Camping Inquiry Program

CIP - Joanna Epp - in action 3Spend a summer working with a camp administrator and receive up to a $1,500 scholarship and a $750 – $1,000 stipend.

Mennonite Camping Association newsletter editor Jim Penner has written that outdoor ministry connects sacred journeys to sacred places. Camps provide places of pilgrimage for the modern church – sacred places where young people can explore what it means to live faithfully in a Christ-centered community and where care of the earth is an extension of Jesus’ ministry.

The Camping Inquiry Program (CIP) enables students at Goshen College to spend three months in service with a church-related camp/retreat center. CIP provides one way for students to test whether they might pursue involvement in outdoor ministry after graduation, as well as other venues of the church and vocation.

“This summer was absolutely phenomenal in many different ways. I learned so much about God, kids and working with others.” – Benson Hostetter, CIP 2012

About the program

Students in CIP will experience:

  • Direct, meaningful service to others in a camp/retreat center setting
  • Creative responses to the financial, social and ecclesiastical challenges facing our church camps and retreat centers
  • Encounters with people of all ages with diverse theological perspectives
  • Encounters with people from other cultures
  • Insight into the needs of Mennonite camps and retreat centers and current methods of addressing those needs
  • In-depth contact with the leaders of our church camps

The goal of the Camping Inquiry Program is to facilitate student engagement with a camping or retreat center and on-site mentor in a meaningful assignment. Students are expected to learn from both their active service and from their observation of others engaged in service. They are also expected to participate actively in the life of their camping or retreat center unit, including involvement with a local congregation.

CIP - Lucas Harnish - staffAt the end of the service period, camp supervisors will write a report for Goshen College and the student, evaluating the student’s performance and the suitability of the program for future interns. Students should meet with their academic advisers to learn about the possibility of earning academic credit for their CIP experience

“As I thought back to the beginning of the summer, I discovered how much I didn’t know, and therefore how much I have grown and learned since then.  I’ve had a one-of-a-kind summer working at Camp Friedenswald…” – Mia Engle, CIP 2012

How do I apply to participate in the Camping Inquiry Program?

Registration Deadlines:

CIP - Anna Nafziger - in action 3Though we would love to provide placements for all students who apply, we are only able to accept 5-8 applicants per Inquiry Program. There are two deadlines: early-bird (December 1) and final (January 31).

Students who complete their applications by the early-bird deadline will be processed (accepted or not accepted) first. Depending on the number of applicants in a given year, the possibility exists that all slots might be filled even before the final deadline. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the student to apply early!

“The most outstanding characteristic of this summer’s CIP experience was learning to work with a unique team of people in a staffing environment completely foreign to me.” – Matthew Helmuth, CIP 2012

If you are a student:

  • Visit the Campus Ministries Office and speak with Bob Yoder, CIP administrator.
  • Let your academic adviser know you would like to participate in the program and discuss the option of earning academic credit.
  • Discuss your camp/retreat center interests with the pastor of your home congregation.
  • Review potential camp locations on the Mennonite Camping Association web site.
  • Complete the online application form.

If you represent a congregation as a pastor or youth leader:

  • Call or write to the CIP administrator at Goshen College and nominate an excellent student candidate from your congregation who would benefit from CIP.

If you are a camp administrator:

  • Call or write to the CIP administrator at Goshen College and submit a position description for any student who has applied to participate in the program.
  • Consider seriously how your camp could host a student as a CIP participant when a candidate names your site as the preferred camp/retreat assignment.
  • Discuss candidly camp/retreat center options with students who express an interest in serving with your camp

“I felt [Marta and I] had a strong working relationship that provided a foundation to discuss both blessings and challenges involved in camp leadership.” – Dean Williams, Highland Retreat

How does the program work?

The Camping Inquiry Program is designed to be a summer-long camp experience for Goshen College students. It calls for full-time involvement for 11 weeks.

Each CIP intern will receive a scholarship of $1,500 to be applied to college expenses during the academic year following the term of service. Ideally, the funds for the scholarship will come from the following sources:

  • $1,000 from Goshen College Campus Ministries
  • $500 from student’s home congregation (or equivalent)

The sponsoring camp will also provide food, housing, and a $750 – $1,000 personal stipend. The student will be responsible for travel expenses to and from the camping or retreat center location.

“The most important goal that I had set for myself was my personal faith growth. I did not expect myself to grow as much as I have grown this summer.” – Marta Troyer, CIP 2012

Who may participate?

The Camping Inquiry Program is designed for Goshen College students who have completed two to three years of college. Ideally, candidates for the program should have a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students from all faith traditions are warmly invited to participate in CIP and may negotiate an assignment with an other-than-Mennonite agency.

May I participate in the Camping Inquiry Program at times other than the summer?

Yes – if the CIP Administrator, your academic adviser at Goshen College, and the camp agree on another 11-week period during the year. However, the program’s primary intention is for a summer experience.

You can find more information about camps at the Mennonite Camping Association site:

“Through my time at Squeah I look forward to serving at camps in the future and working with children in many different settings.”  – Eva Lapp, CIP 2012

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