Katy and Elijah began their adventure with WayForward Adventures this past summer. Katy served as the base camp cook and Elijah maintained all gear while also guiding trips. We have been thankful to serve alongside them and we wanted to give them a chance to share their summer experience with you!

Why did you choose to be a summer intern?

Katy: Ever since Todd and Erin told me about WayForward, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of in some capacity. I transitioned out of a job I loved last May, and was looking for a place to heal, seek the Lord, serve others, and discover what He had for me in my next season of life. I was presented with the opportunity to work for WayForward Adventures, and immediately knew that it was where I was supposed to be. Not only did I believe in what WayForward did for others on the trail, I knew that it was also what I personally needed. I needed to “change my pace and place in order to change my perspective.” Deciding to intern with WayForward really had two driving motives. I wanted to be part of a ministry that I was confident the Lord is using to change people’s lives, and I also knew I needed that same life change in my own world.

Elijah: I would say the heart and the mission of WayForward ended up becoming the main reason. I figured summer 2016 would be the last “summer” I would get coming out of college, so I kept a lookout for adventurous things to do. I was initially really drawn to the “mountain adventure” aspect of a WayForward summer: serving in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, getting to be on the trail, generally learning more about backpacking. I had some experience backpacking with another outfitter a few summers before I ended up serving with WayForward, which stirred a passion for guiding. However, looking past the mountain adventure aspect I saw a chance to be a part of something which I believed would change lives. I slowly learned the backpacking experience at WayForward wasn’t just an experience, but it was presenting a way for people to live their lives when they got off the mountain. This was attractive to me. I saw purpose, I saw adventure, I saw the mountains, I saw a desire for excellence, and I believed in the people who were behind it.

Favorite part of the summer?

Katy: I really loved serving at Base Camp and being disconnected from the world in our own way. While we still had access to technology and the outside world, there was a simplicity there that was unique. Our day’s were still busy, but in their own ways. We weren’t as attached to our phones and rarely watched TV. We were connected and engaged with one another and lived with the common purpose of serving those that came to Base Camp. It was like we got to live out what people learn on the trail. Knowing and loving people well.

Elijah: Probably seeing the fruit of what backpacking produced. Backpacking is extremely fun, and the mountain views are phenomenal, but I believe what happens as a result of the backpacking trip is really what is special. People’s hearts were transformed. Their eyes were open to things they might not have known about themselves, about God, and how they relate to God. People are challenged in a way physically which opens windows of opportunity for them to grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, which leads them to become more of who God created them to be. I got to see this both on the trail and during a closing event known as “Celebration Dinner”. It was awesome, and there are memories of transformation taking place which I will never forget.

What was one of the toughest parts of being a summer intern?

Katy: While community is one of the most beautiful gifts the Lord gives us, I think it can also be one of the toughest. Close community means refinement. It means people REALLY seeing you. The good, bad and ugly. While there was such a richness to the community we experienced, it was only because we got to see the ugly in one another at times… and that can be tough. Thankful to have community that is willing to love me through that!

Elijah: I think one of the toughest parts of the summer was maintaining a healthy pattern of rest and investing into myself throughout the summer. There were times where I was either hyper-focused on serving others or I didn’t prioritize time and energy towards investing into myself. In order to pour out love I believe you need to be filled up with love, and living in the balance of those two was difficult for me.

What’s one thing you would tell someone who is considering a summer internship?

Katy: I would tell them that about how the Lord used WayForward Adventures to grow me closer to Him. My summer was full of challenges but also of incomparable joy & reward seeing people’s lives change. You really get a front row experience of seeing Him do His work.

Elijah: Go for it! I would say honesty is key. Wherever you are in the process, never be afraid to be honest about where you are. Whether it’s about conflicting dates over the summer, uncertainty about working with WayForward, another job opportunity, or anything else. WayForward wants to help empower everyone--EVERYONE--to discover and live out their respective calling. So be honest and don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything!

Are you interested in being an intern this summer? Good news! Summer 2017 applications are live! Use this next summer to create life-changing memories in the mountains. If you would like to learn more about working with WayForward this summer, click here to begin the application process!