In Profile: Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders
Steve and Andrea Richardson
One week of influence
Steve and Andrea Richardson have learned a lot about camp ministry in their 20 years at the helm of Brantford Circle Square Ranch, but one lesson stands out: God is not limited to one week of influence.
This is an important lesson for camp staff to learn because, often, one week is all they get to spend with a child. It’s easy to think that it’s not enough.
But one week, says camp director Steve, can lead to amazing transformation in a young person’s life.
“Having been at camp as long as we’ve been here, we’re seeing the fruit of the ministry. We see kids move from being a first-time camper, to coming back the next year, to participating in our Leaders in Training program, to joining staff.”
Steve and Andrea have been in leadership at Circle Square Ranch for more than 20 years.
“I love kids, horses and Jesus,” says Andrea, who first went to Circle Square as an eight-year-old camper.
“I always wanted to be in full-time ministry,” says Steve, who was introduced to the Ranch by Andrea before they were married.
They’ve felt called to camp ministry since they were newlyweds asking God the question: where will you send us, what will you give us to do?
When they landed at camp, they knew they were in the right place and they’ve since raised their four children on site and with the love of the whole camp community.
“We both felt called to serve children and youth, to see them become all that God wants them to be,” says Andrea. “We’re excited about Inter-Varsity’s vision to launch 20,000 Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders because it blends with what we’ve been trying to do at the Ranch. We want young people to offer more than just a prayer to God. We want them to become disciples, to go home from camp and make a difference in their homes, their churches, their schools.”
Steve and Andrea work hard to make every moment count for the campers in their care.
“My priority is loving these kids,” Steve says, “so I make it a point to spend as much time as possible with them.” That’s not always easy for the director of the camp, who could have a myriad of operational and administrative headaches in the run of a day.
“I always sit with the kids at breakfast, I’m at the door of the dining hall welcoming them for other meals, and I am part of every evening game or activity.”
Even as a busy mother, Andrea teaches at least one program activity for campers every day, goes to the evening campfire and she devotes significant time to mentoring female staff.
Felicia Hunt, Circle Square’s 26-year-old program director, has experienced the Richardson’s commitment to campers and staff first hand. Her brother urged her to go to camp when she was just finishing high school. Within three days of being there, she became a follower of Jesus.
“Being at camp made me who I am,” she says, adding she is especially grateful for Andrea and Steve’s influence in her life.
“Andrea had the biggest influence on my life, in part because of the regular devotional times she holds for female staff members. She’s encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, to become more disciplined.”
Felicia echoes Steve’s philosophy about the importance of that one week of influence when it comes to reaching children and youth with the freeing news of a relationship with Jesus.
“When kids come to Circle Square, I tell them, ‘this is your week to be who you are really meant to be. Gradually you see them opening up to be who they want to be.
“I think we have the best mission field. I love it.”
[To register your child for one of Inter-Varsity's camps, click here.]