Jake Miller, junior business management major, got word back in March that his internship was canceled due to the pandemic. Although Miller was not able to spend the summer the way he originally planned, he did find a unique way to gain business experience: by starting his own day camp.
In early May Miller attended an event at Asheville Pisgah Christian School (APCS), where he heard parents talk about how their kids needed to get out of the house.
“I’ve been stuck inside since March, and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be inside for this long at nine years old,” Miller said. “I spent my summers growing up at camp and that was a blessing. At that age, you just want to run around outside and play with your friends.”
Hearing the parents talk, gave Miller the idea to start a camp of his own.
“It made me think about how I have all these talented people in my life who have worked at camp or with kids in some way. It’s been so hard to find a job around here, it would be great if we could come up with a way to give back to the community and do something for the kids,” Miller said.
Throughout May, Miller worked delivering food for DoorDash and InstaCart during the day and spent the evenings researching permits, insurances and ways to safely run the camp while implementing COVID-19 guidelines.
“It was awesome as a business major to get this crash course in running a business. At the same time, it was also super scary because I didn’t even know if I was going to have any kids show up because of COVID-19,” Miller said. “With the exception of the insurance, the camp is self-funded. If no kids show up, we instantly lose money.”
Miller called in three other Southern students to help run the camp after getting all the plans approved by the Carolina Conference and the APCS school board. Katie Robertson, construction management junior; Nicole Robertson, business management junior and Caleb Raymond, theology junior, were each put in charge of a different activity that the kids would rotate through during the day.
“It’s definitely a team effort. They are all great people. They work hard and they were just happy to help out,” Miller said. “They sacrificed a lot; and one of the staff members, Caleb, even came all the way from Chattanooga to North Carolina to help us out.”
APCS Kids Camp has successfully made it into its third week and hopes to run until the end of July.
“I see this opportunity as a ministry. I hope they see God in this, I really do. I want the kids to be active and not sit at home all summer,” Miller said. “I wasn’t sure what my summer was going to look like. For me, this camp has saved my summer, and I hope the kids get a blessing from it.”