MU students spend summers working at Kanakuk Kamps

Nearly 40 MU students were hired to work at Kanakuk Kamps for summer 2014.

Kanakuk Kamps, a Christian summer-camp company that has recruited workers from MU for years, returned to campus Oct. 8 and 9 to attract students for upcoming summer sessions.

Employees said workers at the camp, located in southwestern Missouri, spend time during the summer doing various activities such as sports and cliff jumping.

Alex Demczak, senior and Missouri football player, said he spends about three months of his summers teaching football and weightlifting to kids at the camps. He said he would recommend working at the camp for any college students, whether they are athletic or not.

“You don’t have to be a college athlete,” he said. “Whatever you like doing, you can do that all day and teach classes and work on your leadership."

Shay Robbins, a director for Kanakuk, said he has worked with the company for years after discovering his faith through the Kanakuk Institute.

“Our mission statement is developing dynamic Christian leaders through ‘life-changing experiences, godly relationships and spiritual training,’” he said.

Robbins said Kanakuk workers believe kids are vital for the future and that investing time in their lives is a rewarding experience each summer.

He said the servant leadership experience is invaluable for college students.

Sophomore Connor Carr has been involved with Kanakuk for thirteen years, as both a participant and a worker.

At MU, Carr joined a fraternity with other staff members and said he would not be who he is without the camp. Carr said he even passed up a trip to Disney World and postponed a NASA internship to work at Kanakuk.

“It is one of the most exhausting jobs you could ever do, both physically and mentally,” he said. “But at the end of it, it’s also one of the most rewarding summer jobs that you could ever do.”

Carr said he enjoys helping kids through tough times, such as transitioning to high school, and getting to introduce campers to new outdoor experiences.

He said Kanakuk’s relationship with MU has been growing for years, and that the ministry organization hired nearly 40 MU students for summer of 2014.

“I think we definitely have a stronger relationship with Mizzou (now) than we did five years ago, and I hope I can say in five years that we have a stronger relationship than we did today,” Carr said.

Both Carr and Demczak said the camp has helped them grow in their faith and to forge connections with colleges across the country.

Demczak is also involved with another branch of Kanakuk called K-Life, in which he meets with local children once a week in Columbia for activities like movie nights.

During spring recruitment, Kanakuk will host a “rival week,” during which they compete with other colleges to have students interview for a job.

Carr said the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M have consistently kept MU from a top position, but he hopes MU will be able to compete this spring.

“I’ve been really excited about the potential number of students growing,” Robbins said. “I’d love to have 200 students come work for us from Mizzou.”

Demczak said that students can get a feel for the camps during a campus event Oct. 30, which will include a concert and a presentation by Kanakuk CEO Joe White.

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