By Maddy Miller | Echo
Seated at the end of Glacier Highway, Echo Ranch's mission is to share the Gospel to children in southeast Alaska through camping.
Echo Ranch Bible Camp is located in Juneau, Alaska, and offers summer camp, horse camp and wilderness camp for ages seven through 18.
Former Program Director Zachary Miller and Camp Counselor Naomi Dickerson shared personal stories, personal impact and the mission of Echo Ranch.
Miller, from Findlay, Ohio, served at Echo Ranch Bible Camp from the summer of 2011 to the summer of 2016. He started out as a counselor, but throughout his time there, he held many different roles, including assistant program director, activities director, worship leader and counselor advisor.
In his exact words, Miller said Echo Ranch is all about "spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in southeast Alaska through Christian camping." Miller shared that one of the greatest things about working there for six summers was seeing some of the boys he had counseled grow up. In his first summer there, he had some boys in his cabin during Colt Camp, which is the youngest group at ages seven to nine. In his last summer, those same boys were sophomores in high school. He shared how cool it was to watch those boys grow up, but most importantly, grow in their faith.
In his time there, not only did he share the Gospel and watch the campers' faiths grow, his own faith grew as well. He commented on how being forced into certain situations strengthened his leadership skills. He also said that since he lived in the same place that he worked, he learned how to be aware of conflict resolution. Miller said that one of the biggest impacts Echo Ranch had on him was that he learned how to see the positives in negative situations.
"God was still at work even when things weren't going right," Miller said.
Dickerson, from Kansas City, Missouri, has currently served the past three summers at Echo Ranch and plans to go back again next summer. She views Echo Ranch as a chance for children to come to camp as a means of escape. She also see it as a chance for them to think on their own two feet without influences from the outside. She also said that Echo Ranch is a place for kids to just be loved, which is something not all kids experience at home.
Dickerson shared a story about a girl she met at horse camp this past summer. This girl had a hard home life where she wasn't loved or cared for and came to camp not believing in God. The second morning of camp, during the devotions time, Dickerson shared to the campers why we believe in the Bible. She said the girl really started to engage and understand. Dickerson talked to the girl after, and the girl said that she had never heard the Gospel in that way and it finally made sense. At the end of the week, the girl accepted Christ and all that He has to offer. She even made it known to Dickerson that she wants Christ even if it costs her some friendships. This was a big highlight for Dickerson.
During her time at Echo Ranch, Dickerson's faith has grown in many ways. Through sharing the Gospel with her campers, she said she saw the Gospel in action and how it can really change lives.
Echo Ranch is currently looking for its staff for the summer of 2018. Find out more information at echoranch.org.