We are excited to welcome Jessica McCallum to Camp Arcadia as our new program director. Jess, who grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, has served as program director at Lutheran Memorial Camp in Fulton, Ohio, for the last three years. She graduated from Valparaiso University in 2011 with majors in environmental science and theology and a minor in social work. In 2013 she was consecrated as a deaconess through the Lutheran Deaconess Association. While Jess has not been a camper or staff member at Camp Arcadia, she brings a wealth of experience in camping ministry. In addition to her three years at Lutheran Memorial Camp, she served on summer staff at five different camps during college. They include Stony Lake Lutheran Camp and Camp Oak Hills (Girl Scouts) in Michigan, Lutheran Retreats, Camps and Conferences in California, and Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp and Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp in Colorado.
“I am excited to be a part of a ministry team that engages children, youth, adults and families in a beautiful outdoor ministry setting providing a place for relaxation and renewal,” remarked Jess about her new position.
Jess is also thrilled to be returning to Michigan and especially Northwest Michigan. “As my home state, the Great Lakes, woods, dunes, skiing and freshwater swimming and sailing are part of who I am! Many of my fondest childhood memories are camping as a family in Traverse City, Michigan. The water, natural land, preserves, and people of Northwest Michigan are something that cannot be found anywhere else,” exclaimed Jess.
Camp has played an important role in Jess’ life. “For me, camp did two primary things. One, camp took a girl who was a little shy and nervous about being on her own and made me into a confident woman who loves to travel, explore, try new things and meet new people. Two, Christian camping took my faith from a Sunday morning family outing to a life shaping and defining personal and communal experience with God and others. The faith I experienced at camp made my faith personal to me, shaping the rest of my life from how I interacted with people in middle school to going to Valparaiso University to influencing my discernment to become a deaconess, “explained Jess.
She brings a deep love and appreciation for the power of camp and how God can work through camping ministry. “Camp is important to faith formation because it actively lives out the faith life of the church in an engaging, fun, welcoming, communal and supportive way that encourages all people to discern who God has uniquely created them to be. Within the intentional Christian community built at camp, individuals feel safe to be real, raw and free, living out God’s love in an active and engaging way that inspire life changes beyond the camp setting,” said Jess.
We give God thanks for bringing Jess to Camp Arcadia and ask you to join us in praying for Camp and her as she becomes a part of the Camp Arcadia family.