Campers had a great time and parents want to tell us! – Part 2

Campers love it at Joy El Christian retreats in pa

By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director

Every week we ask for feedback from parents.  Why? Because I want to make sure we are offering the best experience possible and because I want to encourage our staff with stories of how they have served well.  Sometimes we need to make improvements, and we are grateful for the feedback.  As a Christian Retreat Centers and Camps in pa, we are committed to fulfilling the mission God gave us. 

I received the following email from a father (I share it with his permission).

Email Subject: The Difference Jesus Makes

Dear Aaron,

I wanted to take the time to thank all of you for the amazing week of camp. Last night our son and daughter were telling us story after story, and singing songs about camp until a little after 10pm. These stories continued today at, and after breakfast. 

Since graduating college I have worked with different organizations and schools that have had the goal of making children successful. They all have used millions of dollars and hours to develop curriculums and programs that will change a child's life for the better. These curriculums and programs are then taught and reinforced in all situations, and settings all throughout the year. Many of the curriculums reinforce values of integrity, positivity, respect, and an overall use of all good manners. 

Joy El has the vision of making disciples of Jesus Christ that will transform the world through spiritual multiplication. This is accomplished through the mission, motto, and the core values. Joy El also has curriculums and programs that reach children of all ages. The released time programs turn into the C.I.A. programs which turn into the 412 programs which turn into the J-serve programs.

Possibly on the outside there seems to be a lot of similarities between Joy El and many other organizations. However, there is one major ingredient that makes the separation. This is the difference that Jesus makes. As a parent driving my two children up the hill to Joy El, I was overwhelmed with joy as teens cheered our arrival. I was impressed by the responsibility of more teens directing traffic and the parking of multiple cars. I was amazed at the maturity of more teens offering to help carry our bags, dropping off our bags, and directing us to our check in. I was reassured to see the kindness of more teens welcoming campers into the cabin, handing out a get to know you letter to us, and kindly welcoming us and looking forward to us being back for the closing ceremony. I then was simply blown away by even more teens directing us out of the parking lot, and wishing us a safe ride home. I was overwhelmingly impressed with each and every one of these teens. What kind of teenagers act this way? The kind of teenagers that are rooted in Jesus Christ.

I know for a fact that teenagers do not normally act in these ways. Teenagers are not normally responsible, mature, kind, helpful, respectful, and joyful to be all of these with a smile on their face. On the contrary though, the teens at Joy El are without a doubt exemplifying all of these qualities and more. Their love for Jesus shines like the sun because they are shining for the Son. Again, it is plain to see that Jesus makes the difference. 

Currently right now many teens and students are struggling in our society. Also, in spite of the millions of hours and dollars spent to mold, teach, train, and encourage them to be successful many fail after graduation. This is not meant as an insult or put down, but as another clear sign that if Jesus is not the main ingredient in the life of a child there can be no amount of programs, curriculums, or money that can buy true life change.

Thank you again for providing opportunities for so many to experience life change through personal encounters with Jesus. Thank you for the many hours of leading, guiding, training, and encouraging so many campers, families, and churches. 

Praise Jesus for you, your testimony, and your love for Him. My family and I are so grateful to join such an amazing ministry. All the glory and praise goes to Jesus Christ.

Thank you,

An Energizer Father  (Name withheld)


As a Christian Retreat Centers and Camps in pa, we are committed to fulfilling the mission God gave us. 

If you would like to bring your own group for a retreat:

To learn more about all that Joy El has to offer:


Pennsylvania Christian Retreat Center RSS Feed