Kanakuk provides our Kampers the opportunity to grow in many different dimensions. We often receive notes from Kampers and Kamp families about lessons learned at Kanakuk and the continued impact of the Kamp experience for many, many years. For one Kanakuk Kamper, Kamp has not only impacted his life, but he is impacting the lives of everyone in the United States.
Jesse Wedemeyer started his time at Kanakuk in the sixth grade. Even though he was not entirely excited at first, his parents decided to help Jesse pack and head toward Branson for what would be an awesome experience. After that first year, Jesse was fortunate and excited to attend K-Seven for 7 more years.
Now, years later, Jesse thanks his parents for sending him to Kamp, saying it was the “best decision ever.” Unable to wait another moment to give back, Jesse became a summer staff member and loved the opportunity to counsel Kampers at K-Seven. It was during his last three years on staff that he became the “ropes guy” and discovered talents and skills that would later assist him in the challenges he would soon face.
Jesse joined the Air Force in 2005 and currently serves as a Combat Controller in a United States Air Force Special Operations unit. He is the link between the ground forces and air power and has very important responsibilities that he must achieve without much guidance or direction. Jesse is the only Air Force member on this team, so must work with the highest level of excellence so nothing goes unnoticed. He says that the skills that he learned at Kamp have been invaluable to his career.
“Kamp taught me how to hit timelines, manage my time, prioritize responsibilities and tasks, and the value of personal responsibility,” said Jesse.
Additionally, being a ropes guy taught Jesse the importance of doing everything the same way every time for safety. Overall, his role at Kamp gave him a high standard for everything he does.
“Nothing but perfection is what keeps you alive when you are 40 feet off the ground and bullets start flying,” Jesse explained.
In his role, he works closely with the Green Beret Team leaders. He also attributes his success to his difficult training and God’s provision. Whether it is Kanakuk experience, SERE, Airborne, HALO, Combat Diver or another school, Jesse has a foundation of training that is unlike any other.
Jesse first learned to repel and climb at Kamp and now has the chance to do much more advanced repelling (like repelling out of helicopters onto targets). He explained how he loved being a part of the ropes program at Kanakuk because it always pushed Kampers past their limits. For Jesse, highlight moments at Kamp were when Kampers took to heart that “can’t” is nothing more than a word. Though the ropes course may be a little intimidating to first-timers, Jesse found by encouraging his Kampers to push through, they learned to face their fears. It was at Kanakuk that Jesse first found his purpose in positively impacting others.
Referencing 2 Timothy 1:7, Jesse told us: “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.” We are thankful to hear that Kamp has had an impact on Jesse’s spiritual life and that God has kept him safe and successful throughout the years.
As Kampers leave Kamp and head back to their hometowns for another school year, we are eager to see the impact of their Kamp experience on the real world. Whether Kampers RiseUp to serve our nation like Jesse or RiseUp in their schools to share the Gospel with others, we know there are great things in store.
We could not be more proud to have Jesse Wedemeyer as part of our Kanakuk family, and we ask everyone to continue to pray for his safety in the Air Force.
How has God used your experience at Kanakuk to impact your life or the lives of others? Share with us by e-mailing jay [at] kanakuk.com.