturing (and/or have a negative reputation for living out the Gospel). They will tend to disregard your counsel if you have not carried yourself in a credible manner. If you have not been credible in the past year in your respective communities, then you may have a hard time being credible at Camp. If you have NOT lived (spiritually) credibly according to Christ and His Gospel, and rather lived selfishly, materialistically, self-indulgently—for physical pleasure and personal gain, etc., then you need greater reminders of the Gospel (you need counsel); children and youth will not refer to you in counsel, nor take your leadership seriously, at Camp.
TEAM MINISTRY: Though Camp counseling requires individual understanding of the Gospel (and growth in repentance, humility, and Christian love and character), and personal skills in spiritual leadership, we value corporate ministry—the power of working together as one unified team—with one goal, vision, and hope. Much encouragement, accountability, mutual push-for-excellence are parts-and-parcels to a team ministry. If you seek a team-based ministry, this counseling experience has been, and promises to be, a good partnership. If you are more individualistic and do not value a team ministry, then this Camp experience will be difficult and not enjoyable.
PHYSICALLY ABLE AND WILLING means having the ability to physically endure leading children through the Camp experience (including recreation). It means you are not prone to physical weariness; Camp is a physically-demanding experience—we take personal preparation for Camp seriously, even from a physical standpoint. Lack of endurance and physical inability will inhibit your performance as a small group leader (in leading a cabin) and will, at various times, cause loss of spiritual counseling opportunities (since your fatigue will prevent wise counsel to be expressed). If you cannot "run" with the children, you may not be prone to be motivated to continually respond well to the children's spiritual needs. Although this does not disqualify you from candidacy, we strongly encourage you to examine yourself in this area.
Here are some reasons why NOT to apply. Soberly consider (and re-consider) your motivation for applying to our Counselor Training Program. Although some of these reasons are not flawed by themselves, we believe that, if they are primary reasons for your participation this summer, they may indicate a lack of preparedness for what lies ahead.
DO NOT APPLY IF SOME OF THE FOLLOWING ARE YOUR PRIMARY REASON/S FOR WANTING TO BE A MEMBER OF OUR PFC TEAM:
We are careful to ask you, at the least, to provide an assessment, pending our review of your application—with regards to your availability, commitment, sense of calling (short-term for the summer, but also overall sense of "where/how the Lord is leading you to serve"), and desire to minister to children in our setting. We want to do our due diligence to ensure, to the best of our "flawed" ability to assess, that your experience for the summer will be aligned with our Core Values and ministerial hope for the children who enter into our sphere of shepherding. We ask you to prayerfully consider your calling, your character, and your commitment to this annual "project".
MAJOR REASON: There could be many complex reasons for wanting to be a Counselor or Gofer. This list exists as to help those interested to consider their primary motivations for wanting to candidate as a Counselor or Gofer (we hope that God's work of sanctification even through this "self-screening" process, as well as the Spirit's guidance of the candidate and the Genesis Core Team will clarify the candidate's reason/s for candidacy).
PAST YEAR: A length of time, which serves as a reasonable "range" for a stable Christian life and faith to mature and develop. For returning Counselors, a year means "since a previous year of service at Camp".
In ministries and missions, most people who serve do not make any "profit". Those who serve usually sacrifice, not only time and effort, but personal finances to serve others. This method is counter-intuitive to most secular enterprises and endeavors. In our case, we're not sure what the personal rewards are (except for living out our calling in the Gospel). We are convinced that this ministry is an expression of our love of God in Jesus Christ, and obeying His command to love others, for this generation; the heartbeat of our Team beats freely at the thought of innovating ministerial approaches to the people we minister to—this is built into our "Core Values".
In this ministry, we ask that the Staff candidate sacrifices time, efforts, AND provide the necessary funds for ministry. Each of us provides the funds for our own training! Other camps, conferences, or retreat ministries may, at the least, provide for the camp-retreat costs, and may possibly provide a stipend; ours currently does not. Thus, your very participation is an outward act of Gospel love: your financial sacrifice alone will lead to the spiritual advancement of others.
We do want to provide as much support as we can as a ministry. We are thinking of how to develop the financial infrastructure of this ministry for the years to come to offset the financial burdens for ministry so that we can consistently maintain an encouraged, motivated team. We are asking you to commit to increasing our efforts to broaden our support network.
We hope that the financial obligations will not be the inhibitor of your participation with us. But knowing the reality of the financial cost, we want you to consider this cost before you apply. However, we strongly suggest that you make us aware of your financial situation, so that we can do what we can to make arrangements to support anyone who is in greater need, but is a good "fit" for our team; this way, we can explore every possible option so that finances can be less of a hindrance to your active participation.
Like others who gain funds for projects like short-term missions, we ask our Counselor candidates to garner financial and spiritual support from friends, family and churches; we do have a Ministry Support Network (MSN) fund-raising campaign for you to receive support funds from friends, family, and any other donor who would like to support your participation in this ministry. Despite the fact that many of our team members hold full-time or part-time jobs to sustain their lives, we ask ALL members of our Team to participate in our MSN campaign. Why? Several reasons: (1) it is not a natural thing to ask for help; this is one practical way that each Team member can see the larger Church at work to do the work of the Lord; (2) it IS a natural thing to be self-sufficient, and so, we believe the MSN campaign forces each Team member to learn what it means to rely on other people (God's provision of resources through the Church) for support; (3) it is not a natural thing to be dependent on the Lord, and so, this aspect of our ministry teaches us to continually rely humbly on the calling of the Lord, the provision of the Gospel, and the provision of our faithful Father through the ministry of the Church.
Each summer, in the beginning, we request that you submit your Counselor Training Program Fee of $250, which covers for application processing, materials (handouts, books, CDs, notebook, online and digital resources, etc.), all off-site reservations, facilities usage, seminar location reservations, and 'lock-in'/meeting meal/snack expenses, as well as our standard Counselor/Staff gear. However, such fees will not cover ALL of the cost of training the Team (such as the cost of overnight trips, 'lock-ins' at Camp, dinners out withTteam members, etc.). Some of the costs have been offset by PFC/Genesis Core Team funds, or by gifts by some of the personnel.
If you have any questions about the financial obligations or the use of these funds, feel free to ask.
|DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPENSE||SUBTOTAL||DUE DATES|
|CTP Fee: $250||$250||Rookies: Due with Application/Interview; Veterans: Due by CTP Orientation.|
|Staff Camp Fee Per Week @ Camp: $280||$280x2=$560||Camp Fees are due no later than August 12. You will not be able to enter into Camp until this balance is fully paid. This can be subsidized via MSN support.|
|CTP Road Trip (Lodging and Meals)**||$180**||This is an estimated cost. PFC covers a large portion of the Road Trip lodging, including at least one large meal.|
|Optional: Dinners with team members throughout the summer***||~$100||Total after 2 months of CTP.|
|Grand Total||~$1090||A minimum $250 is required to-start. Every other cost is either negotiable, subsidized, or drawn from ministry support.|
**Each summer, our team embarks on a Road Trip as part of the Program. Although we subsidize for some costs, we ask that you prepare to pay part of your way (up to $180 total, as stated above).
***On an ad-hoc basis, members of our Team tend to eat together after each weekly meeting; this has been an optional, but always essential, part of our building of Team chemistry.
The following program schedule for CTP and Camp is provided so that the Counselor-candidate would carefully consider availability and ability to participate fully in our summer ministry. We desire your 100% participation in CTP and Camp, but would like to be as reasonable as possible, meaning, that, although some exceptions will be allowed, if we assess that you cannot actively participate in our training and ministry, we believe it would be wisest for you to pursue other ministry options. We take the notion of team-building as seriously as individual development in this ministry, and neither will happen if your presence is lacking, and if you fail to complete the training aspects in the off-hours.
We desire that you have no conflict with your schedule with any portion of the CTP/Camp schedule below. If there are any major conflicts in your personal schedule, please let them be known with the Executive Director, even prior to applying to the Program.
The following are the Staff** needs for Camp2018:
|Women||4 Senior Counselors
3 Junior Counselors
|4-5 Senior Counselors
2-3 Junior Counselors
|Men||4 Senior Counselors
3 Junior Counselors
|4-5 Senior Counselors
2-3 Junior Counselors
**A large part of our Staff involves an "invisible" team that manages the Operations of the Camp Program during the two weeks at Camp; we call them the "Gofers". We do not have an application process for serving as a Gofer, since the demands of a Gofer far-exceed any expectations anyone would have. We hand-pick our Gofer team by reaching out to certain trustworthy individuals who would like to partner with us. Gofers do regularly participate in MANDATORY CTP primary activities. If you would like to be considered for a Gofer position, please contact the Executive Director via email personally.
|FOR STAFF CANDIDATES, AS YOU CONSIDER CTP AND CAMP2018|
|Camp1: Youth/High School Week
(8th Grade through 12th Grade)
|Aug 12 (Sun) to Aug 18 (Sat)|
|Camp2: Children's Week
(2nd Grade through 7th Grade)
|Aug 19 (Sun) to Aug 24 (Fri)|
|You must declare your interest in joining our team no later than Saturday, April 22, 2017.|
|SCHEDULE FOR PREPARATION||CRITICAL NOTES / SUGGESTIONS||DUE DATE|
|Share Your Interest in Joining Our Team||Declare your intent as soon as possible, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling the Executive Director; an interview date will be scheduled.||No later than April 22|
|Schedule Interviews in Philadelphia||After declaring your intent, an interview will be scheduled. Each interview can last between one-to-two hours, and will involve at least one person.||Soon after declaring intent|
|Purchase, Receive, and Complete Preliminary Readings for the Application||If you are selected to continue after an initial assement upon your interview, we will send you the application along with a list of article/s. The article/s will take about 1 day to read thoroughly; you must answer questions related to the article/s in the Application. Submit the answers with the Application as directed.||Post-interview|
|Staff Application Submitted||The entire application can take up to two weeks, but keep in mind, we may request references to be completed and submitted. In addition, a book response paper must be completed as part of the application. Submit your CTP Fee with your application; it will be refunded to you if your application is not accepted.||TBC|
|Schedule Final Interviews in Philadelphia||After submitting your application, a final interview will be scheduled.||TBC|
|Decision for Staffing||We will contact you via telephone, with any necessary details to follow.||TBC|
|COUNSELOR TRAINING PROGRAM||ADDITIONAL NOTES||DATE|
|CTP Orientation||All Staff||June 2-3|
|Break 1||Homework will be spread out for Underclassmen||Jun 9-10|
|CTP 1 (Online)||"CTP Underclassmen" only||Jun 16-17|
|CTP 2 (Lock-in)||"CTP Underclassmen" only; online component (audio-video) with mandatory wiki-online assignment||Jun 23-24|
|CTP Sabbath 1 (Full Week)||Complete "rest" from ANY Camp preparation activity||Jun 30 - July 1|
|CTP 3||Mandatory WEEKEND for ALL Staff;|
Held at an undisclosed location
|CTP Road Trip||Strongly advised (although optional) for all Staff; traveling all weekend||Jul 13-16|
|CTP 4 (Online)||"CTP Underclassmen" only||Jul 21-22|
|CTP Sabbath 2||Semi-"rest" from Camp prep activity; no meetings||Jul 28-29|
|CTP 5 (Retreat)||Mandatory for all Staff; Three meetings, but "non-lock-in";|
Camp production the week following
|CTP Evening of Prayer||Mandatory for ALL Staff||Aug 11|
|Advance Delivery||All available/necessary Staff members requested||Aug 12|
|CTP Staff Banquet||Strongly advised for ALL Staff; approximately 8PM-11PM||Aug 12|
|Camp Debrief||To prepare to return to life after missions at Camp, at an undisclosed location||Aug 26-28|