Posted by Christine Szekeres in Director's Blog on December 19, 2013
Last week, I was blessed to attend the 2013 Christian Camp Conference Association (CCCA) National Conference held in the beautiful Colorado Springs. We stayed at the magnificent Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. As a former employee of Walt Disney World, guest service and WOW factors are very important to me. Upon arrival, I was blown away with the bellman service and a room that was no doubt bigger than my own house! The resort and staff NEVER ceased to impress and exceed my expectations. As the new Event Planner at SAMBICA, I was reminded that the simplest details and ideas are what bring the biggest smiles to our guests.
Each day was jammed packed with various sessions and workshops. I definitely scored with the ones I chose to attend.
Hospitality Training Session: We toured the Broadmoor facility while learning loads of information and fun facts. After the tour we discussed surprises the resort provided and affirmations of what our locations already accomplish.
72 and a Half Ways to Double Your Sales: I don’t think I have ever written 72 bullet points in such a short amount of time! The ideas were simple, quick changes and additions that statistically increase sales drastically.
Maximizing Alumni (Programs & Capital Campaign Involvement): WOW! I know envy is one of the seven deadly sins, but boy was I envious of the presenter’s success with alumni. Granted, she has been working exclusively on her camp’s alumni program for eight years, but a girl can dream can’t she?
Being the “newbie” on the job, I did a lot of what most would call “brown nosing” but what I call “networking.” I was able to make connections with previous employees of SAMBICA, professionals in all areas, executive directors in Jamaica (future mission trip?), and celebrities, including Miss Canada!
Our last evening was such a treat! We were able to have dinner and watch various performances at the Olympic Training Center. Meeting athletes with dreams and ability to compete all over the world was very inspirational. Towards the end, I was able to slap on some boxing gloves and go a few rounds with Queen Underwood, the first lightweight boxing female to represent USA in the 2012 Olympics.
Although the conference was only 3 and a half days, the amount of speakers, workshops, and activities was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed being a photographer for the conference to help capture “A Day in the Life of a Conference Participant.” Ever since I arrived back home, I have been busy emailing and connecting with various camps and new friends. Already, I am planning on paying my way to the next year’s conference. From 3 degree weather to the Sunshine state, Orlando will be the destination in 2014!
Written by Ashley “Schrute” Nicholson
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Youth on
As the car comes around the last bend of roundabout, the slower pace catches the attention of the little ones in the backseat. No more interstate speed, which means they’re almost there! Their eyes peek out the windows searching for the first hints of celebration. Down the road, trees with icy-blue lights pop into view, while twinkling snowflakes on an overpass mark the destination. The car turns and makes its way downhill. Eagerly sitting up as the last speed bump hits the tires, they see it … the familiar glow of red, green, yellow, and white coming from a building across the blacktop. The kids bust out of their seat belts before the car comes to a complete stop. They don’t need their jackets, and besides, it would take forever to get those on, but mom and dad insist. Now they can hear music coming from that lighted building. The Tabernacle, standing as SAMBICA’s oldest structure on camp, is once again welcoming this family, and all families, through its big blue doors.
The Christmas Carnival had something for everyone. Though now over, the good memories are still fresh in my mind. It was a chance for families to have fun together, a chance for the community to join us in our celebration of Christmas, and just another opportunity to see kids smile. The sounds of laughter rang in perfect harmony with every song that played and the oh-so-sweet aroma of an open espresso cart complimented the endless popcorn and cookies ready for grabbing. Kids, and even some parents, made their way through the carnival-game circuit, stopping for a round (or two or three) of carpet ball and some bouncy house action.
I was privileged to witness a father play with his son in the GA-GA arena. The dad may have been the worst GA-GA player of all time, but it didn’t matter to either one of them. The look on that boy’s face when his dad jumped into the game was unforgettable. Right there in that one moment … that was Christmas. Our God came from Heaven and jumped into the ring with us. He’s not a dad on the sidelines … His love is a pursuit. There is nothing that will be able to separate us from the love of God and that is what I celebrate. Emmanuel! God is with us!
I want to thank every family that came to the Christmas Carnival this year. Thank you for sharing your time with us and allowing us to celebrate something very special with you. I hope you had an awesome time! Stay safe, keep warm, and God bless!
Written by Adam “HubCap” Dominguez
Posted by Christine Szekeres in Youth on December 11, 2013
I often hear this time of year that “Santa Claus is coming to town!” But here at SAMBICA, we have already seen Santa taking pictures with many children at our free Christmas Carnival created for the community. Next to Santa’s room is our Christmas village of over a thousand pieces twinkling bright, building anticipation for a white Christmas. Just outside of these two rooms is a large room hosting the carnival, filled with smells of popcorn and coffee floating in the air and the sound of Christmas music playing while kids run happily about, playing carnival games, challenging each other in the Gaga pit, and jumping around the bouncy house.
On the other side of camp, we have a team out in the chilly weather loading pre-ordered Christmas trees, as the smell of evergreen fills their nostrils. As I think about all these things, I realize that just two days earlier there were 40 kids here for our first ever winter break camp. Although this camp only lasted two days and was mostly inside, it was exciting to create a camp when there has never been one at this time of year. Each of these experiences have taught me valuable lessons.
In fact, as I have spent the last couple weeks helping with all of these activities, I have seen the power of individualized attention and care, and have learned the importance of preparing your heart and your programming. For instance, everyone worked very hard to make the break camps happen, but without the combined effort of each person to care for each of the kids and make sure that they were having fun in a safe environment, it would not have worked. As it was, I had a girl tell me she loved SAMBICA because of the counselors. We are no better than anyone else, we simply showed her the love of Christ through paying attention to her and her needs. So I would challenge you in the same way to think about how you have showed the love of Christ through your relationships, and what it looks like to take time for individualized attention to those around you. As an employee of SAMBICA I have learned the importance of that, and as a child of God I am reminded of what He did for me. As a result, I am daily challenged to help carry the burdens of those around me and love them as myself.
Written by Ray “Shipwreck” Duriga