Part of Their Story
Jason and Tami Patten have been a part of the Camp Lebanon family for years. Camp was where part of their story began, when they both served in the Jr. Staff program together! Now, the Patten kids are in various stages of the D3 Discipleship Program at Camp, with Alicia and Nick having finished D3, and Ryan starting his first summer of D3 this year!
It didn’t take much to convince the Patten kids to step in to the excitement of the D3 Program. “It was just … part of their story already, and they were ready to embrace it. We didn’t have to talk them into it!” says Tami, laughing.
“For me,” says Jason, “it was such a formative thing in just growing up and starting an early step in being independent.” Both Jason and Tami have seen the ways that the D3 Program has impacted their kids lives, moving Camp from a place that they just visted for Summer Camp or Family Camp. “You felt like you were a part of it, not just something that you went to,” Jason remembers. “And knowing our kids the way we do, we really thought that they would have the same experience, and that certainly turned out to be true!”
Going After the Kingdom
Family Camp was a big part of their family experience before the Patten kids started their D3 journeys. “We had started to go to Family Camp probably 4 or 5 years earlier,” Jason says. “It was just helpful and even fun for us to see that Camp had certainly evolved and it had changed, and at the same time it’s core was still the same.” Many years past their own experiences serving on the summer staff team, Jason and Tami were encouraged that “what was important to Camp 25 years ago is what’s important to Camp today.”
When Tami tells the story of her kids’ time in the D3 Program, she lets other parents know that she trusts Camp to be true to a foundation of “caring about each other, loving Christ, serving others, going after the Kingdom.” When asked what her kids have learned through their time in D3, she says, “I think they expected to learn a heart of a servant – sacrificial, working hard, long hours, learning to work on a team … and also the leadership aspect. I think they got all of that, and then some!”
A Unique Challenge
What makes the D3 Program stand out from all of the other things competing for the attention of kids? Jason says, “In a world where there are a lot of things going on for kids … challenges your kids, develops them … it’s a growth opportunity, but also has this unique element of teaching them to serve.”
The D3 Program begins at age 14+, when students can be a part of a two week session of SWEAT Team. Those two weeks are full of hard work. There’s also so much fun and joy to be found in working alongside others, being part of a team, and getting to know leaders and students who are all aiming towards Christ! Following graduation from SWEAT Team, students can volunteer on Service Crew, which gives them the chance to serve in different areas from where they initially were placed. This part of the program can broaden their perspectives of Camp and helps them dive even more deeply into their faith through daily study with their team and leaders.
Students can continue to volunteer with Service Crew, and upon turning 16+ and completing at least two volunteer weeks, they are eligible to apply for the final part of the D3 Program – Leaders in Training (LIT). This three-week, intense program prepares students to take what they have learned into the world, whether serving here at Camp or in their churches and communities back home. The goal of LIT is to train up the next generation of leaders through lots of classroom study, culminating in a last week of in-cabins training as a Junior Counselor! Once students have graduated from LIT, they can serve on our Jr. Staff Program and get paid for each week they work!
Making It Their Own
For the Patten family, the D3 Program has become a part of their story – a story of growing independence, growing leadership, and growing faith. Tami says of her kids, “I really saw them find a place that they could call their own and actually explore their faith and make it their own.” Camp Lebanon hopes to continue providing a spot for all ages to grow closer in their walk with Jesus at this Meeting Place with God.