I asked Scott Skiles, our Program Director here at Beulah, how staff training has been for him. This was his response:
” Staff training is always a special time. Friendships are made, camaraderie is built and staff members are stretched to get out of their comfort zones. Personally, it is my favorite two weeks of the summer. Staff training is built on three principles: cultivating faith, building community and strengthening character.
Although cultivating faith is a cornerstone of everything we do during staff training, the time completely dedicated to this principle is The Plunge. The Plunge is a retreat-like, four session event that unites the staff in their mission to spread the gospel. The speaker for the weekend was Kyle Meier, a former Summer Staff Member and current Pastor. Because Kyle had been on staff at Beulah Beach, he was able to speak directly into how the staff will be feeling, what they will be wrestling with and the obstacles that will be in their paths. We were also blessed to have Zach Miller, another former Summer Staff Member, lead worship for us. Zach is incredibly gifted, loves Beulah Beach and loves the Lord passionately. It was an incredible gift to have Zach and Kyle with us.
As a leadership team, we have been focused on building community across the entire staff, not just in individual teams. We had an ultimate frisbee tournament and a synchronized swimming competition, did service projects and helped prepare for and run the Beulah Beach Benefit Auction. These events allowed the staff to connect with others on different teams and in my opinion, helped create the most unified staff I’ve been a part of.
A few of my personal favorite events revolved around strengthening character. The first was our version (very PG version) of “Squid Games”. The Leadership team woke the staff up early and put them through a series of games and challenges. The second was “Dinner in the Deep” where we ate dinner blindfolded. Some loved these events, others didn’t. But it allowed our Leadership Team to observe who steps up in times of stress and turmoil and gave us an opportunity to safely (and very enjoyably) push folks out of their comfort zones.
Staff training ended like it has in years past, at Doc and Merry Holida’s house. The Holida’s are gracious to allow us to come and take over their background and pond for a day. We ended the day with our weekly Refresh service and a time for staff to encourage one another. It was amazing to see the ways the friendships that have been created and the ways that God has already moved in our short amount of time together. If summer is anything like staff training, we are in for an amazing few months.”