Kent Kast led a group including five Campion students and over 30 others on a mission trip of a lifetime to Nairobi, Kenya from June 20th through July 2nd. Their primary purpose was to complete the walls on the second floor of Imara Daima Adventist School, located in a poor neighborhood in Nairobi. As the walls were built, lives were changed.
About 700 students attend the school, and around 40 students have to fit in each small classroom. “The school already had three floors, but the walls had been made of just sticks and tin,” commented Kast. “This is the typical building material in this area if one cannot afford cement or bricks.” After the first few days, they discovered that they needed to leave each morning by four a.m. to get to their worksite to avoid the heavy traffic as they crossed the city. The group worked a total of nine days, laying block and cementing the walls, until they completed all of the walls on the second floor.
Although the school’s students were also on summer break, one of the highlights of the trip was getting to visit with the local people, including the school’s teachers and several parents who came to work alongside the group each day. “The local people were very friendly and helpful. They weren’t there to just watch us work,” explained Kast. “They were very interested in making their school a better place, and they were also very interested in getting to know us. They loved to talk and tell us about their families. Some took us to their homes nearby to show us where they lived. Many of houses there had under 200 square feet of living space.”
Ryan Brown, one of the Campion students on the trip felt good about the work they did because it would help over 700 students. He mentioned, “The most meaningful part of the trip was seeing how other people lived and it made me appreciate my life in America and realize how lucky we are.”
In addition to the construction work, a doctor and two dentists in the group offered free medical and dental care to the people in the neighborhood of the school. These clinics were a large draw for the local people and allowed the group to have greater interactions with the people there.
Even our local Campion community was able to bless the people there through donations Kast collected before leaving. “HMS donated the entire grade school Bible curriculum that they were replacing. The school was very happy to receive the textbooks. The students have to buy their own textbooks, so they often will share due to lack of money,” Kast commented. “We also took several suitcases of donated clothing with us. This was put in one of the classrooms to be given to the people of the community as they need it.”
“I believe the best part of these trips is meeting the people,” said Kast. “The relationships we make with our new friends are genuine. When we leave there are always tears shed as we leave our new friends. When we visit other countries and cultures it helps us put a face on what we see only in magazines and on TV. Often, we have preconceived ideas of what a place will be like or what people believe and do. It is when we can say we have friends that are Kenyan that we can truly say we understand a little about them and their way of life. It also removes much of the fear we may have of an area due to our lack of knowledge. Hopefully we all represented our God and our home country well.”
The group stayed in guest rooms on the well-manicured campus of the East Kenya Union Conference, which also includes a church and medical clinic. While working took up the majority of the time in Nairobi, the group enjoyed attending Sabbath services at the local church, going out to eat at a nice restaurant, and especially having the opportunity to feed giraffes at a local park.
When the work was completed, most of the group went to Masai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya to have a chance to see lions, elephants, other famous African animals. “Africa is not all covered with lions and elephants,” Kast clarified. “They mainly reside in parks where they are protected.” The Maasai nomadic people also reside in this area, and while many have settled into permanent villages, some still roam the vast Serengeti, following the wildlife. “Visiting the Maasai village was as much a hit as seeing the animals,” Kast stated.
At the end of the trip, Kast and his son, Zach Kast, took the opportunity to make a short flight to Tanzania and hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world. “We started at the Machame gate at 5,900 ft. From there we spent four days climbing up through four different climate zones from rain forest to desert,” Kast explained. “The guides and porters were wonderful and became like family. The food was very delicious and fresh. We had perfect weather the entire time with sunny skies and starry nights. On summit day, we climbed the last 4000 feet from our camp in just over six hours to the high point of 19,341 feet (5895 m). We were able to watch the sunrise from the roof of Africa. It was such a wonderful experience and I can only praise God for the chance to experience that trip and for the strength to enjoy it.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Campion Academy is pleased to welcome our new head dean, Michael Gann, and his family to our campus community. Gann comes to Campion with 15 years of experience as a dean in Seventh-day Adventist boarding academies. Serving alongside Gann is his wife Jenny, an occupational therapist and an RN, and his three children, Caleb (13), Addison (10), and Nolan (8). “We are truly excited to be at Campion,” Gann commented. “It’s an institution that we’ve always seen as a special place to be a part of, and we feel that God led us here.”
Principal Don Reeder was also impressed by how God led in the journey to find Michael Gann and his family. “It is evident that Michael is a team player and understands how Residence Hall life can be a great support for students in their walk with God and in achieving a high standard of Academics,” he remarked. “I am excited to work with him and the deaning team at Campion Academy.”
As a dean, Gann’s primary goal is to help the young men form a relationship with Christ. Secondly, he desires to help build positive comradery between himself and the guys to create a unified dorm. Finally, he states, “I hope that we form a bond strong enough that we are able to learn from each other and hold each other accountable.”
When asked what he enjoys most about being a dean, Gann elaborated, “It’s the impromptu interactions with the students. I love it when someone just comes in to talk in the office. It seems that often on Friday evenings after vespers guys tend to congregate and we are just able to talk about life. Most of the time it leads to spiritual things and we are able to engage in spiritual topics and talk openly about our faith journeys.” Of course, Gann enjoys having fun with the guys too. “I think it’s important to meet the guys at their level and have fun and be goofy with them,” he commented.
Gann has a diverse background and has called many parts of the United States home. He was born in Hinsdale, Illinois, but spent most of his childhood in Massachusetts. He completed high school at Shenandoah Valley Academy and went on to Andrews University for three and a half years before ultimately finishing his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at Columbia Union College.
His first job was at Dakota Adventist Academy as the athletic director, but early on, Gann felt God calling him to do something beyond P.E. “When I first brought up the idea of being a dean to my wife, she thought it was a crazy idea,” he remembered, “but I felt God calling me to it. As a student I was greatly influenced by my deans and saw how they made an impact on my peers as well. I saw what an opportunity being a dean was to have an impact on young men and as something God could truly use us to do.”
Gann’s first year as a dean was at Broadview Academy in Lafox, Illinois which had recently closed and was attempting to reopen. “That first year as a dean was trial by fire,” he reflected. “There were so many challenges and it seemed that everything that could go wrong, went wrong. However, it was a learning experience and prepared me for what was to come over the next 15 years as a dean.”
He continued on to serve as head dean at Fletcher Academy for five years, and most recently at Ozark Academy for the last eight years, where he also taught some P.E. classes and was the assistant coach for the Varsity basketball team.
Coming to Campion Academy wasn’t exactly a part of Gann’s personal plan, but he found out that it was part of God’s plan. “It was totally a God-thing,” Gann explained. “We thought we were going in one direction and God threw a curve-ball. But we are so glad that God’s in control, and we are excited to be here.”
When Gann talks about working as a dean, he consistently uses the plural pronouns of ‘we’ and ‘us’. “One of the cool things about working in the deaning field is that my family has totally embraced it,” he explains. “The kids love being part of the dorm family, and my wife really takes on the role of the dorm mom. She takes the time to connect with the kids and does a lot of baking, which the guys always enjoy.”
In their personal time they enjoy spending time as a family and watching and playing almost any sport. They are big fans of Chicago sports teams, (“Bears and White Sox not Cubs,” Gann clarified). The mountains and outdoor pursuits are draws for them here in Colorado as they enjoy camping and hiking.
One of Gann’s favorite verses as a dean is, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,” Psalm 133:1. “I like to remind the guys that we get to be a part of something special. This is a unique community of young men and we can learn from each other and mentor each other,” explained Gann.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Huge heads of lettuce, piles of turnips, and soon, green beans, tomatoes, beets, squash, cucumbers, peppers, onions and more will all be ready for harvest on the Campion Academy Farm. Headed by Anna Perea, the summer harvest is a form of celebration of all the work she and her students have put in throughout the school year in the Agriculture class, and evidence of the many ways that God has blessed.
The fresh produce is available to the public at their roadside stand in the front of campus every Monday (except July 8) and Wednesday from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. In addition, they will be at the Fort Collins Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The market is located at 1001 East Harmony Road near the intersection of S. Lemay Avenue.
If those don’t fit your time frame, you can come to campus to pick-your-own produce straight from the field. Donations can be left in the money box in the green house, or you can go online to donate on the website at: www.campion.net/agriculture.
This past school year, with the vision of Perea and the support of the church community, Campion successfully implemented a new agriculture class and program. In fact, Perea, along with several other Adventist teachers throughout the United States have been developing a curriculum and teacher’s guide so that the model could be more easily implemented at other schools. The pilot model focuses on educating the students about God’s character through plants rather than simply for the produce to eat or sell.
This summer, two student workers are working part-time at the farm alongside the Perea family as well as some volunteers from the church. The program continues to have needs for both financial donations for supplies such as caterpillar tunnels, deer fencing, and ground cover, as well as volunteer labor. “It’s been really wonderful to see how supportive the community has been,” commented Perea. “Everything is donation-based, and people have supported both financially and with their time especially for our work-bees. God has always provided exactly what we needed at the right time.”
At the beginning of June, Campion Church put on its annual Vacation Bible School, but this year they used a program created by the Voice of Prophecy. Back in 2017, the VOP started a dramatized audio program called Discovery Mountain, and this year they created a VBS based on that program. Campion Church was enlisted to pilot, film, and promote the Discovery Mountain VBS where kids learned about the story of Noah and how Jesus rescues us.
Kari Lange, the VBS leader, said, “We had different animals come in every day, and it was fun to see the kid’s excitement over the animals.” This was the fourth year that VBS was led by Mrs. Lange, the first and second grade teacher at HMS. She was helped by Carey Jordan, the Campion Pastoral team, and youth involvement including the Spark team.
Spark, formerly known as Wildfire, is a summer job opportunity for Campion Academy students where they travel to different churches, preach evangelistic series sermons in the evenings, and put on VBS programs for kids in the morning. Campion’s VBS was their first stop, and the Spark team helped out at different stations, looked after the kids, and sang songs up front. Delanie Kamarad, a member of the Spark team, said, “It’s important to grow all aspects of the church, and the future of the church is kids. By doing VBS we are able to give kids the right tools to be able to lead.”
The Spark team is continuing to use the Discovery Mountain VBS program as it is easy to adapt for different churches. At the end of June, they completed VBS and an evangelism program at the Chapel Haven church in Thornton, and they are now spending a week at the Estes Park SDA Church. To finish out their summer of evangelism, they will spend two weeks in July at the Grand Junction SDA Church.
Ashley Herber, Student Editor
Thirteen Campion students spent their first two weeks of summer vacation in western China visiting schools, making new friends, and taking in the sights. This educational and cultural tour went beyond a typical tourist trip and allowed the visitors to go into classrooms to teach, learn, and get to know the local students.
The majority of the trip was based out of Kunming in the Yunnan Province where the group visited four different schools. Campion students were amazed by the warm welcome they received at each of the schools. To audiences of up to 500 Chinese students, both the Campion students and Chinese students shared musical performances and talked about student life at their schools. “It was really awesome to be able to see how different their school environment was compared to ours,” Abby reflected. “Meeting different students and getting to know them was definitely the highlight of the trip.”
After getting to try out the school cafeterias, Campion students attended Chinese art and music classes in addition to leading discussions in English classrooms. “It was so much fun seeing how excited the kids were to show us their customs and culture in China,” commented Tristan. “They had such big smiles on their faces as they showed us how to play the Guzheng or fold dumplings correctly.”
One of the biggest highlights of the tour was getting to visit a panda sanctuary near Chengdu in the Sichuan Province. “Seeing the panda babies was literally the cutest thing I have ever seen. Seeing them just flop around and cuddle with each other was adorable!” said Tristan.
Students also had the opportunity to visit the unique and majestic Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, Asia’s largest flower market in Kunming, and the ancient and beautiful mountain-town, Lijiang. “One of my most memorable experiences was in Lijiang,” remembered Abby. “We sat down in a store and saw a ukulele, so we started playing it and just jamming out. The owner came out from the back and sat with us, and as we sang some worship songs, she hummed along. It made me realize how awesome music is in bringing people together, even if we don’t speak the same language.”
Perhaps some of the most impactful moments came while worshiping together with members of the Adventist church in Kunming each Sabbath. The pastor shared how the number of churches in the province has been growing rapidly, especially in the rural areas. He brought a group of teenagers, who have dedicated their lives to working for God, to share their incredible musical talents. They sang and played familiar hymns as well as local Christian songs using accordions, the Guzheng (Chinese harp), and the Hulusi (Chinese gourd flute). Campion students also shared praise songs and testimonies. “Although we had a language barrier, we received a great message from their church about how we are from different parts of the world but we both love God and praise Him in similar ways,” explained Amby. “I thought it was a very powerful message and it greatly impacted my life.”
“I couldn't have asked for a better group of students and adults to travel to China with,” reflected Dean Helm, one of the sponsors and coordinators on the trip. “Friendships were made, relationships were developed, and life changing experiences were initiated. Without a doubt, I believe the cultural sharing that both our American students and the Chinese students we interacted with was very rewarding for all. It was fun watching our students’ reactions as we visited old traditional Chinese areas, as well as seeing how they responded to the modern Chinese society. In the future, as God opens doors for the students of Campion Academy, it will be exciting to see how He allows this trip to be a new beginning for future opportunities.”
Jill Harlow, Communication and International Student Program Director
,The front of our campus and the lawn in front of the church looks like a mess, but there is a plan. Where there was grass is now ditches and piles of dirt. In a few days, concrete footings will be set up and the outline of the newest addition to our campus, a wing on the church for children’s ministry, pastoral offices, and a community welcome center, will be established.
We have undertaken this vision of building and renovation as part of our mission now and into the future of finishing the work of God. As a campus church, our impact is not just the greater Loveland area, but as students engage and are trained to give their lives for the work of Jesus we will be a part of impacting the world. For Campion, this is about impact: Impacting our students by training them to serve God. Impacting our members in providing space for them to be disciple, to worship, and be trained as missionaries. Impacting our community with an attractive place for them to use and be invited into. Through this project we are creating an environment where we can interact with one of the fastest growing communities in ways we‘ve never imagined.
Kim Mehlenbacher, a member of the church and general contractor for the project, drew up the first plans about four years ago, and now outlines the next steps in the project. The next thing that needs to be done is to bring in concrete to set up the footings and the foundation. Because of the slope of the Church’s front lawn more dirt will need to be imported in to raise the foundation about 5-6 feet, making the addition the same height as the current structure. Volunteer labor will then be used to frame the building, which will hopefully be done in September. Once the shell of the building is up, stucco, mechanics, insulation, drywall, heating, windows, doors, and many other aspects of the building will be put in. Work will be continued as long and as often as weather permits. If all goes according to schedule the addition will be done in March of 2020, although Mr. Mehlenbacher reminds us that many factors can delay the work such as weather, the use of volunteer labor, and the schedules of sub-contractors. Mr. Mehlenbacher adds that he “hopes to see things go up well and quickly,” and that Campion Church is “thankful for all contributions, be it monetarily or by way of labor and talents, that have come together to make this happen.”
Mid-June brought a blessing as we looked to finish off the fundraising of $2 million. With $150,000 left of that total, a generous local donor offered to match the remaining, 2-to-1, for a total of $150,000. With this, the prayerful goal is to have the total ($2 million) raised by the time our fall semester begins in August.
Pastor Micheal Goetz with Ashley Herber
Church members gathered to pray over the new construction and participated in the official ground-breaking on June 10.
Student of the Year Award
Susan Wang was selected by the staff of Campion Academy as the female Student of the Year. Susan has been with us for three years, coming from China. She is an excellent student and has been a great leader on our campus. This year she has served as S.A. secretary, senior class treasurer, and dorm R.A. She is a hard worker and is very helpful to her girls both emotionally and scholastically, serving as their tutor and counselor. She has been a great example of what it can mean when you accept Jesus in your heart.
Student of the Year Award
Nathaniel Sanchez was honored by the staff as the male Student of the Year. Nathaniel is a four-year senior. He is an excellent student and campus leader. Nathaniel is thoughtful, self-driven, dependable, honest, and seeks to find ways to help his community. He has been instrumental in growing a positive and supportive culture in the boys’ dorm serving as an R.A. for the past two years. He has been a spiritual leader, holding the office of Spiritual Vice-President for three years. Nathaniel loves to fly and already has his pilot’s license. He plans to pursue this interest in college.
Each year the Principal selects an outstanding senior who typifies characteristics of honesty, character, hard work, and general contribution to the school. This year’s recipient was Josephine Reeves. Josie has been with us for the past two years. She has made a significant contribution to our school, quietly leading out in the music area and in the spiritual department. She is an excellent student, has served as the senior class Spiritual Vice-President, and assisted in spiritual program planning in the Chaplin’s office. Josie also earned the award of Salutatorian with a GPA of 4.104.
Caring Heart Award
The Caring Heart Award is given in recognition of leadership and personal commitment to witnessing and service activities. This year’s recipient was Edwin Garcia-Mencia. Edwin is a very polite young man. He is always willing to help when anything needs to be done. He does not discriminate between those who are popular or unpopular. He treats everyone like a long-time friend. This award is sponsored by the North American Division and is accompanied by a Bible and a $500 voucher to the Adventist school of his choice.
The valedictorian of the class of 2019 is Austin Rotinsulu. Austin has a GPA of 4.108. Austin has been outstanding in academics and also a spiritual leader on campus as the student chaplain.
It was a weekend full of celebration as 39 seniors reflected on their high school years and prepared to step forward into their bright futures. A highlight of the weekend was during the Sabbath service when three seniors, as well as four underclassmen, were baptized. At the final commencement ceremony members of the senior class were awarded $950,000 of scholarships to Union College and received over $1 million worth of scholarships from other Seventh-day Adventist Universities.
Congratulations to each member of the class of the 2019! Keep in touch and God bless you!
In celebration of the year's achievements, teachers and staff presented awards for excellence in all areas. This year, the music department provided added entertainment by interspersing performances with the awards. Parents, students, and staff alike enjoyed listening to familiar yet musically challenging pieces such as "The Avengers" performed by the Campion Academy Orchestra, and "Let it Go" performed by Teh Campanas. To conclude the evening of awards and music, Jordi Morales, senior yearbook editor, presented a year-end review slideshow. The weekend continued on Sunday with Sports Awards and the final S.A. Picnic.
It’s Wednesday evening and, at church, a mixed group gathers around a game of dominoes. In the gym, a group of teenagers are rock climbing with teachers. In homes all over campus, members of our community mingle to learn Chinese, new cooking skills, juggling, painting, outdoor survival skills, Bible studies, and more. In fact, all over our neighboring communities, and at various times during the week, Campion church members and new friends are gathering together over a shared interest and creating a deeper sense of community. Known as Grow Groups, these gatherings have helped members feel more connected with each other in their journey of faith, as well as reach out to their neighbors.
During the spring semester, the Campion Church and Academy developed nearly 50 different Grow Groups, spearheaded by Pastor of Discipleship, Michael Morss. “In churches, there are many groups that focus on either study, affinity, or outreach,” he explains. “Our belief is that each of these are essential for growth; therefore, every group leader is committed to creating opportunities to connect with Christ, other members, and our community.”
Connecting to Christ in Fellowship
Strengthening faith and developing the bonds of fellowship among our community of believers are the primary goals of Grow Groups. Bela Cinco joined an art group which fostered artistic talents with a spiritual focus. “It’s such an impactful thing to be able to get into a small group with people of the same interests and do something you enjoy while growing closer to God at the same time,” she reflected. “The first night we made prayer jars. We decorated mason jars to put next to our beds, so at the end of the day we could write down a blessing we received, or a prayer request we had on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.”
Patricia Torres, a teacher at Campion, led out a group called “Something Better,” and taught students about natural remedies for improved health. Kevin Perez, a student who join the group explained, “Learning about the natural remedies that God created to be special and unique helped to show me that there truly is someone out there that created all these things for us. I got to know to people I don’t normally talk to on a regular basis, and we had a good time laughing together and enjoying each other’s company.”
Connecting to our communities
The positive impact of the Grow Groups has reached beyond church members and has drawn interest from the community. “A vision born to connect our growing church through smaller circles has become evangelistic in nature,” commented Morss. “It's exciting to see 150 church members participate and grow in Christ and the community, but it's even more exciting to see more than 20 non-Adventists connect to Christ through the new Grow Groups.”
A focus on a shared interest makes it less intimidating to invite non-church members to participate in a group. The group leader of “Crochet for Christ,” Carey Jordan, shared that their group was able to complete 50 hats and several small preemie blankets for infants who don't survive after they are born. "When we are not meeting as a group, several members have taken their new-found craft to work which has resulted in two non-Adventists joining our group," Jordan reported.
Focusing on developing groups to meet for a term, rather than indefinitely, also made the idea more manageable and appealing to potential group leaders. Group leaders were recruited and trained in November, and in January, church members were able to read about the focus of each group and were inspired to sign up. The groups then met officially from February through the end of April, ending with a final celebration at the church. Following the positive reactions and success of the spring groups, the Campion Campus is looking forward to reviving the groups in the fall with new options including: effective prayer, photography, scuba diving certification, and many more.
“Growth is essential to life,” reflected Morss. “At Campion, we are highly committed to providing opportunities for spiritual and social growth, and we believe one of the best ways to foster that growth is through Grow Groups.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director