October Inspiration

We loved painting a picture of scripture for you this month. We hope you were uplifted by God's Word and even more encouraged to keep living out "I'm Third!"

To find more inspiration and keep up to date with everything Kanakuk, follow us on Twitter and Facebook !

Jefferson Bethke speaks at Kanakuk Neighborhood Chapel

This week we got to hear Jefferson Bethke, who was teaching at Link Year, speak at the Kanakuk Neighborhood Chapel. Jefferson talked about 1 John 4, and asked us a simple question. Do you live out of fear, or do you live out of love?

The world tends to view the opposite of love as hate. Scripture views the opposite of love as fear, and John talks about this in 1 John 4.

Fear or love is the lens that you see life through, and our relationship with God is no different. Fear based Christianity views our relationship with God as a contract. We think that our behavior has a stronger influence than the promises of God. This relationship tries to earn the love of God. If you live in contractual Christianity, you will consistently try to push the limits of that relationship. Love based Christianity views our relationship with God as a covenant. This view shows that the promises of God are much stronger than our behavior, and there is nothing we can do to earn the love of God. If you live in covenant Christianity, you will consistently try to get closer to God.

When we live in fear, God gets no glory, and we get no joy. When we live in love, God gets glory, and we get joy. 

We get to love God because He first loved us. God pursued us by sending Jesus to live the life we couldn't, die the death we deserved, and rise again from the dead. All we have to do is fully surrender our lives to Him and declare him the Lord of our lives. 

How do you love God? Out of fear or out of love? 

If you'd like to hear full audio of Jefferson's talk, click here .

Facebook Guidelines for Throwback T-shirt Contest

We're so excited to announce our top five finalists from the Throwback T-shirt Contest! It was such fun to see all of the entries from years past. Now it's your turn to help make the decision on the next Kanakuk T-shirt for summer 2015!

Before we get started, here are the guidelines for the giveaway:

1. This contest is promoted by Kanakuk and is not associated with or promoted by Facebook or Instagram. 

2. Voters can vote both on Facebook or Instagram, but only those who have "liked" the Kanakuk Facebook page or follow Kanakuk on Instagram are eligible for the contest.

3. The contest opens October 21, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. and will close October 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. We will announce our winner on November 3, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

4. How to enter: "like" the photo of the Throwback T-shirt you want to see re-printed. The t-shirt in the photo with the most likes will be re-printed. If you "liked" that t-shirt, you will have a chance of winning a free t-shirt. There will be one winner.

5. One winner of the t-shirt will be chosen at random. We will directly contact you to let you know if you have been selected to receive a free throwback t-shirt.

6. Once we have directly contacted you and received your mailing information, we will send you the t-shirt once it has been re-printed. We will contact you to let you know the t-shirt has been shipped. Your mailing information will not be distributed, publicized or used for any other purpose other than to send you your t-shirt.

7. Additional restrictions:

  • You may only vote once on both Facebook and Instagram. If you have "liked" more than one photo, you will not be entered to win the t-shirt.
  • Only those who have "liked" the photo of the winning shirt will qualify to receive a free t-shirt. 

Ready, set, go! Vote on your favorite here.

Living Out "I'm Third" as a Parent

Jesus first, others second, I’m third: it’s our home’s mantra and the standard to which we hold our family’s actions. In every aspect of life, we teach our children to selflessly serve those around them. We instruct them on how to be “I’m Third” friends, siblings, students and athletes--but what about us as parents? It’s easy to tell our families how to live in a Christ-like way, but what about living it out ourselves?

As parents, we are to set godly examples not just through our speech, but also through our actions. One of the best ways we can do this is by conducting ourselves in an “I’m Third” manner amidst the craziness and competition of sports season. Because, let’s be honest, sometimes we care more about these games, practices and projects than our kids do! So how do we encourage our families to be hard workers and excellent athletes, while still living in a way that demonstrates a calmness and contentment in Christ?

There’s nothing wrong with “getting into” our kids’ soccer game or book report. We are their biggest fans and supporters, and we want them to always do their best! But the way in which we do so is important. To remain a Christ-like encourager both on the field and at home, here are a few questions we can ask ourselves:

  • How important is this game, assignment or project to my child?

  • Am I setting a godly example to those around me?

  • How can I spread positivity, even after a disappointment or loss?

  • How can I use this event or task to show others and my family the love of Christ?

These are simple questions, but they can be beneficial in helping us live out “I’m Third” when we’re overwhelmed with the chaos of sports and school. Have you developed your own ways to make sure your whole family is living the “I’m Third” life? We would love to hear! Connect with us on Twitter & Facebook and let us know!

Kanakuk Coffee Cake: Fall Edition!

It’s October, and you know what that means: pumpkin-flavored every thing! With our Pumpkin Coffee Cake, we’ve combined two of your favorite things into one. Who said Kanakuk’s famous treat is only for the summer?!

Whether you’re making a celebratory snack for your Kamper’s sports team or surprise dessert after dinner, we’ve got a simple Fall recipe that will be sure to have the whole family smiling.

Topping (prepare day ahead and refrigerate)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 oz. butter


Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix well. Cut butter into small pieces and work into dry ingredients with hands. Refrigerate overnight.


2 1/4 cups flour

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

3/4 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cups water

4 ounces evaporated milk

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3/4 c. canned pumpkin


In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix well. Set aside.

(Note: Dry ingredients may be mixed the day before, covered and left at room temperature.)

Spray 9x13-inch pan with pan spray. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add vanilla, evaporated milk, water, pumpkin pie spice and canned pumpkin. Turn mixer off. Add small amount of dry ingredients and turn mixer on low to combine. Mix well. Scrape bowl and repeat until all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Beat until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle topping (prepared before) on top of cake batter, covering well. Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into 3x6-inch pieces to serve. Enjoy and reminisce on your favorite Kamp memories.

There you go! Kanakuk’s beloved coffee cake with a delicious fall twist. For more fun ways to stay connected to Kamp throughout the year, follow us on Twitter & Facebook !

Adam Donyes speaks at Kanakuk Neighborhood Chapel

This week we had the privilege of hearing Adam Donyes, K-2 Men’s Director and Link Year Executive Director, speak at the Kanakuk Chapel. Adam challenged us to consider the power of gossip and slander in our lives, society, and culture.

Scripture tells us that our words have great power. James 3:5-6 tells us that the tongue is powerful and can destroy. Matthew 15 tells us that what comes out of a man’s mouth can defile him. Matthew 12:34 says, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Adam asked what our world would look like if we talked about ideas. Ideas can be anything from prayer requests, ways to serve the people around us, and the way that the Bible calls us to live our lives. Adam believes that if we focus our words and energy on those things, rather than events and people, that our world could be impacted for the sake of the Gospel.

What we say defines us. What we say dictates the impact that we can have for the Kingdom of God. What do your words say about you?

If you’d like to hear full audio of Adam’s talk, click here .

September Inspiration

We hope you were encouraged by the Scripture we highlighted this month! We love being able to encourage our Kanakuk family through God's Word.

For inspiration throughout the year, follow us on Facebook and Twitter !

Kris Cooper and Wife Diane... Retire After 37 Years of Ministry at Kanakuk

The year was 1955. A surprise celebration was being planned in honor of one of Kanakuk’s finest leaders and servant hearted couples. Kampers and staff from years gone by were asked to send in notes of encouragement and favorite memories and in they poured!

“thanks for what you have done for our boy and countless others…”

“In appreciation of two grand summers and what they meant. Best Wishes.”

“You and what you stand for have meant more to me than anything in the world. Your favorite quote, ‘Be careful how you live, because you may be the only bible others live by’, seems to be best applied to you. This observation has been made time after time during our friendship.”

“I will always be grateful to you for the wonderful assistance and guidance you gave to me in athletics. You took a stubborn kid (who for some reason thought he could put a ball through a hoop as well as the next fellow) into the ancient sport of track and caused some degree of success to come his way. I’ll never forget the day in your office when the problem of basketball versus track was ironed out…as a matter of fact I’ll never forget your exact words.”

The celebration “was” being planned because those are thoughts and memories are not about Kris Cooper but of Coach Bill Lantz. Bill and his wife Nell ran “Kanakuk Kamp” for boys back in its earliest days.

But those words could have just as easily been said about K-1 Directors, Kris and Diane Cooper. From the beginning until now the Coopers have been dedicated to showing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Kampers and staff alike who attended K-1.

After 37 years of faithful service Kris and Diane are retiring from Kanakuk.

While the details are still being worked out, schedules set, and final work yet to be done. We are realizing that people we love dearly are leaving. It’s bitter sweet because we know that the Lord’s plans for them are greater than anything we could imagine. At the same time it’s hard to imagine not being warmed by their smiles on a daily basis and encouraged by their words. Be encouraged from Coops and Mo in their letter to you, here .

The Coopers would want to take this opportunity to make sure everyone understood that they are not worthy of any praise, that any attention they might receive should be directed at Jesus Christ. For all things begin and end with Him and any love that they may have shared with you came from Him and continues to live in Him and through you. Their greatest encouragement comes from seeing you living for Christ in a way that honors Him and lifts others up.

At the same time they cherish their relationships with you and the memories, no matter how old, are still fresh and full of life. Talks in the Ponytail Parthenon, shooting baskets in the K-Dome, chants in the dining hall, talks in the outdoor church, wrestling in the arena, a quiet game of checkers, preparing for Tribal ceremonies, long bike rides, weddings, funerals. The Coopers have been there, living life humbly with us while at the same time leading us by their example.

To this day the influence of Bill and Nell Lantz on Kanakuk lives deep in the culture, people, and programs. It’s a spiritual heritage that we cannot forget. The impact of Kris and Diane Cooper, even more so, will ring through the hills, fields, and halls of Kanakuk because of you and the thousands of others who have walked through K-1’s gates.

Whenever, summer camp leadership changes it leaves some questions. Who would fill this role? Who could fill this role?! What will the Coopers be doing now?

The Coopers are resting in the knowledge that they are being obedient to what God is calling them to do and excited about what is next. They leave big shoes to fill.

At Kanakuk the goal is to raise up leaders who have grown in their relationship with the Lord, have proven themselves in the small things, accomplished big things through faith, who humbly serve for the good of others. In that spirit, Shay and Ashley Robbins, co-directors at Kanakuk K-2, have been asked and have accepted the challenge of joining, Matt and Melissa Houston, and Michael and Erin Atmar in directing at K-1. They, like you, have the deepest respect and admiration for Kris and Diane and for years intentionally watched them and sought their wisdom even in raising their family.

Shay and Ashley have served well at K-2 and will bring an incredible joy and energy that in their own way will continue a legacy that is 88 years in the making.

Countless Kampers and staff across the country and the world call the Coopers friends and mentors. Will you join us in celebrating their ministry?

We invite you to share with us how the Coopers have impacted your life by writing them a note, sharing a photo or telling us a story.

Send to:

E-Mail: coopers@kanakuk.com


The Coopers, Our K-1 Heroes

c / o Kay Holliday

1353 Lake Shore Drive

Branson, MO 65616

#GoBigWeeK, The Best Summer Camp Staff Ever

At Kanakuk, we take competition seriously. Whether it’s on the basketball court at specialties or during Total Release tribal competition, we want to give it our all and glorify the Lord. Our staff recruitment is no different. We are looking for the best and brightest to come serve at Kanakuk and Kids Across America for summer 2015.

We’re bringing Go Big Week to a campus near you. We want to see who has what it takes to bring the most Christ-like and pumped up staff to Kanakuk and Kids Across America for summer 2015.

We’ve made some graphics to help you out when we are on campus.

1. Download this Instagram photo and post it.

2. Download this profile picture and change our your Twitter and Facebook profile pics.

3. Download this cover photo and upload it to your Twitter or Facebook.    

Use any or all of these graphics to help promote Kanakuk and Kids Across America being on your campus. Be sure to include the location of the event, time, and date in your posts. Wear you Kamp gear around campus. Contact your campus rep to see if they need help promoting the event. Do whatever you can to get people to come see why working at Kanakuk and Kids Across America is one of the best decisions they could ever make.

We’re so excited to get on campus and see you soon. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your director. See you soon!!

We're Hiring! 2015 Summer Staff

We are recruiting the best college students in the country to invest in our Kampers this summer! It is our mission to hire the best possible staff to have a positive, lasting impact on every Kamper that comes through our gates. 

Would you partner with us to help find the best staff ever? If so, look below for more information and social media graphics that can help spread the word.

Check out when we will be at a campus near you: kanakuk.com/staff

Know someone who would be great? Share this video with them:  2015 Staff Preview

1.     Download this photo and upload it to your Instagram. 

2.     Download this profile picture and upload it to your Twitter and/or Facebook.

3.     Download this cover photo and upload it to your Twitter and/or Facebook.

Spread the word that we are coming to campus near you! We cannot wait to reconnect with old staff and Kamp families and to find the best and brightest to work at Kanakuk and Kids Across America in 2015! See you soon!!

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