ErnstLIFE is good.
"It’s like my Second Home"

I often ask campers what they love about camp. Answers include the cool counselors, the zipline, the banana boat, the horses, the food, making friends, being away from younger siblings, etc. But the answer that has intrigued me lately has been, “It’s like my Second Home; I can be myself here.”

One of my favorite writers these days is Brene Brown. (Look up one of her TED talks if you haven’t heard of her—you’ll be glad you did!)  Tonight I was reading part of her book DARING GREATLY. She writes:

         “Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

This is why I love summercamp, friends! This is why in one week, lifelong bonds are formed. This is why our counselors have been coming back for 8,9,10,11, and more years. This is why kids say camp is like their second home.

I love that camp provides an environment where kids (and counselors!)can be their authentic selves, and hope that one day they will love themselves enough to be their “camp self” everywhere else in the world, too. 

But until then, we’ll be here…365 acres of awesomeness…a place of encouragement and acceptance…your second home.




Supermoon #TBT and Night time at camp

For tonight’s Throwback Thursday memory, I was thinking back to the “old days” when I was a counselor. At least one night each week, I would take my cabin group (usually cabin 8—cabin 8 is great-yeah!) out into center campus and we would lay down in the grass. (Yes, in our PJs. It’s camp.) We would all look up at the stars and share hopes and dreams. Not really a structured devotion, but hopefully one some of my campers from 20+ years ago still remember today.  It’s one of the thousands of things I love about camp: just taking some time to appreciate God’s creation, each other, and the gift of each day. We would do well to remember that more often during the rest of the year!

Each Friday night at Camp Ernst we symbolically place the “Camp Ernst Star” in the sky (it’s right there in the “buckle belt” of the constellation Orion).  We say that when their camp week is over, kids can still look at the sky, find the star, and remember the friends they made and the fun that they had. So tonight, Throwback Thursday just 50-something days before summercamp 2014 begins, I invite you to think back and be thankful.  And always let your light shine.



It’s Jared- the Boy’s E-team Leader!

Hey everyone my name is Jared and I can’t wait to be back at camp this summer! As well as this being my 6th year at camp I am also pumped to say that I will be the boys E Team leader this summer! E Team has a special place in my heart because it is where I started my camp career, and I can’t wait to get back to my camp roots. Laurel and I have lots of exciting plans for the newest staff at camp; I know we both are eager to being this wonderful  journey with all of our E Teamers. Well i guess that’s it for me; see you all at camp!!   

Favorite sights at camp!

We’re putting together some text boxes for a new project this summer…it’s going to be a really cool memory book of each week at camp. I’m brainstorming favorite sights at camp for one of the sidebars and thought it would be fun to share…here is one of my favorites: the sight of everyone’s candles lighting up the Chapel by the Lake at the Sunday night Spirit, Mind, and Body Ceremony!  What’s yours?



#tbt Throwback to 2004

I have said this before, and you’ll probably hear me say it again, but I am so proud of the way camp stays in people’s lives for years and years and years! It is fun to look at old photos and recognize kids who are still at camp or still in touch with us. Just shows the power of the camping experience…a little independence, a lot of role modeling, add in there nature, skill-building, friends, and fun and you come out with lives changed for the better. Can’t wait to see everyone back at Cabin Photos each Sunday this summer! Ernstlove, eli

Give me an E!!!!!- Meet Laurel, the E-team Girls Unit Leader

My name is Laurel Spurgeon and there is ONE LETTER that is my FAVORITE letter in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD and that letter is….E!!  With that being said, I am so honored to be E-team Unit Leader this summer!!!  

Being a part of our team of staff at Camp Ernst is such a privilege.  I wholeheartedly believe that being a part of this family has helped me develop important life skills and has proven that you truly have the ability to touch the lives of the campers that you come in contact with, no matter how little time you have with them.  I am so thrilled that I have the chance to pass on the honor of being a staff member to everyone a part of e-team

All of the e-team leaders have been planning lots of fun programs and coming up with different tools to strengthen your leadership abilities and become inspiring counselors!  I look forward to working with each and every one of you and making this summer the best one yet!!


(for Jack’s #2 reason and the links to all his previous posts, see )

1. The People

          Whether it’s the counselors, staff, or your cabin mates, you will meet new people…and you will make lasting memories with them. There’s a special thing at camp, something abnormal, where people give up on trying to be popular or the best. Instead, more of a “let’s include everyone” feeling is ignited. Be prepared to meet the nicest people in the world.

(Jack Hands is an eighth grader at Guardian Angels School and has been going to camp for four years. He likes ga-ga and writing and hopes to see you at camp this summer.)


(for Jack’s #3 reason and a link to his previous posts, see )

2. Ga-Ga

           What’s not to love? Now, while this may be a bit of a biased opinion, ga-ga really is a highlight of camp. You meet new people (I met two girls named Skylar and Sierra last year, and I’ve met more people in the past) and get to battle it out with your cabin mates. It’s like dodge ball except for the feet. Sometimes the counselors even join in just to make things tough.

(Jack Hands is an eighth grader at Guardian Angels School and has been going to camp for four years. He likes ga-ga and writing and hopes to see you at camp this summer.)

Counting down the days!

Meet Michael- He’s joining the LIT unit leader team

Rounding up the LIT Unit Leader team is Michael (aka Lindley)!  Here is a quick message to help you get to know a little more about him…

Hey everyone! I’m Michael Lindley and I’m excited to be back again this summer! Like many others Camp is like my second home, this will be my 18th summer! I’m excited to be moving to LIT’s this year, where I (with Lindsey) hope to bring lots of fun new leadership activities and spice up some signature LIT events! Some of my favorite Camp things include Breakfasts, the ropes course, FOUR SQUARE, and campfires with s’mores. Can’t wait to see everyone this summer at the Loft!

TOP TEN REASONS TO GO TO CAMP #3 (by camper Jack Hands)

(for Jack’s #4 reason and a link to his previous posts, see )

3. The Lake

          There’s lot to do at The Lake. There’s an one hundred foot waterslide, which sends you barreling downward into the lake with a big SPLASH! Kayaks, canoes, and aqua cycles line the shore, and practically beg you to step out and take a ride. The water trampoline will spring you just high enough to see the banana boat skidding across the water. The Lake is a water wonderland.

Stay tuned for more of Jack’s Top Ten! (Almost finished!)

(Jack Hands is an eighth grader at Guardian Angels School and has been going to camp for four years. He likes ga-ga and writing and hopes to see you at camp this summer.)