Are you familiar with Walt Disney’s staff of “Imagineers?” According to their website, “Building upon the legacy of Walt Disney, Imagineers bring art and science together to turn fantasy into reality and dreams into magic.” Did you know that we, Young Life, have our own version of “Imagineers” on staff? Our Camp Construction department blends their love of Jesus and passion for gospel proclamation with the art and science of construction and landscaping — so kids might experience “the best week of their lives” and know God’s love and invitation personally. Chris Marshall, one of our construction project managers, specializes in preparing places for kids to meet Christ and grow in their faith — and has done so in some pretty unique locations!
Nineteen years ago, Chris joined the Young Life team and set to work transforming an abandoned commune in Oregon, which Dennis and Phyllis Washington had acquired and then donated to Young Life, into an oasis where kids could hear about Christ. Most recently, he has served as project manager over the construction of Creekside, Young Life’s WyldLife camp at Washington Family Ranch.
Chris has also played an integral role in the transformation of a former “Young Pioneer communism camp” in Armenia into Young Life’s newest camp, “Pioneer.”
We acquired this property in 2013 with dilapidated buildings that were being overtaken by Mother Nature. Chris had the eyes to see future Young Life kids playing on a beautifully manicured plaza where formerly kids paraded under the communist flag. Last summer, Pioneer welcomed its first campers ever, thanks in part to Chris’ hard work and dedication.
“Chris’ extensive experience in camp operations makes him unique in the mission as a project manager and a master planner. He does his job with such excellence because he wants kids at camp to have an environment that matches the message of God’s extravagant love. He wants to create a place where a kid can climb a tree and hear Jesus say, “Come down. I want to go home with you today.” His work is evident every day at Washington Family Ranch and Pioneer, but it points to Jesus not to Chris. It’s never about Chris; he did what God called him to do and what he is most passionate about, creating and building for God’s Kingdom work.” — Rich Ellerd, Camping coordinator
Thanks, in part, to Chris’ faithful and creative work, properties are being redeemed and transformed into locations where kids are introduced to The Way, The Truth and The Life. Hallelujah!
— Chad Sievert, Vice President, Camping