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3300 River Road
Mount Bethel, PA 18343

(570) 897-6000

Christian retreat center for New Jersey and Pennsylvania marriage retreat, singles retreat, women's retreat and youth summer camp in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.

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Tales of Tuscarora

A Day in the Life of a Teen Week Director

Tuscarora

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Evan Langlois

Teen Week Director

Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship
Bethany Lutheran Brethren Church
East Hartland, CT

I’ve been tasked to give you all a glimpse of Teen Week from the perspective of the Director.  Since I’m older and a little out of touch, I first had to educate in the ways of “the selfie,” much to my own chagrin.  But I’m a servant, so… here is attempt #1.

I’ve been tasked to give you all a glimpse of Teen Week from the perspective of the Director.  Since I’m older and a little out of touch, I first had to educate in the ways of “the selfie,” much to my own chagrin.  But I’m a servant, so… here is attempt #1.

Attempt #2.

Attempt #2.

I often have to tell my kids to ask for help.

I often have to tell my kids to ask for help.

Out on my own with the students!  It’s great to hear the campers having some fun during our free time activities.  This is a shot of our Slip and Slide kickball game!  Don’t let my awkward grin distract you from the fun they’re having!

Out on my own with the students!  It’s great to hear the campers having some fun during our free time activities.  This is a shot of our Slip and Slide kickball game! 

Don’t let my awkward grin distract you from the fun they’re having!

I’m very grateful for the staff that give up their time to help plan and serve with this ministry!  Here’s our head counselors, associate director and MC for the week helping me hone the craft of selfie taking.  Not a bad looking group, eh?

I’m very grateful for the staff that give up their time to help plan and serve with this ministry!  Here’s our head counselors, associate director and MC for the week helping me hone the craft of selfie taking. 

Not a bad looking group, eh?

“What does camp look like from the director’s perspective?” you might ask.  Well, it’s a lot of problem solving, or as I like to call it, “hiding.”

“What does camp look like from the director’s perspective?” you might ask. 

Well, it’s a lot of problem solving, or as I like to call it, “hiding.”

When they are persistent?  More hiding.

When they are persistent?  More hiding.

I also get to do a lot of problem solving.  Like this one at lunch…

I also get to do a lot of problem solving.  Like this one at lunch…

...or in the snack shop…

...or in the snack shop…

…and even sometimes with the band.  it’s a good thing I like problem solving.

…and even sometimes with the band. 

it’s a good thing I like problem solving.

And hiding.

And hiding.

Despite my facial expression, this is what gets me excited about camp!  I’m grateful that this is ultimately how we solve problems.  Praise God that He always hears us when we call!!

Despite my facial expression, this is what gets me excited about camp! 

I’m grateful that this is ultimately how we solve problems.  Praise God that He always hears us when we call!!

Later, I killed this bug and saved swimmers from a sting.  It was heroic, but nothing like this: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55. 

Later, I killed this bug and saved swimmers from a sting. 

It was heroic, but nothing like this: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55. 

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”  Truth!  But this guy feeds us pretty well…

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” 

Truth!  But this guy feeds us pretty well…

Here is the real bread!  Jay Trainer leading our camp in the Word!

Here is the real bread!  Jay Trainer leading our camp in the Word!

One of the best things is hearing an auditorium full of students singing God’s praises in response to the Gospel!  That we get to sing these words, “Jesus paid it all,” what better way to end a day!  His grace is amazing and undeserved!  It still always amazes me what He does at camp every year…

One of the best things is hearing an auditorium full of students singing God’s praises in response to the Gospel! 

That we get to sing these words, “Jesus paid it all,” what better way to end a day! 

His grace is amazing and undeserved!  It still always amazes me what He does at camp every year…

…even in spite of me!

…even in spite of me!

“Now to him who is able to far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20

Tuscarora Summer Staff - A Beloved Tradition

Tuscarora

Brianna Esposito

            Beginning in the earliest stages of Tuscarora’s ministry, the annual incoming of the Conference Center’s youngest and freshest employees has always heralded our busiest and most exciting time of year. Although it has evolved since its start, the Tuscarora Summer Staff program has withstood the test of time and continues to remain a unique and vital piece of our mission and legacy.

            “I’ve been coming to Tuscarora since I was a kid for Leisure Week and Junior Week and Teen Week. My friend was on Staff for the previous two summers, and she told me what a great experience it was, and how many great friends can be made. I thought it sounded really great, so I wanted to be a part of it.” – Olivia, Summer Staff 2017

            The Summer Staff program itself is engineered to help those teenagers involved grow and learn and bond through their time at work, at prayer, and at play. With its track record of countless teenagers who have decided to come back during their off-school season, there is no doubt the program has succeeded at fulfilling its purpose. More often than not, the teens find that they discovered something about themselves or their faith that they did not even realize they were searching for. If you watch them for long enough, it is easy to see how much God works in their lives while they spend the summer together. Some of the most profound moments between the Staffers occur when they share Devotional time, or pray together by the river, or sing worship songs together during their Large Group sessions. The counselors take their responsibility to uphold the message of the Gospel and to lead their Staffers in the ways of Christ very seriously, and it shows in Staffers’ attitudes year after year.

            “Counseling teenagers is what I want to do with my future, so I was very thankful they had me here to be a counselor last year, and that they had me back again. Tuscarora has been a very special place in my life, and it’s done a lot for me, so I want to give back and show others how much of a difference it can make for them.” – Caleb, Summer Staff 2017

            As a former staffer myself (2012 – 2013), I know firsthand how Summer Staff helped me blossom, and am delighted with every passing summer that I watch more kids return and be introduced to the Staff family. I use the word “family” without hesitation to describe the relationship that bonds the Staffers together. There is no other word for it. The kinship that forms between each session’s collection of teens is a strong and fast-happening one. Over the three to seven weeks that they could spend on campus, the Staffers spend practically every moment together. At work, they share responsibility; at time with Christ, they remember to pray for one another; at free time, they laugh and make memories that will tether them together when they go their separate ways.

               “I was most looking forward to coming back to Staff because I could be with my friends again from last summer, and I would be able to make friends with the new Staffers I’d meet.” – Alyssa

                Even now, watching them as an adult and as a dining room hostess is an experience in and of itself that I treasure. The bonding that occurs between these teens – some of who were strangers before the summer – is a phenomenon that never gets old. It helps me remember the best moments and shenanigans I shared with my Staff mates, and it is something that is shared by most of the full-time and year-round employees, as many of them began their journey at Tuscarora through Summer Staff. I know it will continue its purpose for many years to come. Summer Staff has become an intrinsic piece of life on the Tuscarora campus; it is a life-changing experience that I know anyone involved would not trade for the world.

            “I love it here! I made such good memories and friends last summer; I wanted to come back because I had a craving for it. This place is just magical.” – Alice, Summer Staff 2017