By Chris Varela
Some of the most life-changing seasons of my life have happened while at Mount Hermon. After my first summer as a counselor at Redwood Camp, a passion for ministry was awakened in me as my eyes had been opened to what appeared to be a gift and enthusiasm God had given me for working with elementary-aged children. This call, though in its early stages at the time, was further confirmed as I spent the next several summers working in a camp-setting.
By the time I was 23, I had worked three summers at Redwood camp, one summer at a camp in Texas, and had done a 9-month stint with Mount Hermon’s Outdoor Science School. I thought my time pursuing kids and youth ministry as a full-time vocation had ended when I took a job in a non-related field doing marketing and project management, but it seemed as though God had a different plan.
A year later, after a series of events that led me back into full-time vocational ministry, I found myself as the Director of a thriving Middle School and High School Ministry at a church. To this day I serve in this role and find myself praising God for the road He led me down to get me to there. Had it not been for the life changing, faith strengthening, passion awakening seasons of life that occurred at Mount Hermon, I would not be doing what I am doing in my current role.
These days, because of my own highly personal and intimate experiences at Mount Hermon throughout the years, I place a huge priority on getting my own students to a Mount Hermon camp. I want them to experience the same life-change that I did! To me, it’s an essential part of their spiritual growth to experience God in the unique retreat setting that Mount Hermon offers. Whether it’s the beautiful location in the forest, the intentional programming, the Christ-centered curriculum, or committed staff members, I have found that the truths my students discover at Mount Hermon to be an indispensable part of their faith, and our church’s ministry to middle schoolers and high schoolers.
Chris Varela serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church. He spent several summers working at Redwood Camp and then joined our year-round staff doing all kinds of awesomeness in our Creative Services department.