Each camp at Shrine Mont is assigned a chaplain, who is in charge of supporting the spiritual life of the camp during that session. Time is set aside each day for the camp to spend time with the chaplain, and for the chaplain to lead the camp in spiritual learning. Most camp chaplains are priests from around the Diocese of Virginia, but each summer there are several young people - generally recent college graduates - hired for a chaplain internship.
This year's interns are James "Jacko" Post and John Garland "JG" Wood. They began the summer as co-chaplains at St. Sebastian's Sports Camp. Jacko and JG focused on the Sports Camp theme of "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor" from Ecclesiastes throughout the week: leading the campers in team building exercises as a camp, and debriefing each activity to connect it to St. Sebastian's central message.
Popularly referred to as "chinterns", Jacko and JG will remain at Shrine Mont for the rest of the summer, working at different camps. The camps are eager to have young chaplains that can relate energetically with their campers, but the internship is also a valuable service to the interns themselves.
Two chaplain intern alumnae of note are Susan Daughtry, the head chaplain at camps, and Paris Ball, the Director of Christian Formation and Shrine Mont Camps for the Diocese. Both Susan and Paris are several years into careers devoted to ministry in the Episcopal Church, and both cite their experience as chaplain interns as a crucial step in their personal discernment that led them to ministry. Susan was one of three chaplain interns her summer, and all three interns in her cohort are now priests.
As JG and Jacko continue to serve the campers and staff at Shrine Mont, they may hear a call to seminary and ordained ministry, or to serving as a lay person like Paris, but it's certain that their journey will be enriched by this summer.
By David Churchman
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.