I worked at Lone Tree Ranch the summers of 2013-2015 as the videographer. I’ll admit, at first I was hesitant to apply since I had never gone to Lone Tree as a camper and the unknown was scary. I like being in my comfort zone, and a busy summer away from those I loved was not exactly what I had in mind! In the end, after a little coaxing from previous staff members, I took the leap… and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

For starters, I found myself surrounded by other young men and women in the same life situation as I. We were all figuring out who we were, what we were going to do with our lives, and how we viewed our relationship with Christ. Living together over the summer meant that we formed friendships, got to know about each other’s lives, and see the impact we were having on the lives of those we were serving. It was such a great environment to mature in, and many of the relationships I formed while on staff continue to this day!

Secondly, I can honestly say that I took ownership of my faith while on staff. I had grown up in a Christian family, went to church every Sunday, and even served in several areas throughout my church, yet my faith was little more than surface-level. Being surrounded by other Godly men and women, hearing the ways they talked about their faith, the love they showed the campers, and the selflessness they displayed through their service made me take a step back and re-evaluate my faith. In the end, I found my faith growing deeper and I was truly developing a relationship with the Creator.

Finally, my time at Lone Tree helped prepare me for my career. As I left the camp at the end of my third summer, I had been developing my skills as a videographer and editor. I was able to take these skills, the videos I had created, and my trust in God as I began applying to production companies. Lo and behold, a Christian company that I applied for was interested in me joining the team based on my experience working at the camp. It wasn’t an immediate thing and the hours weren’t always consistent at the beginning but God kept reminding me of the lessons I had learned at Lone Tree: Trust that He will provide. Whether that be a provision of much-needed energy after a long week, the provision of inspiration that you need to get through a creative block, or just the opportunity to continue moving forward.

I continue to look back at my time at Lone Tree Ranch with fondness. It was hard to not go back the following years and, even now, I find myself longing for the crazy games, the weekend hangouts with the staff, and the quiet summer nights full of stars that brought me back to the majesty of God’s creation.