Chelsea Fenn’s WinShape Story
Chelsea Fenn has served in a variety of roles with WinShape Camps over the years! In 2011, Fenn began her journey with WinShape Camps as a Catawba Counselor at Mount Berry. In the following summer she came back as a Cherokee Tribal Leader. After graduating from the University of Georgia, in January of 2013 Fenn came onboard in the Leadership Development Program as an intern. There she served in a variety of areas including Marketing, Programming, Operations and Camper Care. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, she moved to camp and hit the trails as the Creek Tribal Leader. Upon her return to the office in the fall of 2014, she accepted her first full-time role as the Camper Care Specialist at WinShape Camps for Girls at Young Harris. After two years in that role, she found a new passion in the world of operations and served as the Operations Coordinator with Girls Camp for last three years. This past fall, Chelsea transitioned over to WinShape Camps for Communities, serving as the Manager. As you can see, Chelsea has seen and served in many areas with WinShape Camps over the years, which made her the perfect person to step in and lead the charge for WinShape ON. She, along with a wonderful leadership team, have put many hours into dreaming up and creating WinShape ON, and we cannot wait to see it in action.
Recently, we got the chance to ask Chelsea some questions about her role in leading the WinShape ON team! Here are her responses:
What’s it like leading a team through a pandemic?
Our office culture at WinShape Camps is very communal. One major perk of working at WinShape is that we all show up every day to work with our friends. I believe this part of our culture really elevates the experiences we create. So, quarantine has been tough for us because not only were we adjusting to working from home, but there was a sadness associated with not seeing our friends in person every day.
With that said, however, we made a commitment early on to stay connected relationally in addition to staying connected for work. Several teams hosted daily virtual break rooms with activities or evening hangouts just to stay in the loop on each other’s personal life.
I think the relational equity we have with each other really made collaboration and delegation easy as we worked on WinShape ON. With a tight timeline, no in-person interaction, and a blank slate in front of us, I believe knowing each other and each other’s gifts and passions well, was the key to effectively working remotely on a huge project together.
What have you learned from this process?
One of the biggest things we’ve learned is just how much we can accomplish together. Within WinShape Camps, we have four teams creating really unique experiences for boys, girls, communities, and staff. With ON, we all set aside the experiences we normally work on to create something brand new. I think I speak for the team when I say, this wouldn’t have come together without that level of collaboration.
I wouldn’t say this is a new take away, but this project has reaffirmed just how talented and gifted our team is. I’ve been amazed at what people have dreamt up, created, and accomplished in the last 6 weeks. Our team has given everything they have into making this summer happen. They’ve worked long hours, sat on thousands of Zoom calls, and trusted each other in a beautiful way. It’s humbling to serve alongside them.
How did all of this come together in such a short time?
Short answer. God.
I’ve been saying this for a while now, something like this, on this scale, with this level of detail and intentionality doesn’t happen unless God is behind it. We’re so confident God has blessed our commitment to lean into this season and say yes to who has called us to be as an organization. We decided early on to uphold our purpose of “Glorifying God by creating experiences that transform campers and families with the message of Jesus Christ.” This is who we are called to be in every season – the abundant, the scarce, the dark, the hard, the easy. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do here, create a transformative experience, centered around the Gospel.
This project was also a huge team effort. Every single person on the WinShape Camps team is contributing in some way. And most of their contributions are in areas outside their normal jobs. For example, we have Host Development Reps writing content for our live show, a Logistics intern writing code for our web platform, and a Camp Experience Specialist serving as a Host on The Show (our live daily show that kicks of the ON JR experience).
Additionally, we’ve had incredible support from our foundation. We’ve had over 17 WinShape Foundation teams supporting the efforts of WinShape ON.
What were the biggest challenges?
The timeline was absolutely the biggest challenge. We began the build out of our studio space just 41 days after we decided to cancel our in-person camps and pivot completely to an at-home experience. A lot needed to launch into motion quickly, including the production of tangible assets like the set, our Camper Kits, and a new website. Our team has created a brand-new experience in 6 weeks when we normally spend multiple years preparing for the launch of a new initiative or camp experience.
Another challenge we faced was marketing this experience at the same time we were creating it. Our marketing team had their work cut out for them to say the least! In the process of understanding what this experience was going to be ourselves, we had the task of helping others understand it. We’re just so grateful that our WinShape Camps Raving Fans got onboard with us from the start!
What was it like being a part of something that has never been done before?
For me personally, it was exhilarating. I thrive on problem solving and pressure so I was in my element. I think a lot of our team feels that way. It’s fun for us to create and innovate and this was a crash course in that. Camp has always felt fast paced, so I think we were all able to adjust quickly.
As a team, I think we have all been very aware in every step of the process that we’re doing something that has never been done before. In light of that, we looked to our familiar building blocks to create the infrastructure for this experience. We allowed our WinShape Camps purpose statement, the WinShape Camps Recipe, and the WinShape Foundation Core Values to guide this process the entire way. We were convinced that if we remained true and committed to who God has called us to be as an organization, then what we created would be something pleasing to Him and something he would use to transform lives.
Since arriving in Rome to move this project from the planning phase to the execution phase, I think we’ve all tried to really take it in. We don’t want to miss celebrating what our team has done!
What are you most excited about this summer in regards to WinShape Camps ON?
We are gaining a presence in the most intimate spaces of our campers and families – their homes. I’m very excited for parents to be able to experience more of camp than they ever have before. Every year, we have countless parents say, “When can I come to camp?” This is their chance!
I’m also extremely excited to hear everyone’s response to our theme, Life Giver. Our theme team works on our summer themes two years in advance. So, work on Life Giver began in 2018. There was a moment when we wondered if we should save the Life Giver theme for next year, when campers could experience it in person. But quickly we realized God knew exactly what He was doing when he gave us Life Giver two years ago. This is the exact message He wants to communicate to the world in this time and it’s our honor to steward this message.
Lastly, I’m just so excited for our team so see this come to life. Everyone has worked so hard and we’re excited to celebrate how the Lord uses it!
What are your hopes for this experience?
Short and simple, I hope campers and families love what we’ve made for them. Everything has been created with them in mind and for this season specifically. I pray this experience is a platform for transforming truth to be shared. I pray it is a light that alleviates some of the darkness that’s come with this season. I also hope this experience will continue on in some form in the future. I have so much confidence that what God has taught us in this season will forever impact the ways we work together and continue creating experiences that transform campers and families with the message of Jesus Christ.
As you can see, so much work, thought and prayer has gone into the making of WinShape ON. If you haven’t registered for WinShape ON yet, head over to this link to register for your camper for a transforming and fun experience!