Meet Our New Senior Director of WinShape Camps
When you leave a WinShape Camps experience, we hope you walk away feeling you’ve witnessed some sort of over-the-top intentionality. That’s because intentionality is a part of the WinShape DNA. You may not have known this, but the WinShape Camps team has recently been searching for a Senior Director to provide vision and direction for the future. This search wasn’t for the faint of heart as it took quite a while. 1.5 years to be exact. However, it wasn’t time wasted. It was us being true to our standard of intentionality.
That being said, after a very long search, we are excited to announce our new Senior Director of WinShape Camps, Chris Witt! In this role, Chris will serve as a member of WinShape Foundation’s Senior Leadership Team and provide strategic direction and leadership for WinShape Camps. Chris comes from an extensive ministry and camp background – we hope you enjoy getting a little introduction from the interview questions we asked him below as well as the full video interview linked below.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?
In 1985 I was a high school sophomore living in a desert town in Texas. As the son of a football coach and a school counselor, I was raised with a healthy respect for this idea, “the future belongs to the learning, not the learned”. Moreover, having escaped lives of poverty, my parents displayed for me the potency of hard work, the critical role of integrity, and the hope found in taking life “One Day at a Time”. In fact, to drill in that last point, mom would wake us up EVERY SATURDAY to Christy Lane’s version of a song with that very title blasting through the house. I remember these mornings both fondly and with a dash of angst.
In my home, there was love, there was intentionality, and there was plenty of chicken fried steak. However, one thing was missing in me; the transformational work of Jesus. Why? Because I liked having fun. I have ALWAYS found a way to have fun. Yet, at that point in my life, Jesus felt like the fun stopper.
Then, my big brother talked me into working with him at a camp on maintenance. Doesn’t sound like fun? However, what I found there changed everything. All around me were culturally relevant role models; men and women that inspired me. These were people I wanted to emulate because they were like me — they understood my world, they saw me, listened to me, and believed in me. They certainly didn’t love me or Jesus more than my parents, but there was something potent in that experience of living with these college-aged, Christ-centered leaders that broke through a barrier. However, it wasn’t just that they were fun. It was the fact that even in the middle of hauling hay for 17 hours straight, there was this joyful purpose about them. As we experienced life shoulder to shoulder, they discipled me. During this season, I learned the power of what Jesus can do in this unique environment called summer camp.
What led you to camps? How did you decide WinShape Camps was the place for you?
The experience working maintenance that summer led me to my calling; to come alongside kids to help them discover their greatness in Jesus. Following that path led me from Texas A&M to Sky Ranch Christian Camps for 23 years, to Fuller Seminary, and then on to Grace Community Church for the last 9. Now we are here. But why WinShape? The short answer lies in the well-documented fact that S. Truett Cathy, the creator of both Chick-fil-A and WinShape, loved Fredrick Douglas’ idea that it is “easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”. When I heard this, I instantly connected to the heart of WinShape Camps. Later, as I unpacked the opportunity, it became clear to me that The WinShape Foundation is poised to do significant work in the lives of children.
Even though I still have much to learn, I know one thing for certain. Everything in my life revolves around this desire to send well-equipped Godly mentors into the world to invest in the next generation. In fact, you could say that is the Witt family business. My wife Kim is a teacher whose love for her “kiddos” transcends the classroom. My oldest son Caleb and his wife Alyssa met as camp counselors. Now, he attends Beeson Divinity School preparing for a life where he hopes to “help young people love Jesus by giving them a love of His Word”. My youngest, Austin, is a junior at the University of Texas pursuing a passion for mental health and the power of mentoring.
As Kim and I prayed about this next season, we could see that, like the WinShape Camps theme for 2021, we were “Made for This”. The WinShape Foundation is such a dynamic ministry reaching kids around the world from kindergarten to college, strengthening homes through investment in the marriages at the center, and providing homes for kids who don’t have them. What a worthy way to invest the minutes God has given.
What are you most looking forward to in your role as Senior Director for WinShape Camps? What can campers and families be looking forward to in summer 2021?
In view of that, I will make this promise to every parent and partner who trusts us with your children. I will bring my life to the altar every day offering my service to you in worship of the God who brought us together. My job is to make sure we are innovative, above reproach, and intentional in our service to your family. And yes, we WILL be more fun than you can even handle! Thank you for this opportunity.