The Christikon Staff Community

MountainsWhere is Christikon?
The camp site is located in the Rocky Mountains just north of Yellowstone National Park, near the heart of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, in some of the loveliest country in the world, about 47 miles southwest of Big Timber, Montana.

What is the shape of the Christikon program?

At the main camp site, there are youth sessions for senior high, for junior high, and for fourth through sixth-graders (the optimum camp size is 65-75 campers). There are also sessions for developmentally-disabled kids, for families and adults, and a half-week session for developmentally-disabled adults.

For junior and senior high kids we offer a parallel backpacking and trails program in the wilderness surrounding camp. Some groups focus on trail maintenance and campsite rehabilitation (we call them CreationCare).

Where will I serve?

We rotate staff in several ways at Christikon.

On-site and trails: You will likely be out backpacking one or two of the five scheduled sessions, and based on=site the rest of the time.

Counseling and Support Staff: Counselors will probably serve during one sessions in one of the Support Staff postilions (kitchen, maintenance, office, trails room, etc.). Support Staff will probably do at least some counseling.

The Christikon Staff Community

How important is my Christian commitment to working at Christikon?
It is essential. In all staff positions, Christikon needs people whose lives are committed to Jesus Christ.

Christikon is

  •  a community of the gospel, a community called into being, nurtured, and shaped by the word of God in Jesus Christ. We are part of and servant to the church. As such, we are inherently a community of worship, study and prayer; and those dimensions are essential in our life together.
  • a community of alternate vision. Together, we seek to shape an experience where the world’s brokenness might be transcended in a a vision that anticipates the coming Kingdom of God. In such a vision, to become weak for others, is to be strong, to become a servant is to be free, to give life away is to find it.
  •  a community of the table, where meals and food and eating together anticipate our sharing with each other at the communion table and with all Creation at the great feast in Paradise, and provide opportunity to model sharing, fellowship, humility, responsible service, and gratitude.

Within the larger Christikon community, staff people function as a community of service and leadership. Together with the Director, they shape the entire Christikon life. As staff people, we all speak and act on behalf of Christ and his church in this particular place, among this particular people. When you are a Christikon staff member, it is important that you be open to being grasped by this vision of life together…that you try to pattern your personal life accordingly…that you be willing to accommodate your individual goals to help build a community of this broader vision, so that those who come to join us at camp may find with us a fresh perspective on life lived towards the coming Kingdom.

Will I be leading worship?

Yes. Worship is central in the Christikon life; and whatever your staff position, you will be involved in worship planning and leadership (you will be trained for n. In our worship life we seek to take seriously both the needs of contemporary experience and the rich resources available to us from the Christian tradition.

Do I have to be Lutheran?

No. People of several denominational backgrounds have served with us. At the same time, we note that our ministry is both unapologetically Christian and explicitly trinitarian. Most of the campers we serve are of Lutheran background; and as we work to witness faithfully to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are significantly shaped by the Lutheran tradition in which we stand. Staff people need to be comfortable working in this context.

For Christikon staff, we need people who come to camp not simply because they love the mountains and the outdoors, but also because they love Jesus Christ, and they are committed to serving his people, in the context of the Christikon life.

What else does Christikon look for in staff people?

Maturity: Staff people carry a great deal of responsibility during the season, so maturity of judgment and character are essential.

Health: To carry out staff responsibilities adequately, you need to be in appropriate physical condition for a summer of vigorous living, hiking, and backpacking. If you have special dietary or medical needs, you must discuss those with the director during the application process so that we can determine our  ability to meet those considerations.

Character: As a Christikon staff person you will work closely with campers and other staff people in an intense community setting. So you need to be open, sensitive, and able to adapt to a wide variety of people and situations. At the same time, you need to have a good sense of who you are and what’s important to you. And, as with most areas of life, a sense of humor never hurts.

Skills and interests: General camping and backpacking skills are often helpful but are not necessary prior to the summer. Christikon provides you with three weeks of training (two weeks on-site and one week on a backpack) to prepare you for providing leadership in the Christikon life. At the same time, your participation is enhanced by the special skills, interests, and certifications you bring to camp with you (e.g., in ecology, geology, plant/animal identification, art, music, drama, crafts etc.).

CPR and Wilderness First Aid: In order to comply with American Camp Association (ACA) standards, all staff are certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid (we provide you in both during staff training). But if you already have those certifications prior to coming to Christikon, you will receive a salary bonus (see the information on compensation).

A word on food: Eating together is a significant part of the Christikon life, and the meal is a chief metaphor in the way we shape our life together (see comments above). Staff participation in meals also has programmatic impact, embodying responsible use of food and gratitude for the giftedness of the meal. All our meals are served family style, and offer a nutritious and well-balanced diet. We do seek to accommodate allergies or other medical limitations that prevent sharing in certain foods. We ask that you be willing to accommodate your preferences when necessary for the goof of the whole (i.e. participate in the meal even if the menu item wouldn’t normally be your first choice).

Session and Summer Schedules at Christikon

On-site based youth sessions: Below is a sketch of what a ‘typical’ resicent youth session for junior high looks like. A few words of explanantion: When campers arrive, they are assigned to both a cabin and a family group. Cabins house from 5-10 campers with a counselor. Family groups are formed by matching a boys’ cabin with a girls’cabin to produce two family groups. Each of these is led by one of the cabin counsleors, and ideally has eight campers (four of each gender)




Beginning Day Staff Meeting      4 p.m. Arrivals and registration     Dinner Orientations
Canteen                Worship
Day One Breakfast and Worship    Dishes and Staff Meeting   Bible Study in family groups Lunch and dishes    Hikes in family groups Canteen                      All-camp games Dinner and dishes       Quiet Time         Interest Groups or recreational activity Canteen                Worship
Day Two Breakfast and Worship    Dishes and Staff Meeting   Bible Study
(half of family groups leave on overnight)
Lunch and dishes  Service Projects in family groups Canteen               Interest Groups Dinner and dishes       Quiet Time                  Folk dancing          Canteen                Worship in family groups
Day Three Breakfast and Worship   Dishes and Staff Meeting   Bible Study
(remaining half of family groups leave on overnight)
First group of overnighters return Dinner and dishes       Folk dancing           Canteen                       Worship
Day Four Breakfast and Worship   Dishes and Staff Meeting  Quiet Time                            Bible Study Lunch and dishes Service Projects (remaining overnighters return)
Canteen and           Interest Groups
Dinner and dishes     Family group       Presentation/Skits Canteen                Worship
Day Five Breakfast and Worship        Dishes and Staff Meeting  Quiet Time                         Bible Study Lunch and dishes All-camp Challenge Games             Canteen               Family Group time; evaluations Dinner and dishes    “Sharing of Gifts”         Canteen                Worship
Closing Day Early Rising                 Breakfast; camp clean-up Departures                        Staff Meeting

Trails sessions: Each group has up to thirteen guests (including youth campers and adult advisors), and is led by two Christikon staff people (one male, one female). Trails campers stay at the main camp the first and last nights. In between they spend four (sometimes five) nights out on the trail.

Senior high backpackers generally follow looping routes in the wilderness surrounding Christikon. Junior high trails campers pack to a site that becomes their base camp for the session, from which they do day hiking. CreationCare groups work with the Forest Service personnel at various wilderness locations.

The summer schedule runs from early June through mid-August for most staff people (though a few may remain until after Labor Day). Note this years’ schedule printed elsewhere in this application or on our website.

Back to the Christikon staff page…