Huntington, Ind.—While Huntington University students can’t take required classes during their January Term, they certainly can find their own personal niche.
For the 2007 J-Term, Connie Updike, assistant professor of recreation management, teamed up with Camp Living Waters Director and Huntington alumna Olinda Barnes to offer a very specialized course—a camp leadership class. Throughout the two weeks that students spent at Camp Living Waters in Luther, Mich., they learned the overall management of a camp, visited other camps to experience the differences in camp philosophies and program offerings, and helped operate the camp and facilitate weekend retreats.
The concept for the class arose out of a simple, informal conversation Updike had with Barnes.
“Olinda was aware of my interest in experiential learning opportunities for students and she had experienced a J-Term camp leadership class when she was a student at HU,” Updike said. “Together, we agreed that it would be great for us to again offer such an opportunity to those students who may have an interest in pursuing a ministry in Christian camping.”
Ten students signed up for the course to learn about the behind-the-scenes workings of a year-round camp. Kearstin Criswell, a recreation and sports management major from Pittsboro, Ind., said she took the class because of her interest in programming and coordinating events.
“With my studies also in not-for-profit organization and educational ministries,” she said, “this was a good place to explore possibilities for the future.”
Not all the students were so inspired to consider this kind of work for their future careers. Jessica Deter, a family and children’s educational ministries major from Bluffton, Ohio, was one of those students.
“It showed me personally that I don’t think running a camp all year round is for me,” she said, “but it might be fun to do during the summer.”
Deter said she did learn a great deal about running a camp, like the importance of keeping Jesus at the center, the importance of a great staff, and the amount of money and the number of good connections it takes to keep a camp running.
“I don’t think people see the importance of supporting a camp as much as they should,” Deter said. “I think the community and churches should want to give so that there is a nice place for kids to go.”
Criswell described her satisfaction of being secluded from the internet and cell phones for two weeks. She said it helped their whole group bond together through their passion for camp and retreat leadership.
This is the third J-Term that Updike and Barnes have offered this course. It is being offered on a three-year rotation.
Huntington University’s January Term 2007 offered eight off-campus and 25 on-campus classes spanning two-and-a-half weeks, giving students a chance to delve into a single subject in-depth. January Term began on Jan. 8 and ended Jan. 24.