Serving on BlueSky's Camp Staff:
Frequently Asked Questions
Camp BlueSky's Ministry
Working at Camp
Applying and Preparing to Come
Camp BlueSky’s Ministry
Who does Camp BlueSky serve? What demographics do campers come from?
Camp BlueSky is a residential camp for 7-18 year olds who live in Nairobi, Kenya, and across East Africa. We typically have about 800 campers attend in a 6 week camp season (in 2020 we had 500 campers registered for our online camp).
We primarily serve international and private school students. These students are usually middle to upper class and come from a variety of backgrounds: the children of international diplomats, business people, NGO workers, and missionaries from all over the world, and children of Kenyan professionals and government officials of varying ethnicities (e.g. Kikuyu, Indian, or European). Their religious backgrounds are just as varied: Hindu, Agnostic, Muslim, Atheist, Christian, non-religious.
Many of these students are “Third Culture Kids” or TCKs. TCKs often experience a lot of transition in their lives because their families move around often or their friends do. They 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. There are specific challenges and joys which come with this kind of existence. Many Kenyan kids whose parents work in professional fields or government attend the same schools as TCKs and are a part of the multinational community. Since they don’t attend public Kenyan schools, they sometimes also struggle to figure out who they are and where they fit, especially if they have very busy working parents.
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 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, even though we are all broken and have, by both nature and choice, rebelled against God’s love. 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, the adventure of a lifetime following 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. Undergirding all of this though, is that 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 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.
*If you are graduating soon and interested in full-time student ministry and/or working in cross-cultural ministry, you can ask us about our 10-18 month apprenticeship in Nairobi with our BlueSky Community team.
Working at Camp
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 all seasonal camp roles here.
Do I need to be super sporty or a skilled outdoors person to do a good job?
No, though if you’re either of those things you’ll probably enjoy a lot of things we do! You just have to be willing to try new things and have a positive attitude! It might not be a good fit if you really don’t like to be outside or active at all, 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 email@example.com.
What does time-off look like during camp?
Each session of camp is one week, Sunday afternoon-Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon-Sunday morning is set aside for rest, worship, and as few necessary meetings as possible :) There may be optional on and off-campus activities available on the weekend (e.g. rock climbing at nearby routes, walking to snack shops down the road, watching a movie, a campfire worship night) and there will be a casual service each Sunday morning with a guest speaker. Seasonal staff are not allowed to leave campus alone or without letting a Leadership Team member know either during the week or on the weekends. 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, traveling, or preparing for camp.
What is a typical itinerary for the camp season/summer?
Once you’ve joined the Camp BlueSky team, your schedule would look something like this:
*We are approaching this coming camp season with an attitude of flexibility due to COVID-19, so we haven’t set exact dates for 2021 yet. Don’t let that delay starting your application though, since we still plan to start pre-field training virtually in February! We will communicate with you throughout the process and want to hear your scheduling needs and thoughts.
What happens during a typical day at camp?
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….
If there are 6 weeks of camp, but I’m in Kenya for 10 weeks, what are we doing the rest of the time?
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
Here are some examples of how we have spent these weeks before:
Going on a camping trip to Lake Naivasha
Visiting a national park for safari, hiking, or rock climbing
Eating meals with and staying in the homes of 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
Who would my teammates be?
Typically our team is made up of a mixture of college students and recent grads who are Kenyan, American, or TCK’s (from a variety of places) who grew up part of their lives in East Africa. Many of our Kenyan and TCK staff are former campers. But we are all followers of Jesus who…
have been transformed by the Gospel
are passionate for his Word and the Global Church
have a heart for service, people & cultures who are different from us, and kids/youth
have a love for adventure
We also have Junior Counselors each week who are high school students transitioning from being campers to staff. They are usually really excited to love and serve the younger campers like they were loved and served by their own counselors!
Applying and Preparing to Come
When do I need to apply?
Because we begin virtual pre-field training as a team in February, we prefer that you apply by January 2021. Because support raising is required, applying earlier can be helpful in order to have more time to go through that process with us and your community. We are taking applications now!
If it’s past January and you just heard about Camp BlueSky, that’s ok! We would still be thrilled to talk to you and happy to look at your application. If there is still space and we agree you’re a good fit for the team this year, we can help you catch up on training and support raising, or we can start the conversation for the summer of 2022.
I might have to come late or leave early for work/school according to that timeline. Can I still come?
It is ideal for you to be there for the whole camp season, but we do work with your scheduling needs, something we’re especially aware of this year. Go ahead and apply and we will happily talk through it more in your interview!
You, your donors, and we at BlueSky invest a lot of time, resources, and energy for you to come serve at Camp BlueSky, so please note the following if you can’t come for the whole season:
We will give you some specific blocks of time/dates to work with that we feel will be best for you, our team, and our campers as you transition on and off the field.
You will still be expected to be in Kenya for at least 4 weeks if you are coming from outside of Kenya and 3 weeks if you’re already in Kenya. At least 1 of those weeks must be staff training and 2 weeks must be camp sessions.
I have a cross-cultural credit, ministry internship, or another requirement for school I need to fulfill. Can my season at Camp BlueSky count toward that?
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. This is not a guarantee since our summer is VERY full, but if you are willing to put in the extra work, and we can come to a clear agreement of expectations with your school, we’d love for it to happen!
Raising around $5,000 seems like a lot. Is that normal for a trip of this length and what does that money pay for?
Most comparable 2 month international missions or educational trips are in the $5,000-8,000 range. This money pays for plane tickets, visas, travel medical insurance, housing, food, in-country travel, admin costs, training costs, and national park fees…basically everything but souvenirs, snacks, and pre-trip expenses like personal gear.
Traveling to and Living in Kenya
What is the living situation like at camp and during trip weeks?
At camp we stay in cabins on the grounds of our host conference center, which are quite nice. Each cabin has its own bathroom and shower and typically houses 8-12 people. This capacity may be decreased this coming year due to COVID-19. Away from camp, the team stays in a house or guesthouse in Nairobi and usually camps when we leave the city for any trips. You’ll always be sharing a room or tent either with a few other staff members or with your campers.
There are showers at camp and in Nairobi, which you can use as often as you want (or as often as ten fun-loving eight-year-olds will give you time for)! Don’t depend on them always being hot though.
How can my family/friends reach me during the summer?
There will be limited access to Wi-fi, your phone, a computer, or other devices at camp because we believe in disconnecting to connect in ministry. You will have access to your phone and a shared camp computer during prescribed "off duty" 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 Skype.
Is it safe in Kenya? 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 where the infrastructure in many places is less developed than it would be in the U.S or Europe.
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. When we do travel out of camp, we prioritize security as we select our activities and locations, working with well-informed people we trust. All of life is an adventure regardless of where you are, so we do sometimes take calculated risks for the sake of growth, relationships, or ministry. The camp leadership team is happy to respond to any 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!
Is the water safe to use in Kenya? What’s the food like?
The water in Kenya is fine for showering and hand-washing, but we use filtered, boiled, or bottled water to drink. We will make sure that there is plenty of drinking water both at camp and when we travel.
When we’re at camp 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 at camp! 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 more Western-style dishes. When we’re away from camp, we will mostly be cooking our own food as a group.
As always with traveling to new places, your body may have to adjust for the first week and there is some risk of getting things like parasites or bacterial infections. We do our utmost to help you avoid this and have a clinic down the road where we can go for basic medical needs and good hospitals in the city about an hour away driving.
What about COVID-19? How is it impacting Kenya, travel, and camp?
According to the CDC and World Health Organization (as of Oct. 26, 2020), COVID-19 risk is still high in Kenya and they are discouraging non-essential travel generally at this time (these things are true of most countries around the world). Kenya, and specifically Nairobi, went on months of lockdown from late spring to early fall, during which national borders and city boundaries were closed, but the borders and international flights were opened back up in September with restrictions. Within the country, schools are closed until January, but churches and businesses have begun a phase-in process.
Overall, Kenya has been cautious, if a little changeful, in their approach to COVID-19 prevention. International travelers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test within days of traveling, temperatures are taken at the airport, and travelers are asked to quarantine for 14 days (at home or a hotel) upon arrival, along with other normal precautions. As an organization, BlueSky has been very careful, suspending all in-person operations and cancelling camp from the Spring until now, while we worked hard to care for our full-time staff financially and relationally during this time. It is top priority for us to help keep our staff, volunteers, audience, and community safe. We have felt comfortable letting some of our new full-time staff travel to Kenya recently, and we are beginning to safely reopen operations in phases.
Expectations for Summer 2021:
We are very hopeful that by May 2021 we will be fully operating in-person programs again, and it will be safe for our staff to travel, even if we’re doing it all with some adjustments! Therefore, we are accepting applications and trying to have our team all hired by early 2021.
We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation over the coming months so that we can make informed and wise decisions about dates and precautions for camp, which we will communicate as promptly as possible to applicants and staff. Any camp participants will be expected to willingly uphold whatever safety protocols BlueSky develops. We are holding our hands open and praying constantly for God’s power and provision over Kenya and the world regarding the pandemic, even as we step forward in faith.
Have more questions?
Email the Camp Leadership Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
text or WhatsApp Carrie, our Recruiting and Camp Care Manager, at (678) 588-9938.