RKD Stories Episode 4: Serving with a Smile

Since 1922, Camp Arcadia has been a place of gathering and fellowship, filled with countless memories and moments. Those stories can be heard in the echo of waves lapping on the sandy shores, chatter from the patio, laughter in the Trading Post, or the gentle creak of a swing that accompanies silent reflection. But those stories should have the opportunity to be heard by the entire Camp Arcadia community, so this summer, we are inviting YOU to share your special Arcadia moments, podcast-style, at the RKD Story Booth! If you are interested in sharing a short memory, moment, or realization made at Camp, visit us this summer and be sure to check out the booth!

Camp Arcadia’s mission is renewal of the mind, body and spirit, and truthfully, that mission would not be possible if it weren’t for the servant leadership of our staff – whether college-aged young adults, end of season veterans, teen week counselors or full-time staff! In this episode of RKD Stories, listen in for stories from and about these beloved members of our Camp Arcadia community, past and present.



Ike and Oxy have served as Alpha Teen Retreat Counselors for 20 years! They sat down with Kayla at the beginning of the summer to talk about the best parts of being a counselor:

How did you first get introduced to Teen Weeks?

Emilie: I have been coming to Camp since I was an Alpha Camper myself, back when we used to call it Confirmand Week. I came to Camp the first time to drop my older sister off… and just thought it was such an amazing place. I couldn’t wait till it was my turn. So I returned for four years as a team camper, came back worked on staff for three summers, and then, since I couldn’t be here full time anymore, I opted to join the counseling team and that was my way of getting a little fix of Camp every year.

Ike: I started at teen weeks back in 1994 and returned for three – at the time we call it Alumni Weeks, and then kind of took a break. I didn’t really even put camp Arcadia in my mind as far as opportunities for the future. Then I started my job in the fall of 2002, I happened to pass through Arcadia, stopped in and said, “Hi,” to Chip, who encouraged me to look at coming back as a as a counselor for the following summer. Ever since that summer of 2003, I haven’t stopped.

What’s is one of your favorite parts of being a counselor?

Emilie: That moment when your group gels and they all are having a blast laughing about something, and you could just kind of sit back and watch them form this friendship together. I always think that’s fun. And and the camaraderie the other counselors.

Ike: Yeah, I would agree. The great thing about the Alpha week is that, for many of these campers, it is their first time, and so many are nervous, many are having some anxiety, don’t know what to expect. As counselors, we kind of light the fire a little bit within the group and keep things going. But then towards the middle of the week, you see that they don’t really need you to keep things going anymore. You get to just participate. I think that’s one of my favorite parts.

What keeps you coming back?

Ike: I would say what what brings me back is is the location, the faith journey. It’s a way for me to to really refresh and, and strengthen my faith, my journey with Jesus. And you know, knowing that even if we have just a small impact on these on these teens, I think it’s the best reason to come back and keep coming back.

Emilie: Part of what I love about this is I get to come and act like a teenager too. I mean, we all have full-time jobs at home, and we are serious all the time… I get to come to camp for Teen Retreats, and I get to scream and yell and shout, and have ice cream and candy, and all that good stuff. And it’s completely normal! We tell these kids to act like kids during the week, and we get to lead by example. So we’re right there playing games with them and laughing and enjoying our time too.



“I worked in the kitchen for part of the summer in 2002, and during that time in the kitchen, Kurt, the chef at the time, was relatively new to the role, and he had a number of sayings. And to this day, twenty-two years later, when I am making anything for anybody, I think for myself, “Don’t choke grandma,” which was one of Kurt’s mantras in the kitchen, and he would use that to have us chop lettuce in precise ways, to have us chop anything that needed cutting … So to this day, I do not “choke grandma,” I make that my point.”



“One of my favorite earliest memories of Camp is definitely the square dance. I remember getting ready into Juniper in my mom’s bedroom … and she would be there with her eyeliner, putting freckles on mine and my sister’s faces, braid our hair, put a bandana on us. And we’d always bring our boots up because we’re from Texas, so naturally the square dance was our time to shine.

And I remember the Amos Moses always being my, my sister and my mom’s favorite dance, and even if we did not do good at any of the other dances, we knew that we were going to end with Amos Moses and it was going to be amazing every single time…

Every wedding, every graduation, and party that we go to, if somebody is playing music, we always request the Amos Moses. And everyone gives us a weird look, but we play it and we teach them the dance. Now people who have never gone to Camp and don’t even know where Arcadia is on the map, know the Amos Moses because that is what how much this dance means to me and my family. We just love sharing that. I think that’s probably one of my favorite things about Camp – there’s so much you can share with other people without them even having to be here.”



“My name is Kathy Hass and I’ve been coming up to Camp Acadia for 54 years. One of my cutest memories is when my two young boys came up with my husband and I for a two week period. They’d never been here two weeks in a row. By the second week, they thought they were staff. They went around helping all the staff – they helped carry people’s luggage in that day. They were just so cute. They loved it. They aspired to just come back constantly. And I have to say that we’re really happy because we now have a town cottage, so we are here as often as we want.”


Camp Arcadia is still hiring End of Season Staff to help us serve guests through the end of October. If you are interested, visit our website for more information or to apply. Summer Staff and Teen Week Counselor applications open December 1, 2023. You can find more information about that by visiting www.camp-arcadia.com/serve.

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