Strong Tower Ranch is a Christ-centered refuge, offering hope and mentoring for youth, especially those at risk.
Day Camp achieves this Mission with campers and youth leaders by:
- Presenting the gospel through Bible & creation lessons and engaging activities to lead them to Christ
- Equipping them with Biblical truths so they hold true to His call on their lives
- Mentoring them in their relationship with Christ so they can share with others the hope found only in Christ
Our primary mission is that every child will: be shown God’s love, understand the way of salvation, be personally counseled, and be challenged to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. We give solid Bible lessons and creation lessons every day. Campers (and workers) will have great fun while learning apologetics which will demonstrate the reliability of God’s Word.
We aim to offer a week of camp at no cost to about half of STR Day campers through donations towards sponsorships. Our goal is to cooperate with churches so that these children can have ongoing follow-up after the camp week is over. Families will be reached through the testimony of children who come to know the Lord. So if your church is local to the ranch and wants to reach a particular neighborhood in your community, let us know and we will help to get those children to attend the week you are ministering.
Our secondary mission is the spiritual growth of our volunteers. Your group members will be assessed and assigned positions to utilize their gifts and expand their comfort level. Some might be asked to teach a verse or an entire Bible lesson. Others will have more of a support role, but everyone will have an important role. We aim to have adult mentors with groups to support and encourage young leaders.
Our group staff titles are: Senior Counselors (called Sheriffs), Assistant Counselors (called Deputies), Support Staff (those who will not be counseling children per our Evangelism training), and Mentors. Other support staff have a job description that doesn’t require counseling such as kitchen help, life guard, or activity leader). Our minimum age requirement for volunteers is 15 years old. However, for mission team groups, we have very limited positions available for 14 year olds, if they come with a strong recommendation and prior children’s work experience. Mentors encourage and guide all group leaders each day so they can grow as Christ followers and leaders.
Your team will need to arrive at the Ranch on Saturday for the Required On-site Training session. There will be a break during training and a meal. Some of the topics covered in this training will be property orientation (where everything is and how to conduct transportation and activities safely) how to handle discipline issues, the daily schedules, and the example set by youth leaders. This training time also allows our staff, other workers, and your group to get acquainted with each other rather than being strangers to each other when children arrive on Monday.
Your team will be on duty from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thurs, Friday to 6 p.m., including morning meeting, activities with campers and cleanup in afternoon. On Friday evening we provide a picnic dinner so your cleanup at your lodging is easier and we can gather and share good things from the week. Your team can leave late on Friday evening or stay through Saturday morning. Families of volunteers are welcome to join us for the picnic. Just give a count to the manager by Wednesday and have them bring a dish to share.
After working with youth groups for several years, we have learned that certain requirements ensure a smooth week for everyone involved. We have listed these on the “Youth Mission Trip to STR Group Leader Agreement” which must be signed. Because we do so much to organize the camp weeks, provide the activities, bring the children, etc., planning your mission trip is much easier than the typical mission trip. But there are some preparations for your team that will require careful attention and timeliness. A local youth pastor who has been very successful in preparing his team helped us come up with a step-by-step list to help you prepare. See the Preparation Steps document.
The cost for the trip will only be $75 to STR per volunteer staying on site includes our running a background check on everyone 18 years old+, a shirt, lodging, lunches & snacks, and other volunteer supplies. Your members will pay you and you can write one check to STR.
Your transportation to the ranch would be quite negligible if you are from the St. Louis area.
The cost for your groceries for breakfast and evening meals will be managed by your team, therefore, that budget is in your control. One of your adult team members will need to be responsible for shopping for the groceries and preparing your meals. The meals your team will be responsible for preparing are Saturday lunch & snack, Sunday 3 meals, Monday through Friday breakfast and Monday through Thursday dinner (and sides for Friday evening), and also any evening snacks (campfire s’mores, etc).
Your team will have access to a washer and dryer (not coin operated machines so no extra cost) so you won’t have to bring a lot of clothing. Every adult and youth will receive an STR t-shirt, regardless of whether your team makes its own. If your group wants to sponsor children to attend camp, the sponsorships are $150 each.
Volunteer Requirements and Positions
All youth and adults you have approved to participate will be submitted to STR via the Group Member List or will need to fill out our online Volunteer Application. Our Volunteer Coordinator will confirm with you the applications received and positions for your members. Youth will need to have a parent/guardian sign the Liability release form on the application. If you need additional information from them, it will need to be a separate form of your own. Campers of Volunteers: If adults who come have children in their families who are ages 8-14, they may attend camp. All campers are registered online either as paid campers or sponsored campers. Our camps fill quickly, so volunteers must register their children as soon as possible; we may not be able to accommodate last-minute registrations.
You will be supplied with a document titled “Sample weekly Vol Roster Positions” and “STR Day Camp Position Descriptions.” You will need to look at this Roster and if your group is large, you may be able to fill all the positions. If your group is small, we will need to know which positions you prefer so we can coordinate with others to fill the remaining positions. Just fill in your preferences on the Mission Trip Group Member List and communicate the information with STR. Some groups can bring someone qualified to be the nurse and some groups can’t. Sometimes, more than one position can be filled by the same person or you might want to use more people. For example, you can have a dedicated Bible lesson teacher, or lessons could be taught by counselors. You might want to bring one or two people who will work as “kitchen crew” under the supervision of our Food Service Manager for part of the camp day, and then they would work on the shopping and preparation of the dinner and breakfast meals for your group. The point is, there are many possible positions and there is also flexibility. We will plan a meeting with you to sit down and figure out where to place your team members so everyone is best suited for service.
Evening Schedule and Activities
You will be in charge of your group’s schedule after each day’s day camp duties are completed (between 4:30 and 5:00). You may use the lake for swimming, boating, or fishing (with your own equipment). You may eat at the pavilion or in your living area. If more than one group is staying on site, these facilities will have to be shared. Groups have found it beneficial to set aside some time each evening for recapping the day’s ministry, preparing for the next day’s ministry and having group devotions.
Following are the weeks for which we need volunteers in 2019. We will reserve one of them for your group once you are able to commit to coming. Groups begin to commit in November of the previous year. Contact us to see what’s currently available.
June 8, 10-14 – Red Tree Church (commuting)
June 22, 24-28 – LifePoint Church, O’Fallon, MO (on site)
July 6, 8-12 – Higher Ground Church, Columbia, MO/LifeSpring Community Church, St. Peters, MO (on site); Son Valley Youth Ranch (on site)
July 20, 22-26 – First Baptist Church, Wright City, MO (commuting)
The Saturday before each camp is considered part of the week and is a required training day. Sunday will be available for your group to have your own time of worship & Word or visit a local church.
Feel free to call or write with any other questions that will help with your decision.
Day Camp Team Leader
Resources for Mission Trip Group Leaders: Intro & FAQ, Details (see above), Why we teach Creation, Trip Agreement form, Prep Steps (planning with your group), Checklist (timeline of details), Member list, Payment form, Pastor Reference Form, Position list, Position Descriptions, Sample volunteer roster, Activity schedule, Group daily schedules, Leader Binder