Mike and Shelby Baker and I worked together last Summer during a sixteen-day outdoor adventure camp for girls. I recommend them without qualification for leading future camps!
Not only did Mike and Shelby investigate potential locations where we could take the girls during the sixteen day excursion and finalize the itinerary, they also united a team of support personnel and “pulled together” all of the food and outdoor equipment that the girls would need to survive in the Alaskan wilderness throughout the excursion. Among many reasons, their teamwork, flexibility, resourcefulness, and ability to see a project through really made this Camp distinctive and successful. That’s only to mention the external structure of the Camp. The heart and soul of this Camp is the motto that the Bakers seem live by, “God first, family second and every adventure equals an opportunity to grow and bond.”
When we, the consecrated support staff, arrived to Alaska to assist with the Camp, Mike and Shelby had done the majority of the preliminary grunt-work. Additionally, they opened their home, where they raise their nine children, to fourteen 14-18 year old girls from the lower forty-eight and Mexico. When they realized that some of the participants arrived materially unprepared, they immediately responded with patience and found a solution to the problem.
During the duration of the Camp, they were effective communicators, often speaking with the other adults in order to put the right means to solve particular challenges. They also coordinated projects involving numerous people, and their ability to work collaboratively while guiding the project quickly and effectively was outstanding. For example, when we suddenly needed to abandon our original group- plan to address a poor choice that some of our campers had made, Shelby spoke clearly and firmly with the girls in question, to ensure better future choices. After demanding from them, she reached out maternally to embrace each of them, so that they would know that her correction was rooted in love.
I could say so much more, but to conclude, Mike and Shelby’s clear vision and execution of a Catholic Girls’ Camp, their fight for holiness, sense of humor, diligence, and energy made working with them a joy. I hope to have the grace of working with them again in the future and I highly recommend them as Directors for future camps.