July 23, 2018
Camp Lookout, hosted by College of the Ozarks, provides full summer camp experience for local childrenCounselor Lain McCanless, senior public relations major, accompanies children through many camp activities, including sharing devotionals with the campers each night.
Katie Linn, age 12 from Branson, MO experiences the zoom floom during a chance to have fun and escape the heat at Camp Lookout this week. The one-week camp sessions on the C of O campus extend through Aug. 10. More than five hundred area school-aged children will enjoy the free Christian camp this summer.
Camp Lookout campers help the Farmers Market student workers plant pumpkin seeds. The campers learn about the campus gardens as well as the importance of community service.
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — Camp Lookout, an outreach program hosted by College of the Ozarks, brings a free summer camp experience to families with financial need in Stone and Taney Counties.
Children between the ages of 8 and 12 participate in a combination of summer activities and Bible studies led by College of the Ozarks students who serve as staff of Camp Lookout. The camp is located on the C of O campus near the shore of Lake Taneycomo. The camp extends from June 4 to August 10, with each group of campers spending a week away from home.
“Camp Lookout is incredible,” said Amanda Krucker, sophomore human and molecular biology major. “So many things build on top of each other to make camp such a great thing. Being able to see that you’re impacting kids’ lives, and that you could be planting that seed for Christ, makes the responsibility worth it.”
“At this point, we have had roughly 30 kids ask Jesus into their hearts — and that’s in four weeks of camp,” said Ryan Knight, co-director of Camp Lookout and director of student activities at C of O. “Approximately 150 campers have taken the Camp Lookout impact challenge where they pledge to make a difference in their neighborhood, their family, and in their community.”
Students as staff
This unique camp is overseen by the Christian Ministries Department at College of the Ozarks, has a 25-year-mission of serving children, and maintains a six-to-one staff-to-camper ratio in order to allow each attendee to receive adequate attention throughout the week. The camp staff is comprised of students at College of the Ozarks who are a part of the summer work program on campus.
“It begins with the camp counselors we hire, but it doesn’t end there,” said Lynn Shaw, co-director of Camp Lookout and community service coordinator at College of the Ozarks. “Ryan and Aubrey Knight invest in each one of the counselors individually and as a group. As they do so, the counselors learn how to treat their campers as Ryan and Aubrey treat them. Taking care of 8-12 year olds can be an emotionally depleting process. Ryan and Aubrey make sure that the counselors are given opportunity to recharge.”
“What really sets Camp Lookout apart from other summer camps is the counselors,” Knight said. “These counselors continually bless the kids by exhibiting Christian character in everything they do. They are intentional in their efforts to relate to the kids in the midst of whatever hardship they are experiencing and show them firsthand how to be joyful. As we pour into the counselors, the counselors pour into the kids.”
A week away
“We provide fun activities like a day at Silver Dollar City (SDC),” Shaw said. “The campers also play water sports with the help of the campus fire department and the zoom floom (a 75-foot inflatable water slide), eat ice cream at The Keeter Center, and swim at the C of O Fitness Center. Campers also learn how to serve others by helping C of O students plant vegetables in the campus gardens.”
These experiences make an impact.
“We had one camper this week who said this is and will be the best week of his summer,” said Brevin Hill, sophomore business administration and management major. “Two weeks ago, we had kids who were crying as they were leaving on Friday. Some kids at the camp are going back to some rough homes. The week at camp allows them to be away from all that, and gives us the opportunity to impact their lives.”
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Best Value Regional College in the Midwest and No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2018. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2018. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.
07.23.18 – Abigail Wiley