“God got hold of my heart at camp.”
The 12-year-old in the 1999 camp photo could not have known he was poised on the edge of his life’s calling. Grin firmly in place and sporting a cabin leader’s too-large tie, he was ready for his first overnight camp.
Andrew Sevigny would spend the next two decades discovering his passion for ministry.
Today, serving as executive director at Dauphin Bible Camp (DBC) in Manitoba, Andrew remembers enjoying that first camp experience despite getting homesick every night. “I didn’t tell anyone and cried myself to sleep. But I loved camp so much I didn’t want to go home.
“I grew up going to church and Sunday school but didn’t really understand Jesus’ love for me until I went to camp that first time.”
In 2002, Andrew joined the summer team at Valley View Bible Camp in Manitoba as kitchen help. He was hooked, and through the years moved from kitchen to maintenance to cabin leading, eventually becoming program director.
At 18, he experienced a defining moment at camp.
“I was living two lives,” he says. “Partying on Saturday but going to church on Sunday. God got through to me and I learned I had to surrender not just 90 percent, but 100 percent.”
He finished Bible college, spent time at DBC as program director, and married Tasha in 2011. “She loves camp as much as I do,” says Andrew. “She says she dreamed of marrying a camp director so she could be at camp for the rest of her life!”
As the young couple considered their options, Andrew remembers praying one evening, “God, show us where You want us.” The next morning he received a phone call from DBC director Richard Bankert (one of his leadership mentors), with a job offer. “It was definitely an answer to prayer!” says Andrew.
He served at DBC until 2016, first as site director, and then as camp director after Bankert’s departure. While he learned much about leadership, it was a small team and, in an effort to do everything perfectly, Andrew burned out.
Andrew and Tasha moved to Roseau River Bible Camp (in Manitoba), where Andrew served as programs director and Tasha worked with the horse program. By then daughter Madison had joined the family. Andrew says it was time to learn the importance of rest and trusting God.
“A tired or dead leader is not a good leader,” he says.”Take time to do something you enjoy doing. Make sure your family is taken care of and make memories with your kids. I don’t want to look back and wish I had spent more time with my daughter. I want to be there while I can to help her grow. I want our marriage to be strong.”
Sensing God’s call back to DBC, Andrew and Tasha returned in February 2019, Andrew as executive director and Tasha, horsemanship director.
Andrew says his philosophy is to “work like Jesus worked”, building relationships with a core team, who then builds into others.
“I want to make sure others understand what being Gospel-centered means. Our lives need to be focused on Jesus and God’s love for us. Everything we say and do needs to point people to Christ.”
“It’s not about me,” he says, “it’s about Him. Through that, we live out the Gospel. That’s what I want my camp leaders to practice.”
This summer, more than 450 children and youth came to DBC; many do not come from a Christian background.
“These kids don’t even know what a Bible is,” Andrew says. “Nowhere else can you spend 24 hours a day teaching kids about Jesus. Through that opportunity we see lives changed.”
Andrew’s life is proof of that life change. He is excited to see where God will lead him next. “God got hold of my heart at camp. I know He called me to be part of what He is doing in camp ministry.”
Kelly Rempel is the Director of Creative Communications for One Hope Canada.