Position: Executive Director
Years on Staff: 30 Years (Began May 1, 1992)
Favorite Canteen Combo: YooHoo and a Payday
Where have you seen God at camp: Literally, EVERYWHERE! I have seen God in the way the summer staff gives themselves to the campers in their charge, their gut-wrenching commitment to the least, the last and the lost, and the gifts that are theirs for leading young people. I have seen God in the environment, watching the sunrise over the lake, sitting under a beech tree near the creek, and in ever-growing facilities that invite persons to come apart for rest. This is Sacred Ground.
Why is camp important?: Although God is in every place, the sacred ground that is camp and retreats serves to bring a camper/guest peace, allow them to let down one’s guard, toss aside the masks that “real” life requires, and boldly risk the grace of God’s presence. In these ways, God’s grace lifts the importance of love and justice as each guest grows in their discipleship. They discover that the Kingdom of God is one big family and learn that they are called to go forth to be about the family business in every facet of their lives. In this setting, young people become leaders with confidence and experience and often hear God’s call to make a difference in the world around them. Frankly, camps and retreats are means of grace where one can more readily encounter life, love, and the God of Grace.
Position: Office Manager
Lakeshore Connection: Married to Executive Director, Gary Lawson
Former Summer Staff Position: None
Favorite Canteen Combo: Diet Dr. Pepper & Milky Way
Where have you seen God at camp?: I see God’s hand in the community that always builds during any group’s time at camp. Upon arrival, there is a separation evident within any group, whether it be summer campers or retreat guests. However, just after a few short days of being in a supportive & loving community, the way the group changes is amazing – they are freer to be open with each other, accept their differences, love each other easily, dance & sing with enthusiasm, and hate to leave each other. This is the kind of community that God wants for us everywhere, but it is very evident at camp.
Why is camp important?: See my answer above. To learn to be in a true community with others (especially those that are different from you) is one of the valuable lessons you learn at camp. Exposure to nature and being “unplugged” is another reason camp is so very necessary to our society today.
Position: Director of Communications
Lakeshore Connection: Came as a camper and returned every summer.
Former Summer Staff Positions:
2015 – Resident Counselor
2016 – Lifeguard
2017 – Adventure Director: Nature/Archery
2018 – Lead Lifeguard
Favorite Canteen Combo: Mello Yello & M&M ice cream
Where have you seen God at camp?: I’ve seen God in many places and experienced Him in many moments at camp. But I see him the most in the one-on-one conversations I have had with campers, staff, and volunteers. It is in the moments when we have conversations and openness with one another that we’ve allowed room for His Spirit to flow through.
Why is camp important?: Camp is important because it gives us a place to break away from the outside world and be around fellow believers. It is a place that we are truly ourselves and feel welcomed despite our flaws. Camp was where I finally accepted God into my life and wanted Him to use my life. It is also the place I have witnessed a change in a person’s life, a moment of pure worship, a reconnection with God, and it has provided whatever a person needed at that moment.
Position: Associate Program Director
Lakeshore Connection: Began coming as a camper in the summer of 2006 and hasn’t missed a summer yet.
Former Summer Staff Positions:
2013 – Aquatics Director
2014 – Aquatics Director
2015 – First Aid Director
2016 – Dayshore Director
Favorite Canteen Combo: Sprite and Push up
Where have you seen God at camp?: Anytime I need a moment with God, I always retreat to the waterfront and stand next to the cross or sit on the dock. I feel God’s presence through the wind blowing around and reflect on the wonders of God as I look out over the water. It always brings me so much peace. A specific moment I saw God at camp was during my summer serving as the DayShore director. Each week I was able to serve such a variety of campers ranging from low income families to campers that were differently abled. Yet, each week the community that was formed between the campers was so strong. Though the counselors had less time with the campers I often saw stronger bonds formed between them and their campers. It showed me that God can work wonders no matter where and in even a short amount of time.
Why is camp important?: As a camper and young adult, I always struggled finding a group that I felt I belonged to. Camp showed me that I can be who I want and that I don’t need to fit a mold to be accepted. God’s love and mercy is so overflowing at camp that I can’t help but feel completely accepted no matter what I bring to the table. I think it is important for everyone to experience a love like that, a love that is constantly overflowing even when we feel like we deserve none.
Lakeshore Connection: My kids Nana (Debbie Owen) worked in the kitchen during the summers for 17 years and she introduced my kids (Summer and Sam Watson) to summer camp here at Lakeshore 21 years ago.
Former staff positions: None
Favorite Canteen Combo: Kit Kat & Mountain Dew
Where have you seen God at camp? Literally from the top of camp to the bottom! Drop off days were always so exciting for Summer. Never a tearful goodbye. Seeing the excitement in her eyes and all of the other campers was a blessing. The welcoming and attentiveness of the administration and summer staff made me feel at peace. I always knew that my kids were in a safe and loving place where they could worship and express themselves freely. We even chose our church because that is where the Lakeshore folks went and my daughter (11 yrs old at the time) said that she felt God the most at Lakeshore so she wanted to go to the same church. My son, Sam was baptized at the bottom of Lakeshore, right in the Tennessee River! That was a true blessing! Every time I look out our back window, I think of that day.
Why is camp important? Our children need a place where they can open up to nature and explore worship out in the beautiful world that God has given us. They will flourish in an environment where they may fellowship with old friends and make new friends. Lakeshore is not just good for the body with all of the activities but it is truly good for the soul. I cannot wait until our 3 little ones are old enough to attend camp at Lakeshore!
Position: Food Service Manager
Lakeshore Connection: Martha Holifield
Former Summer Staff Positions: None
Favorite Canteen Combo: Dr. Pepper, just a Dr. Pepper
Where have you seen God at camp?: Through the kids and all the staff.
Why is camp important?: They do good work with the children that come here. I just love all the kids and staff; I consider them my family.
Position: Maintenance Supervisor
Lakeshore Connection: Debbie Watson (worked in the kitchen)
Former Staff Positions: None
Favorite Canteen Combo: Butter Finger and Coke
Where have you seen God at camp?: The waterfront
Why is camp important?: Seeing all the happy kids sharing God’s love and the office girls.
Lakeshore Connection: Married to the Director of Communications, Katlyn White.
Favorite Canteen Combo: Nerds Rope & Yoo-hoo
Where have you seen God at camp?: On the lake
Why is camp important?: It helps people realize who they are and helps them believe and love just that much deeper.