Shane Carlson is the new Vice President of CRISTA Camps

Shane and his family have called CRISTA Camps home for almost ten years. As Operations Director, Shane worked to ensure the day-to-day logistics of camp were fulfilled and, most importantly, pointed campers toward Christ. Now, in his new role as Vice President, Shane will continue casting vision and leading a team of Christ-loving, passion-filled people at CRISTA Camps.


We know you’ve been with CRISTA for nearly a decade – how did you first come to CRISTA?

I was looking for a new opportunity when I felt a stirring for change at the last camp I worked at, Young Life’s Lost Canyon in Northern Arizona. The CRISTA Camps Vice President at the time, Steve Fisher, called me up and asked if I was ready to move back home and be part of a turnaround for these two camps. With an opportunity for a new challenge, and with thinking about having kids and desiring them to be raised near grandparents, we pursued the opportunity to come and work for CRISTA. I was immediately attracted to CRISTA’s health (spiritual and culture) and commitment to quality Christian camping. I had been a part of opening a brand new Young Life camp when Bob Lonac was a Divisional Vice President of that part of the country. I had admired his leadership firsthand, but mostly from hearing from friends in senior level positions about his love for Jesus and his drive to help leaders engage in their work. All these things were important in hearing and answering the call to come and serve with CRISTA Ministries.

What are you top two bucket list items?

From the moment I arrived here, my passion has been for both spiritual and financial health of Island Lake and Miracle Ranch. These two things go hand in hand. We‘ve made great progress and still have work to do. I’ll be working closer with our Camps Sales person and partnering with our friends in Resource Advancement as we work to close the gap and be a break-even ministry.  Spiritually, the Camps team is a group of “all in” people, many of whom live at camp and have more of a lifestyle of ministry than a job. Even still, we’ll be working to achieve CRISTA’s Big Dream of being surrendered to Christ and unified in our mission.

Tell us about your family.

Allison and I have been married eleven years. I had hired her to work at a camp and spent the next 8 months trying to stay focused on the job and not starting a relationship (trying to think like an HR person…) Eventually we began dating and I proposed to her by the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. While engaged, we made a decision to “save space in our family to adopt,” not knowing how many biological children we may have. After the birth of our first son Caiden (now 8) and our second son Eamon (now 6), Allison knew she was ready to start the adoption process. We now also have Gwenny (3) and enjoy raising our children at camp. The boys each have their own motorcycle and play baseball, and Gwenny likes to pick the Chanterelle mushrooms that grow in the hidden corners of Island Lake with her mom.

What are you most excited about for CRISTA Camps in the coming year?

We just finished another year with record setting revenue and are on pace to do this again in FY18. Each time we reach a new financial goal, it means there have been more campers hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This year in particular, I’m excited for the growth taking place in our Outdoor Education Program and Horse Therapy. We are working hard with public schools to fill mid-week space in the spring, and Katy Erickson (Miracle Ranch’s Horsemanship Director) and her team of instructors, volunteers and an outside mental health professional have served 48 clients in Adaptive Riding and Equine Assisted Counseling this past year. We will work hard to develop the newly purchased 30 acres adjoining Miracle Ranch to add a facility which will allow us to grow that number dramatically.

What is one thing you are most proud of?

I’m really proud to be a part of this team. This is a group of Jesus-loving, professional and amazing people here at CRISTA Camps, and I’m so grateful God allows me to keep working here. CRISTA is a very special place to work! I love being a part of the regular group of people who show up at the weekly devotions and prayer times. Here at Miracle Ranch and Island Lake, we get to watch God develop the interns, see campers come to know Jesus, and surrender our lives as well. CRISTA is a place for transformational growth, if we’re ready to lean into it.

Congratulations to Shane on his new role. Your CRISTA family is proud.