Stay Connected  
    Sandy Cove Blog

    I get asked “Are you ready for summer?” a lot this time of year. People know I am responsible for delivering five weeks of the three ring circus we call Summer Together Family Camp. And they reasonably assume that I’ve been locked in my office all winter, getting my ducks in a row.

    But the ducks are not in a row. They have been drinking Red Bull again and flapping about in very unrowlike ways.

    In fairness, I tend to put things off, while waiting for inspiration. Or motivation. Or something. My Facebook bio reads “I put the Nate in procrastinate.” And my boss gave me a plaque for my office that says “Deadlines Amuse Me.” However, in my defense, there are a million ducks to pull together for this program, and not all of them are even born yet in January when I have time for duck wrangling. And even then, there are other flocks needing attention.

    And it is all good—it keeps me dependent on God and not trusting in my skills as a duck rancher. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night and the ducks are playing roller derby in the basement of my brain, I wonder “Is this the year God is not going to show up and do His thing?” Thankfully, God is 14 for 14 in the years I’ve been at Sandy Cove, even in the years when I’ve popped out to shortstop. So I’ll keep leaning into His faithfulness.

    In a little over a week from now, it will be all worth it. The families will arrive, and the ducks will get in rows to greet them, and good things will happen.

    I have a bias toward family ministry because of the 7 years I spent working in a therapeutic environment with dysfunctional families and their resulting juvenile delinquents. I’ll tell you about what I learned there some other time; for now, I will just say that Family Camp makes me happy for a couple of reasons.

    First, I love that we have great speakers who teach from God’s Word. It's also great that everyone has the time to process the truths taught and to listen to God speak.

    Second, I love to see families spending time together and having fun. I know it sounds like something a Recreation Major would say, but I think it's an important way to invest in—and round out—relationships. It's about building rapport instead of boundary setting, correction, and saying “no.” The time spent during Family Camp is like making a deposit in the emotional bank of a kid's heart that can pay dividends later. It’s not just a game of pool or mini golf; it’s glue.

    Third, I love when kids see their parents as heroes. I do what I can to make that happen. Sure, I want the kids to look up to me and their ClubCove leaders, and see us as role models because we are all in this together. But more importantly, I want to provide tools to make it easy for parents to be spiritual leaders. I love seeing parents and kids working together to make paper rockets, learn how to fish, conquer the zip line, or any other way that could raise the esteem of a parent in the eyes of their child.

    So, if you are wondering if I am ready for summer, the answer is no . . . but yes. Soon. In the meantime, I’ve got some ducks to corral.

    Nate Ransil
    Nate Ransil
    Nate joined the Program department at Sandy Cove in 2003, and transitioned to director of that team in 2014. Nate graduated from Houghton College with a double major in Communication and Outdoor Recreation (yes, it is a thing) and got to know his wife Evelyn while co-leading backpacking trips for at-risk youth. Hopefully not as at-risk are their two sons, Caleb and TJ, who have spent all their summers at Sandy Cove, Camp Sandy Cove, and The MARSH! Nate enjoys being outside, being inside, being handy, the beach, snowboarding, roller coasters, training aardvarks, bodybuilding, contributing to quantum theory, and making up fanciful, if not entirely accurate, biographical details.
    Contact Us