How One Community Bounced Back After Tragedy
After suffering the sudden, unexpected death of its pastor, Inland Hills Church stood at a standstill for months. Trying to continue doing ministry while carrying the heavy burden of loss, the church’s staff didn’t know where to turn. With the help of WinShape Camps, they were able to reignite hope and strengthen their community.
“We knew we wanted to do camp,” says Jessica Vega, Lead Systems and Relationship Manager at Inland Hills. “We knew we wanted to do this fun theme. We knew we needed change…but honestly, we just couldn’t even do anything.”
At the start of the new year, things started to feel more normal. It was then that the staff at Inland Hills were invited by their local Chick-fil-A Operator, David Dennison, to come check out WinShape Camps.
“We got sent out to Atlanta [to experience camp], and we basically fell in love,” says Jessica.
David and Jessica agreed that WinShape Camps would be fantastic for the community and could be just what they needed to help bring Inland Hills back together.
David knew the cost of camp would be out of the question for some Chino Valley families, so he offered scholarships to the kids that needed them. Regardless of where or what background they were from – if they had money or didn’t have money – he wanted to make sure every kid had a chance to come to camp.
“When David told me about WinShape, I showed my husband and said, ‘this is really awesome if we could come here,’” says Camper Parent and Scholarship Recipient Lisa Montijo. “I did think of [my daughter] Olivia right away, because for her to experience something like this would just be so awesome.”
For Olivia, the best things about attending WinShape Camps were getting to make so many friends and spending a week with staff that were fun and helpful. It went deeper than that, though.
“These kids are coming home, memorizing the scripture, having their family pray before dinner…something is happening, and it’s good,” says her mom, Lisa.
Operator David Dennison describes WinShape Camps as a dream come true for the community.
“It’s a great program – kids will love it,” he says, “but at the same time it’s about teaching everything about Jesus. Coming along WinShape Foundation…it was a no-brainer for me.”
For Inland Hills – a church once stricken with heartache – WinShape Camps was a chance to change the narrative about their church from tragedy to one of energy and lightheartedness.