Camp is all about seeing Lives Transformed! We regularly share stories of campers who have had their lives transformed but God also uses camp in the lives of our staff in some amazing ways as well. Here are some of our staff alumni from the last 5 years, their camp stories and what they are up to now.
I have been living life on the road, seeking adventure, never staying in any one place. I have always struggled with letting people in, or worried l’d become a burden to them. This lifestyle began growing lonely, yet I was scared to change.
Throughout my travels, I was able to go on a beautiful journey. It was the first time in my life I could think for myself and truly figure out what I believed, what I wanted for my life, and my priorities. I tried on different lifestyles and beliefs, but it wasn’t until I experienced a very traumatic situation that I found myself at Jesus’ feet. I kept asking “Why God,” but through many tears and finally opening up to people, I learned to change the “Why God” to “Thank you, God. Thank you for giving me friends who helped me heal. Thank you, God For your love.”
Every dark situation we may go through has beauty, something that I wasn’t able to realize until I started to work at Kidder Creek. I learned to turn pain into beauty, and how to use it to help others. My two summers working at camp were spent leading campers on backpacking and whitewater rafting trips. I could never have guessed how much this job would impact me! The vulnerability that kids shared with me, broke my heart. There is so much darkness, so much pain from abuse, mental health struggles, and pain and confusion. It’s amazing the healing journey that occurs in the woods, under the stars. This sparked a dream to do this full time. I wanted to incorporate relationships, the outdoors and cultivate healing. I had no idea where to start.
Roughly a week before camp ended, I heard of a new ministry called Beloved. It’s a restoration program for women in crisis. I immediately became excited to hear more and reached out to the director Natalie. She offered me the opportunity to join the Beloved team as their “intern.” I would be living, working and serving as their “accountability partner” throughout their journey, just doing anything to help this ministry grow. Natalie and I will be going through a curriculum with the women and also taking them on some weekend adventures. I am beyond excited to begin!
To learn more about Gretel’s ministry please visit belovedrestoration.org
Kidder Creek Camp has been a staple in my life ever since I can remember. As a camper, I have gone from day camp all the way until Timberline high adventure and attended almost every camp in between. From jumping off PDH for the first time to breaking my collar bone playing frisbee on day one of timberline, camp has held some of the highlights of my life. It’s hard to put into words the significance Kidder Creek has had in developing me into the man I am today. I’ve always considered camp as God giving me just a glimpse of what heaven will be like. Kidder Creek always has given me new hope for the future. When life gives me trials, I look back at the countless hours spent laughing with campers and staff and remember that is what God had waiting for me in heaven.
I am currently on a missions trip working with YWAM Lutsk in Ukraine helping with relief work. I am working directly with James Hopkins, the founder of YWAM Lutsk and a small team of locals. My team is going from Lutsk to Churnihiv, which is a 9 hour bus ride, to deliver food to those families that have had severe bombing in the last few months. We also go to villages that have been completely decimated leaving the already struggling people with nothing. While we are talking with the people, we are able to share the good news of Jesus with them and bring some hope into their lives. Almost all of the people we talk to are willing to listen to us and it has been changing their lives! We are asking for prayer for safety on these trips as we never know what could happen. Also prayer that we can make it to the villages during the colder months of the winter. I will be leaving at the end of November, but James will continue these trips for as long as possible.
It all started in 2015 when my college roommate and I Googled “Mount Hermon”, looking for a “camp out west” and found their sister camp Kidder Creek. We drove across the country from northern Michigan to serve as counselors/ river guides. After that first summer I was always drawn back, and spent 4 more summers on staff. In 2018, my wife and I moved to Kidder to lead the mountain bike camp, and then planned to move to Seattle. However, God had different plans. Through His working and the connections in the Kidder community, I ended up taking a youth pastor job in the neighboring town of Mount Shasta.
It has now been 4 years, and my wife and I am privileged to help build a youth program at Mountain Christian Fellowship, collaborate with the local Mount Shasta Area Youth Ministry, and we still find our way back over the hill to Kidder regularly (just now with a van of our own kids). I am so humbled and thankful to look back over the last 8 years and see what God has done. To see what He has done in my (and my families life), the lives of my many coworkers at Kidder, and the life of the campers and students that I get to minister too.
I am forever grateful to Mount Hermon and Kidder Creek along with each and every person that supports their mission in different ways!
Brooke & Anders Olson
Brooke: My name is Brooke Olson and I have worked at Kidder Creek since 2016. When I started I was an 18 year old who just wanted a fun summer job, I never imagined that 6 years later I would still be working at Kidder with my husband who I met from a previous summer. Kidder Creek is a place where the love of Christ is tangible and for me it feels like home. No matter where I was in life it was always my priority to make it back to camp every summer.
While at Kidder I discovered my passion for camp, and introducing the love of Christ to kids through outdoor adventures. Kidder gave me the opportunity to develop my skills as a leader and because of that I am now the director of a camp in Zambia, named J-Zone. Even though my time at Kidder seems to have come to a close, I will forever be grateful for everything my time there has given me, from life skills, to my family. Kidder will always be my home.
Anders: I am Brooke’s husband, Anders Olson. I served at Kidder summer ‘21 and ‘22 as a mountain bike counselor and lead. Kidder Creek is one of those places that fosters God centered community through adventure and honest faith. I first heard about Kidder through a friend who served on adventure team and through his explanation about the rafting carnage in the Rattlesnake and Dragons tooth rapids and the growing mountain bike program, I said “I want that”. One of the things I’ve seen and learned while serving at camp is the life giving impact Jesus, creation, and friendship can have on kids and counselors alike. God is working at Kidder Creek, He is changing lives!
We are excited to take the skills we’ve learned at Kidder and apply them in Zambia with the goal of making J-Zone as impactful and loving in the lives of the Zambian people as Kidder has been to us. Currently J-Zone is a property just outside of Livingstone, Zambia where we are planning to build and create a camp. Find out more on our website: thecause.org/partners/j-zone!
Thank you Kidder Creek donors for helping create a place where kids can be kids and lives can be transformed!