Monday, December 6, 2010

Using the Outdoors to Make a Difference

Interview With Luke

This blog post features an interview with Luke Tanis. Luke is actively involved with a Christian camp in Wisconsin. He talks about how the outdoors can be used to influence and encourage kids to grow in their relationship with God.

What do you find yourself doing the most during the summer?
Most summers I work at Camp Chetek in northern Wisconsin. Specifically outside a lot of the time doing either running activities or being a part of the numerous activities available.

What is your main job at Camp Chetek?
My main job for 3 summers was photographer. I got to photograph all the "awesomeness" of camp each week. Last summer I was a counselor so I got to be with the kids all week and do all the activities with them.

The blob
What type of activities do the kids enjoy doing at the camp?
Well this list could go on for a while, but to name a few, the kids love: horseback riding, go-karts, the rifle range (.22s), archery, human foosball, mini-golf, laser-tag, tubing, blobbing, campfires, and four-wheeling.

Is it easy to connect with the kids?
I would say yes. If you have the right attitude and are willing to invest in the kids’ lives then yes, it is pretty easy to connect with the kids. One of the neat things I learned being a counselor was how to show compassion to others like Christ showed compassion and with that attitude it was very easy to connect with the kids and have a great time. The outdoor activities were a huge part of being able to connect with the kids and build relationships with them

How important is it to have the right outdoor gear so the kids can have the best possible outdoor experience?
It is very important to have the right outdoor gear. Working in a camp environment means there are a lot of activities but it also means risks for many types of accidents. We are responsible for the safety of the kids, and must make sure their safety is never at stake.

The Bible instructs us to “do everything decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40) therefore for every activity we offer, we research it to make sure we have the right outdoor gear so that it will run safely and work for its intended use. Safety is a vital part to a fun activity. Picking the right outdoor gear goes a long way in helping the kids to have the best possible outdoor experience while staying safe and having fun.

What is your favorite thing about the outdoors?
Besides the fact that I get to enjoy the beauty of God's wonderful creation which declares his glory as seen in Psalms 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork." I love the fresh air and just being able to have a great time in so many different ways.

Any final thoughts?
Outdoor Activities can be a great tool to reach out to kids, but they must be well planned and prepared for. If one is willing to put the effort into these, there will be great fun for everyone who is involved.

If you would like to find out more about Camp Chetek visit the camp's website at

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