Joy El summer counselor wins curriculum-writing contest

Counselor impacted by Christian retreat centers in PA

By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Mentor Coordinator


When Winter Saunders learned about the curriculum-writing contest through Word of Life Local Church Ministries, two things came to mind: 1) The cash prize would be helpful in funding her education, and 2) She had enjoyed writing Bible lessons as a camp counselor, so this might be a good use of her gifts.


The former Joy El summer camp counselor signed up for the contest and began praying for God’s blessing on the endeavor.


Winter has not only served as a counselor at Joy El Camps and Retreats the past two summers, but she also graduated from five years of the 4.12 Leadership Training Program, served as an interim camping ministries assistant, and led the community day camp program for two weeks. She is currently a first-year student at Word of Life Bible Institute, where she learned about the contest.


“When I signed up I didn’t feel it would be too challenging on top of my regular school work, since I already had experience, but it did end up being quite a challenge, because I really wanted to do well,” Winter explained.


After signing up for the contest, Winter received all the contest information, including a template and detailed guidelines. The winning lessons were likely to be incorporated into the Olympian program, which would be used in discipling young people through local churches. This was the first time Word of Life students were offered the opportunity to contribute lessons to the curriculum.


“I chose the elementary age group and the topic of carrying the Gospel,” Winter said. “The emphasis was on helping kids share the Gospel, not just keeping it to themselves. My past experience writing Bible lessons for campers definitely helped.”


Winter did not expect to learn the results of the contest until February 15, but had a welcome surprise during chapel on February 14.


“They announced the winners during chapel, and I got to grab my award check in front of everyone on Valentine’s Day,” Winter explained. “I felt really special. In fact, I felt a little like a celebrity for about a week, since people kept congratulating me around campus,” she laughed.


We celebrate this special achievement and join Winter in praying the lesson will motivate elementary children around the country in sharing the Gospel with others.  


Joy El Camps and Retreats is currently seeking young adults to serve as summer camp counselors and in a variety of other roles. For more information, visit


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Joy El Camps and Retreats, is a Christian Summer Camps in PA, we offer Christian camps and retreats in PA and we are a retreat centers in pa since 1974. Our focus on making disciples is seen in the Released Time Bible Program and 4.12 Leadership Training Program.

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