By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
We always enjoy when former staff members return to reconnect and see what God is doing at Joy El. This summer, Stephanie and I were able to spend some time with Libby (Cooper) and Chris Royer.
Chris and Libby joined the 4.12 Leadership Training Program in 2005. They graduated from the program five years later. Chris served as a counselor, support staff coordinator, worship leader and activity coordinator. Libby served as a counselor and two years as the female junior staff coordinator. Although they now live in Tennessee, Chris continues to serve as a Barnabas mentor for a young man in the 4.12 program.
During the Royers’ visit, we invited several current summer staff members to sit with them and us at supper. We wanted generations to learn from each other, and the insights resonated with the current students.
Now that they had been away for five years, we asked, “What is the lingering impact?”
Chris immediately shared that it was the mentoring. He had been in many environments, but was grateful for the deep, intentional mentoring he had received from Steve Rice and me. This was very significant for him as he developed his faith.
Libby thought a bit longer. She shared that she gained from the mentoring too, but what was most significant to her was the Christ-centered community. She was encouraged and challenged by honest conversation with her friends who were also pursuing Christ. She benefited from the mutual accountability and transparent prayers that happen with friends you know deeply.
As I thought about what Chris and Libby shared, I quickly realized that these are two of the three main reasons that students stay engaged in their faith after they graduate from high school. I wrote about this in a previous blog post (http://www.joyelcamps.org/pennsylvania_christian_retreat_center/mentoring-fabric-joy-el).
We are accepting application through August 20th for high school students who want to grow in their faith through the 4.12 Leadership Training Program. For more information, click here. Those who have graduated from high school and are interested in a gap year program should consider J-Serve. More info for that new program may be found here.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” –Acts 2:42