Serving on BlueSky's Camp Staff:
Frequently Asked Questions

Ministry

Who does Camp BlueSky serve?


Camp BlueSky is a residential camp for 7-17 year olds who live in Nairobi, Kenya, and across East Africa. We have had as many as 800 campers attend in a summer camp season (in 2020 we had 500 campers registered for our online camp and we are rebuilding our capacity as we adjust to COVID regulations). We primarily serve international and private school students: the children of expatriates (internationals) & globally-minded Kenyans who work in diplomatic service, government, business, NGO/aid organizations, and as missionaries. They come from many different national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Many of these students are “Third Culture Kids” or TCKs. TCKs are kids who spend a significant part of their developmental years living outside their parents home culture. They tend to experience a lot of transition and can be from anywhere in the world - a missionary kid from Korea, a military brat from the US, a child of diplomats from Nigeria, or a kid who's a dual citizen from Kenya and Finland. Many Kenyan kids whose parents work in professional fields, ministry, or government attend the same schools as TCKs and are also important members of the multinational or global community. All these kids, TCK and Kenyan alike, were created to experience the transforming power of Jesus’ love and the adventure of following him in the context of an authentic community. They are also uniquely positioned to make an impact on a national and global level as they grow up. At BlueSky, we feel deeply called to disciple and love this niche (but numerous!) group of kids in Nairobi so they can experience abundant life in Christ and impact their own and other cultures for God’s glory.




What does it mean that Camp BlueSky is a Christian camp? How do you integrate the gospel into your programs?


At Camp BlueSky, the person of Jesus Christ and the Good News of his grace and Kingdom are at the core of who we are and why we do camp. We believe that all people are created beautifully by God in his own image, but we are also all broken and have, by both nature and choice, rebelled against God’s love and authority. Jesus, who is God’s own Son, offers us rescue from our sins and brokenness, an abundant life of connection to God and other people, a lifetime of meaning as we follow him, and an eternal inheritance through his death, his resurrection, and the presence of his Spirit. And all this is a gift, by grace and faith alone, not something we can or have to earn. All these truths PUMP US UP and fill us with hope, courage, and joy as we believe and live out of them with open hearts! So, as you can probably guess, we want to share Jesus and the life he gives with our campers and their families. At camp, we do that right out loud morning, noon, and night through small group devotional times and large group worship and teaching. We also try to integrate the truths of the gospel, who Jesus is, and who he has created us to be into the many fun activities and programs we run every day. Our hope is to spark spiritual and deep life questions and conversations with kids as we meet them exactly where they are with these truths and sincere love. Undergirding all of this, we aim to live our lives in such a way that kids see Jesus and his grace in their counselors and all other Camp BlueSky staff - in how we treat the campers and our teammates and the lady who brings us clean towels; in how we delight in God’s Word; in how we marvel at God’s work of Creation; in how we are willing to take risks and be vulnerable and laugh and cry and pray.




How does BlueSky follow-up with kids after they leave a week of camp?


We have a full-time student ministry team (called BlueSky Community) focused in a couple strategic neighborhoods/schools in Nairobi. These teams offer a variety of life-on-life discipleship, creative outreach events, youth groups, school clubs, and retreats in order to meet and walk with students year-round. We also partner with several international churches around Nairobi that are geared toward our target communities to help bring families and new believers into the Body of Christ. Our Adventures platforms, especially Climb BlueSky, our public climbing gym, also create spaces to connect with campers and their families throughout the year.





Serving on the Team

What would my role as a counselor or program aid be?


Camp Counselors are responsible for the overall supervision of campers with the aim of providing a healthy, safe, and fun camp environment and experience in which Christ’s love is demonstrated and shared. Counselors live in cabins and eat meals with a group of campers each week, as well as leading devotionals, getting to know their campers, and leading activities throughout the week. Some counselors with particular experience may be assigned to help lead the same program or live with the same age group of campers every week. Others will rotate which activities and age groups they lead by week based on need. Program Aids are responsible for the overall running of camp under the Program Director, including specific programs, operations, media, and administrative planning and tasks. Each will have his or her own primary responsibilities, as well as contributing to the overall culture and experience of camp with Gospel-centered leadership. Program Aids aren’t usually assigned specific campers to supervise, rather staying with other program aids, but may be assigned a cabin if the need arises. You can find full job descriptions and qualifications for both these roles on our website ( blueskyglobal.org/apply).




Do I need to be super sporty or a skilled outdoors person to do a good job?


If you’re either of those things you’ll probably enjoy a lot of things we do, but you mainly need to be willing to try new things and have a positive attitude! It won't be a good fit if you don’t like to be outside or active, but there are a lot of different activities to participate in and lead (including things like board games, arts/crafts, dancing, etc.) that aren’t necessarily sports. Besides, many of our campers are not “outdoorsy”, so they need you as an encouragement! We will provide any basic outdoors training you absolutely need, and we work with professionals for the more technical activities. If you still aren’t sure, go ahead and apply and we can talk more about it during your interview, or email specific questions to campstaff@blueskyglobal.org.




Would I get time off during camp?


Each session of camp is one week. The weekend is set aside for rest, worship, and a few staff meetings. There may be optional on and off-campus activities available on the weekend (e.g. rock climbing at nearby walls, walking to snack shops down the road, watching a movie, a campfire worship night). Most seasonal staff are not allowed to leave the compound alone or without letting a Leadership Team member know either during the week or on the weekends and can't drive BlueSky vehicles for safety and insurance reasons. Other stints of free-time are worked into the camp week, like a weekly afternoon block off, staff devotional, and free morning activity. There is a lot more time to rest and spend time together as a team during Trip Weeks (more below) when we are in Nairobi, travelling, or preparing for camp.




What is a typical itinerary for the camp season/summer?


The camp season (when you are on the ground in Kenya) is typically 8-10 weeks. Once you’ve joined the Camp BlueSky team, your schedule would look something like this (in 2022): January-May Fundraising March-May Pre-camp training (Reading, zoom calls) Last week of May On-site staff training in Kenya June 2 weeks of camp End of June 3 weeks of team building, rest, outdoor adventure, and training for new staff * This "break" in camp ministry is due to the schedules of the schools campers come from - there typically are not many students who can/will attend camp these weeks July 2-3 weeks of camp, 3-4 days of on-site debrief *We are approaching this coming camp season with an attitude of flexibility due to COVID-19, so we haven’t set exact dates for 2022 yet. Don’t let that delay starting your application though, since you will need to start fundraising as soon as possible and we start pre-field training virtually in March! We will communicate with you throughout the process and want to hear your scheduling needs as well.




What does a day at camp look like?


A typical camp day includes meals, devotions, a variety of activities and games, downtime with your campers and other staff, and fun large group assemblies! Below is a sample schedule…. 7:20 Rise and Shine 7:50 Morning Assembly & Breakfast 9:00 Morning Devotion 10:00 Jr. Camp Activities / Sr. Camp Rock Climbing or High Ropes 11:50 Lunch Assembly & Lunch 12:45 Boys camp and Girls camp time 1:30 Rest time 2:45 Insane All-Camp Game 4:00 Mountain Group Time - Special activities (e.g. counselor dress up, fire-building practice) or free play (e.g. pick-up soccer, swimming, Gaga ball) 5:50 Dinner Assembly & Dinner 7:00 Tsavo@7 (skit, upfront games, worship, and speaker) 7:45 Theme Nights or campfire 8:50 Back to cabins to wind down 9:00-10:00 Camper Showers & Lights out 11:00 Staff Lights out




What are camp staff doing when camp is not in session?


Trip Weeks! Besides the initial week of training, we usually have about 3 weeks of what we call “Trip Weeks” when we are not actively running camp. The purposes of trip weeks are to:

  • create space for team bonding and growth
  • explore Kenya - the city, the bush (a.k.a. wilderness), and the culture
  • gain exposure to other types of Kingdom work happening around Nairobi and meet the people who are doing it; worshipping with global believers
  • rest and rejuvenation
We change these trips up every year, but here are some examples of how we have spent these weeks before:
  • Going on a camping trip to Lake Naivasha
  • Visiting national parks for safari, hiking, or rock climbing
  • Eating meals with Kenyan and multinational families
  • Hanging out at Climb BlueSky to learn more about the other arms of our ministry beyond camp and meet the larger BlueSky team
  • Spending a few days shadowing/serving with an outreach to street kids, a counseling center, a sports ministry, a clinic, etc. depending on your interest or career path
  • Worshipping with an multicultural and/or Kenyan church in Nairobi




How much does it cost to serve at Camp BlueSky, and what does that cover?


The cost for international staff (non-Kenyan residents traveling from outside of Kenya) is $4,000-$5,000 for the full camp season. This is adjusted for Half Season, but is not as low as half because travel will cost a similar amount regardless of the length of the trip. Most comparable 8 week international missions or educational trips are in the $5,000-$8,000 range, so we feel this is very reasonable. We try to keep cost for staff as low as we can while not losing money that we need to run our programs. This money pays for plane tickets, visas, travel medical insurance, housing, food, in-country travel, admin & training costs, and national park fees…basically everything but souvenirs, snacks, and pre-trip expenses like personal gear and vaccinations. The cost for local staff (Kenyan residents - citizens or expats - who don't need to pay for international travel expenses) is $1,000-$1,500 for the full camp season. This covers their room & board costs, as well as an admin & training fee and transport/activity costs during trip weeks. Notes:

  • If these costs are prohibitive to you, we can discuss a scholarship to help cover part of the expense if we feel you are an excellent fit for the team. But please be aware that scholarship is not a guarantee as our resources are limited, and we will not offer a scholarship until you have been approved to join the team.
  • Vaccinations for international travel can be expensive depending on how many you get and where - $400-$800. We allow staff to raise additional funds to cover this expense if they feel they can't personally cover it after doing research on vaccinations in their area.)





Application

When do I need to apply?


Because we want to give you ample time to fundraise and participate in pre-camp training, we prefer that you apply by the end of December 2021 (Jan 2022 by the latest). Applications open on October 1, 2021 and we will begin to schedule interviews in November. We do have a number limit, so once our team is full we will stop accepting applications for this coming season. We need about 8 girls and 8 guys for the 2022 camp season. If it’s past January and you just heard about Camp BlueSky, that’s ok! If there are still open spots on the 2022 team, we can work with late applications or we would love to start the conversation for the summer of 2023.




I'm not available for the full season. Can I still apply?


A full camp season is typically an 8-10 week commitment (May-July). Whenever possible, we encourage our camp staff to come for the entire camp season, since you, your donors, and we at BlueSky invest a lot into your travel & training, but it is also an option to come for half of the camp season. We can give you the dates for First Half or Second Half if you are interested in this. We will not allow international staff (anyone who is not an Kenyan resident) to come for less than half of the camp season.




Can my season serving at Camp BlueSky count toward an internshp or service requirement for school I need to fulfill?


We are always willing to work with you and your school to fulfill these kinds of requirements! Go ahead and apply, then talk to your advisor/professor and let us know the requirements so we can discuss them with our team and then with you during your interview. We can not guarantee an internship/service credit if we feel the requirements will distract you or our Leadership from actually ministering to our campers. But if you are willing to put in the extra work, and we can come to a clear and reasonable agreement of expectations with your school, we’d love for it to happen!





Staying in Kenya

What is the living situation like at Camp BlueSky?


At camp we stay in cabins/bandas on the grounds of our host conference center. They are quite nice! Each cabin has its own bathroom and houses 8 people (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic it was 12). There are showers in each room, but don’t depend on them to always be hot! We use only filtered, boiled, or bottled water to drink & cook with. We will make sure that there is plenty of drinking water both at camp and when we travel. When camp is in session the meals are catered by our host conference center, Lukenya Getaway, and we work with them to serve meals that have protein, veggies and enough carbs to keep everyone going! There is always a vegetarian option and we try our best to accommodate food allergies (it’s very important for us to know about these before you come). Dishes are a combination of Kenyan and Western style foods. When camp is not in session (a.k.a. Trip Weeks), the team stays in a house or guesthouse in Nairobi and camps when we leave the city for any trips. You’ll always be sharing a room or tent with other staff of the same gender, and we all share cooking and cleaning responsibilities and any other chores. If you're new to Kenya or even to the Lukenya Hills area where we hold camp, your body may have to adjust for the first week. As always when traveling to new places, especially places with more limited infrastrature, there is a risk of sickness (e.g. parasites or bacterial infections). We do our utmost to help you guard against sickness and have a clinic down the road where we can go for basic medical needs and good hospitals in Nairobi about an hours drive away. We expect our camp staff to communicate any health issues to us honestly and prompty, especially during this pandemic, so that we can address them quickly and appropriately.




How can my family/friends reach me during the summer?


There will be limited access to Wi-fi and a computer at camp, and we do not allow staff to use their phones while working/with campers. You will have access to your phone and a shared camp computer during off times. There will be a camp staff email address that folks from home can email and we will print it out and give it to you as mail if they want you to get something in your hands! You can share the camp phone number with your loved ones for emergencies, which a leadership team member will have on hand. Weekends and trip weeks present opportunities to Facetime or Zoom, though we may also be out of internet access completely for multiple days at a time. Setting good expectations with family and friends is important (e.g. they need to be prepared to not hear from you everyday - you'll be busy loving kids and going on amazing adventures!).




Is Kenya safe? What security measures do you take?


Though Kenya has shown up on the news over the years for unrest or terrorist attacks, it remains a largely peaceful nation whose leaders are committed to fighting such things in cooperation with the international community. Common sense and reasonable caution are required while traveling in Nairobi, a large city, and out into the country, as the infrastructure in many places is less developed than it would be in the U.S., for example. As a team here at BlueSky, we work very hard to ensure the safety of everyone on our staff, both full-time and short-term. We run camp on a secure compound outside of Nairobi, far from areas that might be any kind of target for violence. When we do travel out of camp, we prioritize security as we select our activities and locations, working with well-informed people we trust. The camp leadership team is happy to respond to any particular questions or concerns from you or your family. We want to be in conversation about it, so please ask your recruiter to put you in touch with a leadership team member! Notes:

  • There will be a general election in Kenya on August 9th, 2022, so BlueSky leadership will be taking care to stay informed and make necessary safety decisions in regard to this political event this camp season.





COVID-19

How is Camp BlueSky dealing with COVID-19?


We are doing our best to handle the COVID-19 pandemic in such a way that our staff, volunteers, and campers are as safe and comfortable as possible, while still offering an excellent program. We are trying to keep our policies as clear and simple as possible, but they are subject to change as we continue to evaluate this constantly evolving world health situation. Here are the basics:

  • We will follow all health safety regulations given by the Kenyan government and recommendations from the CDC for schools/camps, which include wearing masks, doing regular symptom checks, and social distancing in certain situations.
  • Although we do not currently require the COVID-19 vaccination in order to serve with us, we HIGHLY recommend it to staff and volunteers who have access to it.
  • If we feel it is necessary to change the dates of or even cancel the camp season, we will try to do it in a way that is as timely and considerate as possible to our staff and campers...but it probably will still be inconvenient and disappointing if that happens, so we ask for grace as we make the best decisions we can.
  • If camp is cut short or cancelled for any reason (COVID-19 or otherwise), donations to BlueSky for the support of camp staff members cannot be re-funded, but will either be set aside for that staff member to come another season (if it happens before the start of the camp season) or will be put in the Camp Staff scholarship fund for future staff members.