staff impact

Read below a few testimonials from staff who have spent summers serving at Shepherds Camp, whose lives have changed for the better.

Looking to apply? Apply for summer staff here.

Nathan Smales Alumni '12-'16

“In 2012, God used this tiny camp in Brackney, Pennsylvania to completely change my life and put it together in a way far better than I could have ever imagined it. I have learned what it means to love with compassion and conviction those who are different than myself. I learned that you can walk in joy regardless of your life situation or circumstance.

Camp cultivated a love for individuals with developmental disabilities that has led to a passion stronger than any other I have ever known. I am now a foster dad to 14 boys with developmental disabilities in Hyderabad, India. I take care of their daily needs and make sure they are safe and loved as they deserve to be. Everyday is an adventure and camp has been such an essential
part of where I am today.”

Ellen Moore alumni '17

“To be honest, I still can't believe this next step in my life is a true one. I am about to embark on a journey to lead a therapy center for children who have special needs in rural Nicaragua.

Have I ever done anything like this before? Not really. Do I feel prepared? Nope. Do I know what to expect? Absolutely not. Hmm... Feels kind of like when I signed up to be Head Nurse at Shepherds Camp - and that was one of the best experiences of my professional career.

Working as a nurse at Shepherds Camp was one of the most challenging experiences. Anyone who has experienced camp should understand. Yet, at Arrowhead Bible Camp this past summer, God revealed to me the beauty of the human soul made in His image. I met so many beautiful people and I was challenged by my perception of the world. Jesus gave me a picture of humanity's spiritual reality. Spiritually, we are weak, disabled, delayed, misfit, and broken. Yet, in that condition, Jesus chose to give up His perfect life to have relationship with us. He chose us to love, care for, and heal - in our need. So many of the campers I interacted with had truer souls then many of the broken and lost I interact with everyday. I truly count it a privilege to love, serve, and learn from the individuals I will be working with in the 'different ability' community.”

EMMA DYKE alumni '17- '21

“Honestly, when God led me to Arrowhead in 2015 to serve on James Project, I was not thrilled about it. But within minutes of being there, I felt this sense of belonging and peace, and that is with me to this day.  Shepherds Camp has developed a passion in me for people, specifically those who have different needs than my own, that I would have never discovered if it was not for God’s persistent heart with me. It has taught me to love gently and deeply.
Now, I have not only spent three summers at Arrowhead on seasonal staff, but I was also a part of the first year of their gap year program: The Launch Initiative!

I never would have imagined myself here when I graduated high school, but here I am; and I could not be more thankful that God’s plans are far greater than anything I could dream. My time at Arrowhead is not over and it will continue to impact my life in every positive way possible. It’s taught me things that I can carry with me no matter where I go.
Loving people and serving people with a joyful heart is not a conditional thing.”

jack lightbody alumni '14-current

“I’m so blessed and excited that what started out as a summer job in 2014 has become my life! In September 2018, I came on full-time with Arrowhead as Program Manager and I am thrilled at what God is doing in my life and what He has in store for me. It’s crazy looking back at the road God has taken me down these past few years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m most looking forward to serving our campers, investing in our staff, and partnering with the care providers who trust us with their loved ones year after year.”

NATALIE DARATONY alumni '14-'16

“From the moment the room filled with each camper during my first Fall Retreat, I knew my life was about to be forever changed. There is something about the atmosphere Shepherds Camp creates that is beyond words. The love that fills the room, the inclusion found in everyone’s embrace, and the sheer exuberance that explodes from each person’s heart make Shepherds Camp a haven I will always return to.

Over the past seven years of coming to retreats and summers, the Lord has cultivated in me a deep and undying desire to connect with and advocate alongside individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I have finally found a full-time career that allows me to do just that. As the Program Manager of Volunteers at a local non-profit called Best Buddies, I am finally getting to take the joy I have found at Shepherds Camp and spread it in my own community and through my own career. Who knew that one trip to Shepherds Camp years and years ago could lead to a changed life in so many ways.”

amanda (covington) cucci alumni '15

“Arrowhead taught me the importance of resting in Jesus and getting alone with Him each day. It’s no coincidence that when Jesus walked on this earth, He often retreated to spend time with the Lord alone. He knew that His ministry would be ineffective if He wasn’t first filling Himself up. On the days I failed to do this, my ministry to campers was ineffective. 

My summer at Arrowhead was refining for my heart and my flesh. I deepened in my understanding of loving sacrificially and I returned home knowing Jesus more because of the campers and staff put in my path. Currently, I teach in a vocational internship program at a local hospital for students with disabilities. Our program at its core celebrates ABILITY and I’ve been privileged to see our students’ lives changed and enriched as they work in integrated jobs. I’ve seen our community embrace and accept and that has been my prayer ever since I spent a summer working at a little camp in Brackney, PA. ”