Former Summer Camper is Called to Ministry
For more than a dozen years, Alisha Blach spent every summer at The Salvation Army’s summer camps. Today, Alisha is still a camper, though now she is a counselor at Echo Grove Camp, the same camp she spent many a summer’s day. Her experience growing up led her to pursue a career in camp ministry.
Alisha found her calling through her mother, who she credits for finding the Salvation Army to begin with. Alisha’s family of four had just moved to Monroe when they drove by the Salvation Army corps community center, where several children were outside playing. Alisha’s mom signed her children up for camp in Monroe as a way to get to know other children and the community.
“My life would be so different if my mom hadn’t stopped that one day. I don’t know where my family would be, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. I can’t imagine my life without The Salvation Army and Echo Grove Camp. My whole life rests on that one decision my mom made,” said Alisha.
Echo Grove was founded in 1921 as a fresh air camp for less fortunate youth, and has a rich history of helping kids of all ages experience the best of the outdoors. It’s located on Lakeville Lake in northern Oakland County and has activities every child can enjoy: a waterfront, boats, a soccer field, basketball courts, archery, arts and crafts, a snack shop and more. But Alisha believes that’s not what makes the camp so special.
“When you go to Echo Grove you just feel safe and protected. Everywhere has this energy that you just can’t escape. It’s a charged area and it’s amazing. It’s beautiful. You see God’s beauty. And then the kids get on site and everything becomes more beautiful. The kids are really what makes camp ‘camp,’” said Alisha.
Alisha first encountered ministry of any kind while at The Salvation Army summer camps, days she describes as “magical and Jesus filled.” This ministry led to prayer, which led to church-going during the academic year, ultimately leading to seeing God in all aspects of her life.
“Our financial status hasn’t really changed since I was a kid, but I know we will be alright. We have all the support from The Salvation Army and I know, without a doubt, that I and my family will be okay because I know someone will help us out. And now there’s this hope in our house because we know Jesus is around and will take care of us,” said Alisha.
Alisha’s life goal as a camp minister is to inspire other children with the same hope she had as a child. Alisha realizes the impact The Salvation Army has had on her family, and she knows how it could benefit other families. Alisha most enjoys showing love to all of the campers at Echo Grove. It mirrors her experience with a Monroe summer day camp counselor, David, who took a special interest in her and her brother.