Camp makes an impact.

Seneca Hills Bible Camp has been a part of Leah’s life for most of her life. She came first as a camper in third grade then began working as a cook at the camp at 15. What kept her coming back? “The biggest thing for me would be the community of people,” says Leah. “I just had such a strong connection with not only my peers, but also the mentors that I gained through working there. I think that’s such a wonderful thing that middle schoolers and high schoolers need that we truly don’t get that often.”
Then, after her third year working on the service team in 2018, Leah thought she was done with Seneca. “I really was struggling with my relationship with the Lord at that time in my life,” Leah explains. “I had a lot of pressure on getting ready for college and getting better work experience. So I figured that summer camp wasn’t something that would be good to put on a resume or an application.” But in January 2020, she had a breakthrough with her faith where Leah says she truly surrendered her life to the Lord and her plans began to change.

“I just remember feeling the need to share that with people,” she says. “I had a job lined up for the summer and I was like, you know what, I don’t think I’m gonna do it. I feel like the Lord’s gonna provide something else for me to do. And sure enough, a month later I got a call from the program director at Seneca Hills and he asked me if I wanted to be a counselor.”

Now Leah was able to step into that mentoring role she had so valued having in her own life walking with campers, listening to them, supporting them, and even leading some to faith in Christ. “It was the best summer of my life so far,” she says. “I got to pour into these campers and have a big sister/little sister relationship with them. It was wonderful.”

The summer was going well, but the prospect of college was looming and Leah’s plans for the future still felt jumbled. She had been considering a missions major or maybe a gap year or possibly a half dozen other options that didn’t feel quite right. God, though, had a clear plan ready for Leah and he showed it to her through one particular camper at Seneca Hills.

“The first camper I had for Camp with Me, which is when the parents camp with their child, was Ethan. I’ll never forget that,” says Leah. “He was on the spectrum and saw a speech pathologist. I had looked into speech pathology, but I wasn’t sure if that was the route for me. But then I spent three days with Ethan and was able to see how much speech therapy had impacted how he could communicate with his mother and how he communicated with the kids around him.” Inspired by this experience, Leah entered the speech pathology program at Clarion University that fall. “I ended up falling in love with it,” she says. “I’ve just known in my heart it’s where I need to be since then.”

With college and a fulfilling career to look forward to, Leah may not not be back to camp, but Seneca Hills Bible Camp will continue to stay with her. “It’s one of my favorite places on this planet,” she says, “and I truly think that what Seneca Hills stands for and the lives that they’ve impacted there goes beyond anything we can fathom because the Lord is truly working and the Holy Spirit is definitely present there.”