Our new Director, Andy Warken, is a third generation camp director. Both his father and grandfather directed camps for Word of Life Ministries. Andy spent his early childhood on the mission field in Spain, and then his teenage years working at Word of Life Ranch in upstate New York. While on summer staff he had a life-changing encounter with Christ that set him on a course of full-time ministry in camping.
He headed for Bible college in West Virginia to attain a bachelor’s degree in camp ministry. It was the white water rivers of the Appalachian Mountains that drew him there, and he spent three years as a professional river guide. He came away with a love for moving water and wilderness ministry, as well as an even greater love for his wife, Emily, who he met doing “campy” things while they were students.
For the last ten years Andy has served as the Director of Programming for multiple sites and various year-round ministries at Lake Geneva Youth Camp in Wisconsin. While this was a rewarding assignment, Andy felt the tug back to a wilderness mountain setting where white water and horses were a part of the everyday scenery.
In June of this year Andy, Emily and their four young kids, (Lily, Claire, River and Bode), headed out for an adventurous cross-country trek to Kidder Creek. They have spent the summer getting to know the community, staff, river, horses, facilities and programs at Kidder Creek. A house remodel and wildfires have made the summer eventful, but they are all LOVING it! The Warkens are a homeschool family, and also welcomed the birth of their fifth child, Ridge, as camp was ending.