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WorldSong Missions Place welcomes new mother-daughter staff leaderscomment (0)

April 17, 2014

By Anna Keller

WorldSong Missions Place welcomes new mother-daughter staff leaders

Since 1991, Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) has been hosting camp at WorldSong Missions Place, making memories and providing spiritual inspiration and guidance to guests from across the state.

The 2014 camping season at WorldSong is shaping up to be a great one, with new leadership on board (mother/daughter team Hope and Kaley Stephens) and a collection of counselors and staff that bring commitment and enthusiasm.

Camp director Hope Stephens, a former International Mission Board representative, was introduced to WorldSong when she and her family returned to the United States in 2009. WorldSong was a place they were asked to share their missions experiences. She said the camp immediately felt special to both her and her daughter Kaley (now the camp’s program and activities director).

“It got under our skin and we just couldn’t shake it,” Hope Stephens said. “The past three camp directors have been single ladies, but I think God has called me there to bring something different as a married woman and a mother. It will be interesting to see how that impacts our camping style.”

Camp had such a strong impact on Kaley Stephens that she changed her plans of becoming a Latin teacher and decided instead to major in recreation leadership at Jacksonville State University.

“I spent one summer at WorldSong and decided that was my calling,” Kaley Stephens said. “I was at WorldSong whenever there was something going on — I was the counselor they couldn’t get rid of.”

Kaley Stephens said she looks forward to her role at WorldSong being a bit different this year and to sharing leadership responsibilities with her mother. The two women have worked together before — they used to own a photography business.

The Stephenses also will introduce new programming elements to this summer’s line-up, capitalizing on the talents of their staff.

Sarah Kuykendall, an Auburn University student who’s majoring in nutrition and dietetics, will lead cooking and nutrition classes for campers as a nutrition intern.

“We’ll have the girls cooking this year, and I’m going to talk about the science behind cooking as well,” she said. “Nutrition is a relevant skill no matter what and it’s cool to me to find out how things work in the human body. It’s evidence to me that we have a God, and that’s something I want to share this summer.”

Kuykendall is an alumna of WorldSong herself and this will be her third year working on the camp’s staff.

There are different types of camping experiences that take place each summer at WorldSong. The standard camp is for girls grades 3–6 and 7–12 and runs four nights and five days. They also offer mother/daughter camp (either one or two nights) and host a youth week during the summer for girls grades 7–12 as well as a co-ed week for boys and girls grades 2–6.

Though the leaders and staff all bring different skills to use at camp, there’s one element they all share: the desire to make Christ’s love feel alive and relevant to campers.

“Camp for me was where I learned what a relationship with Christ looked like,” Kuykendall recalled. “I grew up in church but I didn’t understand that you read the Bible every day and pray. Camp is where I learned what my relationship with Christ meant.”

Coming from a missions background, the Stephenses hope to convey the breadth of what missions can mean.

Hope Stephens said, “My hope is that campers would walk away knowing that the Great Commission is something that starts right here. Becoming a missionary isn’t something you do when you grow up and it’s not something that only takes place far away — it starts here and now, right where you are.”

For more information about WorldSong or to register for the Come Explore WorldSong event April 26, visit www.alabamawmu.org/registrationforcomeexploreworldsong.

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