Brower and Mitchell Complete Accounting Internship at Camp Chetek

Camp ministry is a unique experience. The high-energy games, intense music, and enthusiastic cheer-offs create a fun-filled and action-packed atmosphere unlike any other, an atmosphere in which campers can relax, have fun, and prepare their hearts to respond to the preaching occurring throughout the week. Counselors and program staff are key to running these operations. However, it takes a lot more than just counselors and program staff to run a camp. 

Gabe Brower and Jacob Mitchell are two of these unsung heroes.

Gabe Brower

During the summer of 2021, they served as Accounting Interns at Camp Chetek in northwestern Wisconsin, and their primary responsibility was found in managing the camp’s three shops: the Canteen (the snack shop), Camp Grounds (the coffee shop), and the bookstore/souvenir shop. 

As an Accounting (CPA) major, and additionally pursuing a Master’s in Biblical Studies and a minor in Computer Networking, Gabe was qualified to jump into store management, even with no previous experience working at Camp Chetek. “[I had] zero past experience,” Gabe admits, “just other friends who went there growing up.” 

Jacob Mitchell

Jacob, on the other hand, grew up at Camp Chetek. Over the last ten years he’s served in program, maintenance, counseling, kitchen, and now the business office, among other various positions.  As a student with a major in Business Management with an Accounting concentration, Jacob also was well-prepared for the challenges summer camp retail would bring.

The pair took turns handling management and paperwork every other week. Their responsibilities included bookwork, handling bills and receipts, shopping and restocking inventory, managing the stores, and a lot of behind-the-scenes work, such as routine maintenance and troubleshooting. Gabe mentioned two specific courses he’s taken at Maranatha that helped him: Principles of Accounting and Business Management. Principles of Accounting prepared him to properly handle the paperwork he dealt with, and Business Management greatly assisted him in working with people and in responding well under pressure. 

Because of his education at Maranatha, Jacob had a better understanding of the chain reaction whenever they began to run out of stock in an item. On the accounting side of things, he watched as scenarios he practiced in class happened in real-time. 

This internship was constructive to Gabe and Jacob as they gained hands-on experience in physical scenarios and witnessed each intricate part of a small organization working together. Gabe appreciated the “top-down look,” having the chance to see the whole organization and how each aspect was important in its own way. 

Having had no previous camp experience, Gabe had a lot to learn, such as specific Camp Chetek jargon and being flexible with the inevitable schedule changes. Having been to multiple other camps and developed a well-rounded camper’s perspective, he valued the chance to see camp from the background and to realize the “sacrifices people made that you just never think about.” Jacob discovered that he prefers the business side of camp, or the behind-the-scenes work, as opposed to the paperwork. Both learned how important communication is, especially in camp ministry. 

Although they weren’t counselors, God was still at work through the ministry they provided. Gabe admits that as a business intern at a camp, there’s a lot to do and a lot of responsibility, and it can be very easy to lose the spiritual purpose behind it all. He expresses that it’s good to find the drive to pursue opportunities to be a blessing, and God blessed him for his efforts in allowing him to lead one camper to the Lord. 

Jacob shares the same sentiments; working on the practical side of camp can be challenging to find those opportunities. However, he found himself more available to be an encouragement to the staff and administration and to grow as a team. He expresses that he grew and learned a lot spiritually himself as God showed him his own strengths and talents in ministry. 

One of the things that Jacob learned this summer was how to have patience with the schedule and with people, as one tends to be more flexible than it should, and the other not flexible enough. Trusting God with everything and knowing that it’s all in His hands was his greatest learning process. Gabe agrees and adds that God showed him the need to take initiative, “to jump in where needed and help out where I can,” and that this was a good principle “for business and in life.” 

Every ministry needs the practical in order to be able to emphasize the spiritual, and servants like Gabe and Jacob make it possible for this to happen. God can work through any Christian willing to lay down his own desires and needs for the sake of others. Camp wouldn’t run without the operational staff.