Mom-Director Spotlight: Trish Helsel | Kanakuk Kamps
Mom-Director Spotlight: Trish Helsel

We’ve spent the past few months highlighting some women who hold two very special titles in the Kanakuk World: “Kamp Director” and “mom!” In their unique role as serving as a mother to their own children, as well as overseeing hundreds of children at Kamp, they’re sharing their perspective on the Kamp experience.

This month, we’re shining a spotlight on Trish Helsel, the Women’s Director at K-2 and mother of 3 kids.  She shares what she’s learned in her 25 years of experience in fulfilling her two-part role as both a mom and a director.

Setting Goals

With hundreds of teens coming through K-2 every summer, our success revolves around two things: planning and prayer. Long before any Kampers set foot through the Kamp gates, our leadership team is spending a huge amount of time preparing our hearts and the hearts of our staff, to make it the best summer for your kids. We seek the Lord’s wisdom every step of the way and set intentional goals for the summer.  We make sure that the goals we set as a leadership team trickle down to every member of our Kamp staff, so that every person your Kamper encounters has their wellbeing at heart.  


We study our goals, memorize our goals, and pray over our goals. We could do all the planning and prep in the world, but in the end, we know that God is the one who truly makes the difference in changing kids’ lives. We do all that we can to ready ourselves for God to work and then we wait in faith for it to come to fruition.


My goals for a child’s summer at K-2 can be summarized in two parts: for each and every child that comes through our gates to be fully known and fully loved.

Fully Known

We strive to know every K-2 Kamper like they’re one of our own children. Since we see hundreds of Kampers every summer, this isn’t just accomplished through myself and the leadership team–this comes from our Kamp staff. When Kamp isn’t in session, I work as a part of the staff selection process. I know first-hand that not just anyone is asked to be a counselor to your children: we select the best students from around the country that have an exceptional heart for the Lord and for kids.  


There’s great benefit from having staff members that know each of their Kampers individually. Our counselors are in a unique position to serve as a role model and a mentor: it hasn’t been all that long since they’ve been in high school themselves. By building a relationship with their Kampers they are able to impart their wisdom and point them back towards the Lord.


Fully Loved

When these close relationships are developed, we’re able to help Kampers understand the massive love that God has for them. Many of our K-2 Kampers are in a unique phase of life where they’re struggling to figure out who they are. High schoolers are dealing with insecurities, temptations, and doubts. Mothers of teenagers, like myself, know how real these struggles can be.


We want kids to leave Kamp with a new found confidence in Christ. Luke 12 tells us that God knows the number of hairs on our head. We let Kampers know that God knows and loves every little part of them–even their quirks that make them feel insecure.


Anyone who’s experienced Kanakuk before knows that love is behind everything we do. You’ve probably heard that one of our favorite sayings at Kamp is “I’m Third,” living in a way where we put God first, others second, and ourselves third. This isn’t just a value we instill in your kids, but it’s a value that we strive to live out daily with them at Kamp. For myself and for the rest of our staff, this means our number one goal isn’t just to have a fun summer job. It’s to glorify the Lord by serving and caring for your children.


My fellow moms know that to love our kids like Christ loves them, is all we could ever hope for. In my role as a Kamp Director, I strive to do just the same.