Nich Hearn coordinated outdoor activities during my first Family Camp last summer. My husband took care of my son for a few hours one afternoon and I was able to slip away to try out the zip line. That’s where I met Nich, who was in charge. He shared with us how much camp and his counselors had impacted him during his adolescence and how he really wanted to give back. Immediately, I knew that we needed to interview this alum who now serves on staff full-time. Here we go!
How many summers have you spent at LLYC?
4 summers as a camper; 5 as summer staff (including volunteering on Program Crew); 1 1/2 years on full-time staff
We know that you are working full-time for the Free Camps. Can you tell us about your job and what this experience been like for you?
In hopes of serving a wider constituency and a larger number of guests, the Foundation Free Camps program launched a school-specific initiative that partners with Texas schools. Most are from the greater San Antonio and Austin area, and we usually work with 5th grade classes, but the location of school and age of students varies greatly.
My job is Coordinator of Outdoor Education, which means I assist visiting schools in planning their Outdoor Ed retreats. Not only do we hope they feel completely prepared and welcomed during their stay, we also make sure they are aware of every resource that is at their disposal in order to best serve their students. Additionally, I help with program development which includes curriculum writing, equipment maintenance, activity leadership and random tasks around the property.
Working in this role has taught me a lot about organization, responsibility and details, but beyond the professional side of the job, I appreciate what I learn from the schools that come out to camp. Just about everything we do during a retreat, whether climbing the Alpine Tower, hiking to Circle Bluff or even riding in the back of a pickup truck, is totally novel to our visiting students. My job allows me to share in this unique experience with each and every one of them. Being a part of such encounters between urban youth and raw creation reminds me of how wonderful God is, as shown through His handiwork.
What else are you up to these days?
Not too much else. Living on the property offers a gamut of outdoor opportunities, but shrinks the scope of a social life. If not running, biking, climbing or reading, you can bet I’m on the phone or computer trying to keep up with friends and family.
Beyond employment, how does camp still impact your life today?
Camp affects me greatly through the relationships that have started during my summers out here. Some of the most meaningful and consistent friendships I have involve people I know through LLYC. God continually uses those friends to love, encourage and teach me.
What is one of your favorite memories from the Canyon?
It’s difficult for me to narrow the good memories I keep from this place. I don’t think I can choose just one, but out of all the roles in which I’ve served at camp, being a Program Crew Boss has left me with the most. The nature of the work and the guys with whom I served combined create the ideal setting for laughter, fellowship and growth. I will always treasure the time I got to spend with those dudes.