If Senior Week has a problem, it’s that we have TOO many overqualified, overeducated, overzealous staff members.
We have a staff of about 60 full-time volunteers. None of our volunteers are paid. I’m not paid. Josh isn’t paid. Not only are we NOT paid, our staff members PAY to come to camp. Yep. Sorta crazy, I know. Each staff member pays $40 to help subsidize the costs of the week. By only using volunteer staff, we’re able to keep camper registration fees low. (Also, just FYI, about 85% of your child’s registration fees are used to pay for food and utility costs. Senior Week receives about $22 per camper to pay for shirts and activities. That’s an entirely different post, though.) About half of our volunteers are college-aged and the other half are old folks like myself. We make sure that every cabin has at least 2 (and usually 3) adult counselors to watch over the day-to-day activities of your teen. Plus, we have a kitchen staff of about 15 individuals that make sure we have healthy meals. Our kitchen director even has a SafeServe certification. All of our staff are great Christian men and women that have a desire to make sure your teen has one of the best weeks of their life. This year, we’ll have about 8 full-time ministry staff members from SC, TN and KY in addition to 2 returning foreign missionaries.
Currently we have 3 nurses (plus a physical therapist and dentist), but I’m working hard to recruit an EMT and another nurse. I have a friend that sends his daughter to a camp for children with disabilities, and they don’t even have the medical staff we have! This year, we have at least 5 lifeguards, several certified school teachers, at least 6 current or former group home houseparents. We’re not allowed to count former lifeguards, but if we were, I’d have to take off my shoes to count that high.
Of course, this doesn’t even account for all of the gifts from every staff member: the nuclear engineer washing dishes; the unpaid ministry leaders cleaning bathrooms; the V.P. of sales dealing with an RV’s wastewater drainage system; the Physical Therapy assistants calculating portions of cheesecake; the grocery store managers figuring out how to make a bonfire out of wet wood; the stay-at-home parents praying over your daughters each night; or the small business owner making sweet tea every afternoon. Everyone comes together to perform a vital role for our week.And, Yes, almost 30 of our staff are in college. They’re students that attend Clemson (3), USC (2), Lander (1), Anderson (1), Upstate (1), Harding (5), North Greenville (1), Pepperdine (2), Tennessee (1), West Virginia (1), Charleston Southern (1), Brevard (1), and other universities as well. Finally, here’s something I hope you’ll find comforting… with the exception of 3 staff members (2 AIM interns, and 1 full-time ministry leader that are coming for the first time), I personally know every staff member. Not only do I know them; I know their mamas. I’ve personally known most of the staff for 20 years or more. Some of our staff members were campers with Robin and I. Sure, we have several staff members that are related to the Akers and Murphy families, but many of our volunteer staff members are composed of our church families from Lexington, Holland Park, Central (Spartanburg) and elsewhere. I did a brief estimate, and I think we have over 1,000,000 lifetime hours served at PBC (insert slight sarcasm here). Most of those are from Robin, though, because: (a) he’s had lots of experience; and (b) he once came to camp with a pair of shorts and a toothbrush and stayed the entire summer. I’m joking… sort of. Seriously, there are at least 10 of us on staff that have volunteered for more than 20 weeks of bible camp. My wife and I first were counselors in 1997. We’ve volunteered almost every year since then and some years we’ve even come two weeks in one summer. Here’s just a brief example of the kind of counselors we have: This year, in cabin 5, we have 3 counselors. Two are certified teachers. One is a children’s minister. One is a guidance counselor. One served as a houseparent at a children’s home for several years. All three have been coming to PBC their entire life. One was even married at PBC. That’s a pretty stellar resume. And every cabin seems similarly composed of All-Stars. I could go on and on, but I won’t.I don’t just know our staff… I trust them. I trust them with my own kids. We don’t just let anyone come and serve with us. We’re selective. We want the best-of-the-best to be role models for your kids. Rest assured, your teens are in good hands.