An interview with Cara Krueger

An interview with Cara Krueger, who is finishing her year-long Tejas Remain internship.

T: How long have you known you should be in camp ministry?
CK: I would say since the summer of 2011. I worked at Hermann Sons Youth Camp, I also went there as a camper and I loved camp! After my freshman year at UMHB I discovered that school and the degree I was working toward wasn’t really helping me. I was at Hermann Sons for five years and went through their training program.

T: Can you describe the circumstances surrounding the call from God to be in camp ministry?
CK: The summer of 2012 I went to Charis Hills and was in their training program. During one of the worship sessions, I realized that the Lord could be involved in camp – that I could worship the Lord and serve the Lord through camp ministry. It was there I felt the Lord tell me hey I want you to do this full-time.

T: How did you go about fulfilling the calling the Lord laid on your heart?
CK: Waiting on the Lord for each step. I went to Texas A&M and received a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences with an emphasis in Youth Development because I knew that would jump start me into camp. After graduation I didn’t know the next step and ended up looking for jobs on Google and found CCCA.org (Christian Camp and Conference Association). From there I was looking into Internship programs and that’s how I heard about the Tejas Internship.

T: Why get a special emphasis in Youth Development?
CK: I want to work at a camp that focuses not just on youth, but primary youth with special needs or those who are different. Sometimes those children find it difficult to go to a camp that doesn’t know how to meet their needs. I would love to work full-time in an environment designed to serve these kids.

T: You started the year-long Tejas Internship in the Fall of 2014. How has what you learned in college been applied here?
CK: We did a lot of learning through experience and we went to an after-school program and we actually ran the whole program. We got first-hand experience on facilitating games, working with parents, teachers, and the school district, and figuring all of that out. Coming to Tejas I got to take all my experiences from there and Charis Hills and apply it in situations where people think differently than me. It’s also handy when we have campers come through and I can see they aren’t quite on the same page as the rest of the group. I can step in with a certain level of confidence and understanding and talk with them, try reach them, and see what I can do to help them out. It’s been really cool to see how what I’ve learned can be applied here, even though I’m not working directly with children with special needs.

T: Describe how you came to be at Tejas.
CK: It’s a little funny, I actually applied for a different internship and thought I had gotten it, but they called and said I didn’t. So I was thinking maybe the Lord didn’t want me in camp ministry right now. I kept looking at the 3CA website at the job postings at the Tejas internship was there, but I didn’t think it was the best fit for what I wanted to do. I applied for five other jobs and didn’t get any of those. Then one day my friend was talking to me about job hunting and she convinced me to apply at Tejas. I did and Tejas called. I came out and had a tour and interview and really liked it and they liked me and offered me the job.

T: Have there been learning experiences at Tejas that will help you at other camps?
CK: This year has been a blast, but also hard because I’ve been learning constantly. I’ve learned how to process a lot of information very quickly because something needs to be done now and also how to take a step back and prioritize because these projects can wait. I’ve also learned a lot of practical skills here – driving a tractor, plowing the mud pit area, lighting camp fires, caring for the zip and wall climbing equipment. I learned how to be a leader and grow along side the other interns. I’ve learned a lot from them about what it looks like to love somebody else, encourage each other, and to really live in community. I think taking all of those lessons into my future, whatever that will be, will greatly benefit me.

T: During the Summer season, your responsibilities changed again.
CK: Yes, my responsibilities shifted from being a rec intern to a program assistant. A rec intern is hands on, running the activities, doing what needs to happen. A program assistant is like a step back from that. We help lead the summer staff, training them to work with the guests. It’s cool to think that what I do now affects the people behind me and how prepared they will be for summer camps. It like in God’s Kingdom and our relationship with the Lord – what we do now has an affect on our future relationship with Him, or our future family, or future kids.

T: After your time at Tejas, what do you ultimately hope to do?
CK: That’s a great question. I considered a few opportunities – continuing my education in a graduate program, jumping straight in full-time camp ministry, or taking a step back a learning how business is run. A goal of mine (in the far future) is to run my own camp that serves not only children with special needs, but children without and have them come together and work together. Right now I’m still trying to figure out which direction the Lord wants me to go.

Learn more about the Tejas Remain internship program.