Outreach Canada Website
/Tuesday, April 18, 2023
"Stillwood provided the space as a young MK for me to gain community, and to experience growth spiritually and in leadership." Mallory Luesink, Program Director at Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre
Today, we have the privilege of speaking to Mallory Luesink, Program Director at Stillwood Camp, about her experience as an MK (Missionary Kid), and about opportunities for TCKs (Third Culture Kids) and MKs at Stillwood Camp!
Mallory, can you tell us more about your experience as an MK (Missionary Kid). Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Prague, Czech Republic. I lived there for just over 8 years, from when I was 5-14. Pretty much all of my childhood that I remember!
What was the hardest thing about being an Third Culture Kid (TCK)?
One of the hardest things of being a TCK was feeling a lack of belonging - whether it be my “home” country (Canada) or the country I called home (Czech), I never felt like I fully belonged somewhere when I was growing up.
What places feel the most like home to you?
Definitely Prague! I grew up on the outskirts of the city, in a small town called Kunratice, which was full of history, and was the classic “european village” type place. I’ve called Stillwood home for about 2 years now, and it definitely helps that the road driving up looks a bit like the roads in Europe - there’s even some lavender fields like in France.
What characteristics of your host country have become a part of you?
The mannerisms and characteristics of the people in Prague is something I love, as well as the food and the lifestyle! Some older Czech women began teaching me foraging and herbalism, which I’ve taken with me and am starting to learn what that looks like in the Pacific Northwest. Czech cooking is something that I love doing - there’s something about the smell and taste of the food that is so distinct, and brings me right back to a feeling of home.
If you had any advice for adult MKs, what would it be?
When you come back to Canada, try and find a space where you can call home, in a space that has a strong community. And I don’t just mean that as a plug for camp - I found it here, but there can be so many other spaces like this. It can feel like you have to call your base country home, and like you have to fit in right away, but that can be incredibly draining. Hold on to pieces of your culture - it’s a mix of all the places you’ve been and the people you’ve known, as is so so unique and special. Don’t lose sight of that.
What do you love about camp work/life?
Camp is a place that I am constantly challenged to grow, and never feel stagnant. It’s a job that has such a wide range of tasks - some days I’m coaching kids in archery, or rock climbing, and other days I’m leading Bible studies and discipling the staff! It’s the type of job that I finish my workday with more energy than I started with, and a passion to keep doing what God has called me to do, while working in my giftings!
Could you tell us more about your experience at Stillwood Camp?
After spending 8 years of my childhood as an MK in Prague, I returned to Canada in the summer of 2016, knowing almost nothing of the culture, and with almost no connections to the community. In 2017, I came as a teen camper to Stillwood, and was able to experience the care of the staff, and the community at camp. In 2019, I came up as a Cabin Leader, and absolutely loved it. So, I came back in 2020 as a day-camps leader for 2 weeks, under heavy mandates, including planning the Bible Studies for those weeks. I met 4 friends there who stuck fast - so we committed to 4 months of volunteering in 2021. This led into being asked to stay into the new year, where I became the Assistant Program Director and head of Activities & Outdoor Ed.
In April 2022, the current Program Director resigned, and I was asked to step up as Program Director. Since then, I have been challenged to grow in leadership, and have loved every minute of it.
Why do you think adult MKs should consider coming to Stillwood?
For myself and lot of other MKs and TCKs, Stillwood has been a place where I’ve found belonging and an incredible community. It’s a place where people can bring their unique gifts and talents to the table. Camps are a place where you live in community, building off each other, and you get to experience an amazing culture. It takes away a great deal of the culture shock of going back to a North American base-country, because everyone is learning the unique culture of camp together! Stillwood has a community slogan- be the SPICE. That means S-upport each other, P-ursue Christ, I-mitate Jesus, C-elebrate one another, and E-cho (do it again and again!).
What is the Tereo Bible College program and why would it be a good option for MKs/TCKs?
Our Tereo Bible college program is run through Rocky Mountain College, which is accredited with the ABHE, and is transferable to many other Bible colleges. Tereo is a program we created with the goal of making Bible College an option for people who look at the bills of most Bible Colleges and simply can’t afford it. I wish this program was around when I was heading out of high school! Because my parents have always been in ministry and missions, we lived off support raising, and with four kids they didn’t have the means to send us to Bible College. With the cost of it, it wasn’t something I could dream of either! But with Tereo, you work at Stillwood starting at the end of August, and if you work the full-time frame (end of June) plus have a summer of volunteering at camp (can be from previous years!) your entire tuition, room and board, and food costs are all paid for, for the entire year! You get the same number of credits as a regular year at Bible College, you get a certificate at the end, and the credits are transferable to other Bible Colleges (or you can do multiple years with us!) It’s a great program - you get the experience of living in community in our dorms, and work experience in so many different areas. Plus, the work is so fun. Where else do you get to run climbing walls and archery one shift, and a zipline the next?
Are there any other opportunities for TCKs/MKs to work/volunteer at Stillwood?
Absolutely! We have actually had a number of volunteer TCKs/MKs come volunteer while their families are on furlough, raising support, or even while they’re still overseas. We have housing over the weekends if needed, and you get to build a family-like community here! Here are some options:
- Spring Team (17+) (also part of Tereo): paid work for May & June, with housing and food.
- Summer Crew (17+): volunteer (honorariums available) with training starting at the end of June, and summer goes to end of August! All of the role descriptions can be found at http://stillwood.ca/summer-staff-23/.
- Youth Discipleship Program (14-17): With 1-week and 3-week, this program is built to disciple young leaders, equip them with skills and certificates, and be a super fun time! More info can be found at http://stillwood.ca/ydp/
- Tereo & Fall Crew (17+): I’ve already gone on a long tangent about this program, so check out our website at http://stillwood.ca/tereo
Mallory has a passion to bring more MKs into the community that is Stillwood. Her own experience with finding belonging and purpose there is what drives her to extend the same opportunity to others. Here is an invitation from her and Stillwood Camp to join them this summer:
We believe that camp changes everything - We also believe that serving at camp could be one of the most important decisions you can make. Perfect for those looking to explore what life could be like after graduation, or if you’re heading off to university, or looking for a way to fill retirement - Join our team! Be a part of something greater. Change a life, maybe even your own.
Our summer camp programs are the core of what we do here at Stillwood. The summer cannot happen without hundreds of volunteers giving time to make the summer a reality.
All of Stillwood’s programs are geared towards growing as a person and leader, encouraging everyone to growth to new heights. Several programs, along with onsite leadership experience, are directly geared towards leadership and personal growth.
Find out more by visiting Stillwood or by contacting Mallory Luesink at email@example.com
More About Stillwood
Stillwood exists to lead people to experience transformation in Jesus.
Born as Columbia Bible Camp from the parent group, Columbia Bible Camp Society, first construction began in 1959. It was the year after the 60-acre prime real estate site was purchased. Decades of development had begun. Complete renovation of Columbia Bible Camp began in 1997.
The name Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre was chosen to replace Columbia Bible Camp in 2001, to better reflect the many areas of expansion.
Throughout the years we have partnered with organizations that serve the same purpose- to develop young leaders. Our Tereo Bible college program is run through Rocky Mountain College, which is accredited with the ABHE, and is transferable to many other Bible colleges. Our Youth Discipleship Program and Summer Crew incorporate training with organizations such as Ridge Wilderness First Aid, LifeTeams (Young Life), and many others. We aim to help our youth and young adults explore who they are, equip them to serve, and empower them to use God's gifts.
Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre is the largest of its kind in British Columbia. An accredited member of the BC Camping Association, and the Fellowship of Christian Camps BC, Stillwood is owned and operated by the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
You can find out more about Stillwood here: Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre
Read more TCK & MK articles from MORE Network here: TCK & MK articles