Church camps welcome student recruiters
Friday, September 7, 2007
By Jacey Jacobs
Oklahoma Christian University student recruiters get to experience summer camp in an inimitable way. They use the opportunity to connect with high school students by being counselors at various youth group events and church camps during the summer. These are great opportunities to promote the college and recruit incoming freshmen.
Admissions counselors, Katy Watson and Crislyn Ward, are the co-coordinators of the summer recruiting program at Oklahoma Christian. Their job is to set up the schedule of various summer camps that high school students across the country will be attending and hire several Oklahoma Christian students to attend these camps as recruiters and counselors. Throughout the summer, the students are involved in many aspects of the camp experience, including serving as spiritual mentors for the high school students. Recruiters organize devotionals, lead singing, and are counselors or group leaders at the camps.
While serving as counselors, the students not only have opportunities to build relationships with the campers, but they also have opportunities to share their experience at Oklahoma Christian with the campers.
“It’s a process of spending time with those kids and showing them how Oklahoma Christian can relate to them and how the student counselors can relate to them. I had my own experience and they related to me,” Watson said.
This summer Oklahoma Christian sent 27 counselors into 34 different camps including a mission trip to Mexico with a youth group from Littleton, Colorado; a work camp in San Antonio; and two inner-city camps at Shiloh in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City.
“The primary goal is the spiritual aspect. First that, then they recruit,” Ward said. “The counselors get in front of the camp and give the ‘OC talk’ one night at the end of the week. They talk about the school and encourage kids to go there.”
While it is great to encourage campers to attend Oklahoma Christian, a greater reward is found in encouraging them to grow in their faith.
“My favorite part about recruiting was meeting the high school kids and trying to make a connection with them. That way, they really trusted me when the subject of choosing a college came up,” sophomore, Katy King said. “I learned that high school kids are open to learning about God and hungry for some spiritual direction from people that are not too far from their age. They were very accepting to us as counselors and really respected our opinions. That made it easier to talk to them about OC.”
Unfortunately, there is no official way to keep a record of the number of students that come to Oklahoma Christian as a result of the summer recruiting program. Some students go into the camps with firm intentions of attending another university and go home set on attending Oklahoma Christian due to their experience with student recruiters.
Junior, Kendra Mobley, is an example of a camper that made the last minute decision to switch to Oklahoma Christian.
“I went to camp Lu-Jo the summer before I started my freshman year. I was all set to go to Abilene Christian University, but because of the fun and enthusiastic counselors there, I decided to go to Oklahoma Christian. They really showed me that awesome people were at Oklahoma Christian and that God had a plan for my life, and I believe that it involved me coming here.”
Watson encourages students to apply for the summer counseling positions. The position is paid and offers free housing for the summer. Contact the admissions office for further information.