Echo Ranch role call

Meet those who make camp possible

Posted: Friday, September 19, 2008

The children's TV program Sesame Street was one of my favorites growing up. Songs, skits, Muppets, life lessons, math and language arts education - all in one show!

If I sit and think about it long enough, I still have many of the songs rolling around in my brain. One song in particular contained the line, "Who are the people in your neighborhood?" And then one of the actors would introduce someone from our neighborhood like a postal worker, dentist or others. The basic concept was to help kids identify the people who help make their world possible.

I thought it might be good for you to meet the people who make Echo Ranch possible. Most of them live in your Southeast neighborhood while others travel south for the winter.

Rick and Pat Shaner live in Ketchikan. Rick is the camp director, overseeing general camp operations and personnel. Pat is the head cook and is responsible for all the wonderful meals we have here at Echo Ranch. The Shaners attend Calvary Bible Church.

Leon "Lee" and Melissa "Missy" Showers live in Juneau. Lee is a part of the facilities department that keeps camp running. Missy works with camper registration. The Showers attend the Juneau Church of the Nazarene.

Ray and Lyn Fish make their residence in Petersburg. Ray runs the wilderness department which includes the Sourdough backpacking program and kayaking. Lyn is an administrative assistant and oversees projects like the homeschool retreat and pastors' retreat. Ray and Lyn attend Petersburg Bible Church.

Dwight and Letty Grismore live in Juneau. Dwight is our head mechanic and development director. Letty is the manager of the camp store, an EMT, and the occasional wrangler. The Grismores attend church at Chapel by the Lake.

Leah Boeschling lives in Sitka. Leah is in charge of housekeeping so that your cabin is clean and the dishes are done. Leah attends Grace Harbor Church.

Lance and Jessica King live in Juneau. The Kings are part of our in-town support staff. Lance is the go-to person for groceries, supplies, and picking people up from the ferry and the airport. Jessica is our director of finance making sure we turn in our receipts. The Kings attend Auke Bay Bible Church.

Matt and Nanci Jo Ferster have been winter caretakers at Echo Ranch for many years but are now living in Sitka. Matt is the head wrangler. Nanci Jo also helps with the horses and is part of in-camp hospitality. The Fersters attend Grace Harbor Church.

Brynden Wiens is one of our newest staff members and is planning to spend this winter in Juneau. Brynden works on the kitchen staff and with hospitality support. Brynden is currently looking for a church to attend.

Bill and Michele Diggins live in Haines. Bill is the current program director and takes care in making sure your child has a fun safe time at Echo Ranch. Michele is our resident craft lady and story teller. The Diggins attend Port Chilkoot Bible Church where Bill is soon to be the head pastor.

The Echo Ranch staff is going to miss the Diggins family and would like to thank them for their many years of service.

Terry and Yvonne Fenimore live just outside Des Moines, Iowa. Terry is our projects coordinator and works closely with volunteer construction crews who come to serve with us. Yvonne is an office assistant and works in the camp store.

Denise Pritt lives in Pandora, Ohio. Denise is our camp nurse and carries plenty of band-aids.

This summer Carl and Heather Ramseth served on our staff. Carl governed our fuel consumption and drove our supply boat on occasion. Heather helped with crafts, horse rides, and a gracious smile. The Ramseths are members of Chapel by the Lake. They have volunteered to be our winter caretakers at the camp.

I travel so much that I don't necessarily have a place I call home. Kansas City, Mo., is where I begin promoting and recruiting for the camp. During the summer, I work on the program staff to help with games, activities, counselors, etc.

In closing, I must say this article can't begin to tell you how much time and effort our staff put into Echo Ranch. But I wanted to give you a glimpse of the people in your neighborhood. If you would like to put a name to a face, go to our Web site and look for our staff under the "About Us" section. To contact a specific staff member in your area, send me an e-mail with your request.

• Jon-Michael Gwinnell is a staff member at Echo Ranch Bible Camp. He can be reached at

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