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Young Men follow God's calling to help boys

Baptist Children’s Homes’ residential wilderness camp programs –– Cameron Boys Camp and Camp Duncan for Girls –– are a success on a large part due to the programs’ Chiefs.

Chiefs are young people who dedicate a minimum of two years to serve as educators and mentors for the campers. The campers and their families work with Chiefs and camp staff to work out problems through a highly structured alternative education program.

Cameron Boys Camp (CBC) recently added three chiefs.

Chris Sumner is a “PK” –– a pastor’s kid. His family was mission minded and spent summer vacations serving others. They camped, and Chris grew to love being outdoors. This love for the wilderness and a desire to serve God and help others led him to CBC.

“I have a heart for ministry,” 25-year-old Sumner says. “I also know what it means to be troubled as a teen.”

Being the pastor’s son had advantages, but it also made Sumner feel that he was always in the spotlight.

“I became a sneaky kid,” Sumners says shaking his head. “I learned how to do things behind my parent’s back and out of view of others.”

He says he began to “follow the crowd.” He could take off his “perfect kid” mask and he began to spend hours on the basketball court. “I didn’t need the church, I thought. I pushed farther away from the Lord.”

An injury shut his sport dreams down. Angry, he pushed harder against the Lord until one day he was looking up from a deep spiritual hole in which he found himself. Desperate, he called on the Lord.

“It was clear,” he recalls. “I realized God wanted me –– not the preacher’s kid, not the athlete –– but me. In that moment, I chose to follow Him.”

Trevor Bonds is a Georgia native. He came to the United States as a small child to be adopted.

“Me and my sister were born in Latvia,” Bonds says. “We were adopted into a Christian home where we received a Christian education and were led to Christ.”

Bonds is an Eagle Scout and has a great love for the outdoors. After college, he began a retail job while feeling a calling into ministry. He began looking into positions with a church when he came upon CBC. “It was nothing I thought about doing, but I knew from the first phone interview that this was where God was leading me. It was like the Lord picked me up and placed me on this path.”

Bonds says he is filled with gratitude. Each step of the way in his orientation and training to be a Chief has brought him closer to God. “You realize you will not be able to do this job without giving it all to the Lord and depending on Him.”

Travis Yoder is no stranger to Camp. The 24-year-old North Carolina native not only has a heart to be a Chief, but he uniquely knows what campers experience. He is the first Chief at CBC who was once in care as a camper.

“I came to Camp in 2009,” Yoder recalls. “My time at Cameron was a success for me. I understand how to tackle problems, talk out issues, and move forward.”

After earning a computer science degree, Yoder realized that the last thing he wanted to do was computer science. “Honestly, I always knew I wanted to come back as a Chief.”

Learn more about making a difference in boys’ and girls’ lives by being a Chief. Visit

Article written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor

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