Brandi May has gone from stumbling onto Camp Norwesca to leading the Great Plains Conference camp near Chadron, Nebraska.
Her husband, Josh, was hired as one of the superintendents at Chadron State Park in 2017.
“We didn’t even know Chadron existed until he came up here for his interview,” said May, a native of Axtell, Nebraska, south of Kearney. “We didn’t realize there were so many trees that could exist without a river nearby.”
With a degree in elementary education from University of Nebraska-Kearney, she began substitute teaching in the area. Looking for another parttime job in 2018, she saw a sign for Camp Norwesca and decided to follow it.
Applying for a day camp director job that never flourished, she became office manager and was promoted to assistant director in 2020. When Ethan Porter left to become assistant director at Camp Fontanelle, May was promoted.
“Brandi has a heart for Camp Norwesca,” said Sara Shaw, camping ministry coordinator for the conference. “She’s been there for several years, and she just felt called to a fulltime leadership position. She has great relationships within that community, with kids and parents. It just seemed like a natural fit for Norwesca.”
May, 28, said one of her main goals is updating the camp — “the appearance is a big one, but the activities as well,” she said.
Norwesca, built in 1954, is “showing its age,” and its lodge is badly in need of paint, she said. A 2012 fire at the camp resulted in the loss of seven of its 10 cabins, and while the camp currently has five, she believes more are needed.
Before COVID, she said, the goal was to have 100 campers from western Nebraska, “which in this area can be rough.” Last year, stepping back into camping after a year away for the pandemic, the goal was 50 campers with 70 eventually attending.
“The site council and I are excited to see her and the camp grow in ministry,” Shaw said of May.
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