How are the summer camps divided by locations?
On those properties we own [in Tyler and Columbus], there are eight summer camps: five youth camps and three family camps. Six are on the Tyler property, and two are on the Columbus property. We also have a program called Base Camp, [and those camps] take place in 44 different locations where we partner with churches in other cities. We bring Pine Cove to their communities, so instead of having campers come to us, we go to them.
How do you manage multiple camps on the same property?
The camps in Tyler and Columbus have stand-alone facilities. Whenever we build a camp we want it to operate independently from the others. The main reason we do that is for safety. We don’t want, for example, the high school kids having to go over to the elementary camp to eat lunch or vice-versa. So each facility has its own cabins, dining hall, meeting space and activities. We have 700 acres in Tyler [and 800 acres in Columbus], and camps are spaced out from each other by some sort of physical separation such as a wooded area.
What are the logistical challenges to planning so many events in so many places?
We have to share resources and determine what staff and audio equipment go where at what times. Another challenge is realizing no two groups are the same, and no two events are the same, even if we do them every year. We’re always learning about our repeat groups, and they’re learning about us. Hopefully, as our partnership grows, we’re getting better at serving them each year, and they’re getting better at communicating with us. Another logistical challenge is operating as one entity in two different parts of the state. We have to maintain the same vision and culture. There are people on the Columbus staff that I may only see once or twice a year, yet I have to maintain a great working relationship with them so we have the same vision.