Alumni Servant Leaders Stay Involved

By Glenn Grow, National Alumni Board

With the right leaders in the right positions, the result is powerful.

Shelby Barner and Chandler Morehardt, last summer’s A/U Ranches camp directors at Round-Up Ranch (for high school-age students), were dynamic influencers in those roles, thanks in part to their participation in Adventure Unlimited youth programs. (Chandler is also in his second year as part of Adventure Unlimited’s enrollment team.) Now, they’re both giving back to the programs they’ve loved since they were children.

Shelby and Chandler’s tandem leadership roles at Youth Camp in 2019 were built on divergent backgrounds and interests. For example, Shelby developed horsemanship expertise while Chandler advanced his skills in mountain biking. But directing Youth Camp for teens took more than program knowledge.

“Chandler and I complemented each other’s strengths,” Shelby says. “I enjoy organizing, planning, hands-on tasks and connecting one-on-one with all ages. He’s very strong in presentation and is well spoken. I learned so much from him, and I hope he would say the same of me.

“We were both new to that role, and that allowed us to make it our own.”

Shelby Barner

Leadership in Connections with Others
Where’s the starting point for being a good leader in Adventure Unlimited programs? Shelby found it in her daily preparation with study of the Bible Lesson. “What I was reading that morning worked perfectly for that afternoon,” she says. “Seeing the value in doing my daily preparation was a big turning point for me.”

Shelby brought years of experience with Adventure Unlimited programs to her role as Round-Up Ranch camp director. As the daughter of a DiscoveryBound staff member (Susan Barner, DB Outreach & Compass director), she attended many DB events in addition to Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches. She also participated in DB’s National Leadership Council (NLC class of 2013). “It was really cool to have those opportunities,” Shelby says.

As part of the four-year NLC program, she worked as a counselor-in-training (CIT) at the A/U Ranches. “NLC builds confidence by being given many new and amazing opportunities over our high school years. It allowed me to develop my leadership skills – public speaking, working with people and facilitating small group discussions that helped lay the foundation for this job,” she explains.

That confidence was needed for the next four years as Shelby continued to work as summer staff. In 2017, she earned the position of polocrosse program head – a turning point in her personal leadership growth. Through this role of increased responsibility and what she’d learned in NLC, she was prepared for her position last summer.

“We are taught to model the way. Inspire a shared vision. Challenge the process. Enable others to act. Encourage the heart. This is the NLC curriculum. I held onto that for so many years,” Shelby recalls.

It also prepared her for her work as an intern for DiscoveryBound in 2018, when she helped prepare for DB’s National Annual Weekend in Boston. Following that experience, Shelby was asked to be Round-Up Ranch camp director.

Shelby is currently working on her master’s degree in teaching elementary education at Western Governors University. She’s in her last term student teaching and continues to look for ways to stay involved with Adventure Unlimited.

“One of the most rewarding things I found is being a chaperone at different DB Outreach events,” she says. “I absolutely love it. You’re a camp counselor all over again, but in a different place. You get to do all the fun things that the kids get to do while pushing yourself to help those kids grow.”

Now in her 20s, Shelby enjoys participating in DB Outreach activities for 20s/30s adults. “These events have skyrocketed because there’s more of a need to get together all over the country,” she reflects. “Looking out for that communication from DB helps me to know what’s happening around the country because being with Christian Scientists my age is very meaningful to me.”

Chandler Morehardt

Leadership in Communication
Chandler’s path to leadership within Adventure Unlimited started with DiscoveryBound’s first NLC class in 2004. “We were pushed to be more than campers – to be leaders,” he says. “We learned you don’t have to be the captain or the loudest person in the room, but can lead from behind.”

As a child, Chandler attended both DB events and Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches, where he discovered a love for mountain biking. “John Lovseth was one of my role models at camp,” he recalls. “He got me hooked on Christian Science and on mountain biking. We learned how the principles of Christian Science can improve our biking skills, which gave a deeper meaning to what we were doing.”

He was a CIT at the A/U Ranches in 2008 and then joined the summer staff for three more years, eventually earning the position of Mosaics program head in 2011. During these years, when he returned to school, Chandler found he wanted more camp in his life, so he formed a Christian Science Organization (CSO) at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.

He continued to stay connected through DB Outreach ski weekends when he moved to New Zealand in 2014 with his wife, Brooke (who he met at the A/U Ranches and is the 100 Elk Outdoor Center director). “It was fun to engage with folks in the wider Adventure Unlimited world,” he recalls.

Trained in structural engineering, Chandler was hired by a firm in Christchurch as an engineering recruitment consultant. He learned valuable presentation and relationship-building skills during his three years in that position that he uses today as part of Adventure Unlimited’s enrollment team.

“My work now was a great role to move into from my job as a recruiter,” Chandler says. “It’s a similar model to recruiting campers, and I’m a lot more passionate about it!”

Since Chandler’s position was newly created out of a need to engage more of the wider Christian Science community, he had an opportunity to practice the leadership skills he’d learned and tackle the issue of helping families understand the value in prioritizing A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound programs. “There was a lot of self-starting required at the beginning,” he says. “Sports camps, local summer programs and family vacations are a big reason people don’t come to camp. It’s important to understand and communicate what’s unique about our programs.”

Learning how to communicate this has been a key part of Chandler’s on-the-job training. “We’re very conscious of spiritual growth as part of the programs,” he says. “When you’re at camp, people see the best version of you. When everyone around you sees you that way, you get hooked. You want to be that person all the time. That’s what stands out in the atmosphere at the A/U Ranches and in DiscoveryBound.”

And in fact, that atmosphere, along with high-quality staff members like Shelby and Chandler and generous funding that allowed the A/U Ranches to meet up to 100% of a participant’s need to attend, resulted in 80 new campers and an overall increase in Youth Camp enrollment by 8.7% over 2018.

Plus, more great news: Chandler and Shelby are returning as Round-Up camp directors this summer (2020).

What’s your alumni story? Share it with us and it may be published here in Zipline. Email [email protected].

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